Summer Camp FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

If you don’t see your question answered below, please feel free to contact us!

 

Registration & Other Camp Info

How long are the sessions?

We offer multiple session options, each designed to meet the needs of your camper’s age group. We offer:

  • Four 10 day sessions for our youngest  campers to experience a taste of Greene
  • Two 3 1/2 week sessions for current 3rd-9th graders
  • Travel programs like Garin Greene Trip to Israel for current 10th Graders, as well as a trip to Costa Rica for high schoolers
  • One full-summer experience, Avodah (our Counselor in Training program) for current 11th graders

Is there financial aid or scholarships available to attend camp?

First and foremost, please don’t let financial concerns keep you from applying for camp! We understand that for many families, covering the cost of camp can be a challenge, so we are committed to working with you to help find a way for your child to attend. Many Jewish organizations offer scholarships, often called camperships. For detailed information on what resources are available, what is needed to qualify, and who to contact, please visit our “Make Camp Affordable” section

What if I need to cancel my registration?

A non-refundable deposit of $250 is required for application processing. This includes a non-refundable registration fee of $50.00. After March 31, 2016, the entire $250.00 deposit becomes non-refundable.

Cancellation within one month of the start of the child’s session at camp will forfeit all fees.

How do I make bunk requests for my child?

To make a request, parents may submit one request on the Camper Information Form online. You may only request children who are in the same session as your child. We make every effort to ensure that each camper is granted their first request. Please know that the bunk assignments we make are done so in the best interest of all campers.

Are there any informational sessions near me?

Absolutely! Our directors and staff travel to congregations all around the Texas and Oklahoma region to present on camp and answer any and all questions you may have. Make sure to check our calendar for dates and more information.

We also have year-round events for children and teens of all ages that area great opportunity to learn more about camp in a fun and informal setting.

How do you select and train your staff?

At Greene Family Camp, we take a great deal of pride in hiring only the very best, most competent and energetic people to serve as part of our camp team. Our staff, who are comprised of college, graduate and rabbinical students, as well as professionals in various fields, provide a stable and caring home for campers all summer long. While many have grown up at Greene Family Camp, others join us from across the country and around the world – all bringing their own special gifts to share.

We provide an extensive training program for our staff and leadership team at the start of the summer season that is ongoing throughout the summer. Staff are also supervised and evaluated during the summer by members of our camp leadership team, all of whom have proven experience overseeing staff.

During the summer, we hire enough staff to maintain a 1:4 staff-to-camper ratio. If you are interested in applying or know of someone who would be a great fit for our team, please visit our Staff Application page!

Preparing for Camp

How can I best prepare my child for their first camp experience?

If your child is a first time camper, it’s important to take some time to prepare them for their camp experience. Be sure to talk to your child about camp and discuss any concerns he or she may have. Tell them how excited you are for them to attend camp and how wonderful of an experience they will have. Refrain from using language that implies that you will have a hard time with them at camp. Keep all conversations positive and how excited you are for them.

We want your child to feel supported and nurtured the entire time they are at camp. So feel free to contact us if there are issues you would like to discuss further with us.

For more resources, see our Forms & Downloads page.

What should I pack for my child?

Clothes for camp should be durable, inexpensive and informal. Warm weather clothing and rain gear are essential. Campers should have white tops for Friday night Shabbats.

Check out this year’s Packing List for more information. Our Family Guide, which is published and mailed in the spring, also outlines in detail what one should pack for camp. Please DO NOT pack items that carry sentimental value to you, your camper or your family since many things inevitably get lost.

We also have a swimsuit policy and electronics policy that are important to keep in mind as your pack your child for camp.  

What should I NOT send with my child to camp?

Candy and outside food are not allowed at camp, and expensive clothing and items that are valuable or sentimental are all best left at home. Electronics such as cell phones, computers, TVs, DVD/Video players, as well as hotpots, kettles, electric appliances, candles, matches, and knives are all strictly forbidden at camp and will be confiscated. iPods, PSPs, expensive cameras, and all other electronic devices should be left at home as well. Cheap or disposable cameras (labeled with your child’s first and last name) are preferable. For a more complete list, please refer to the Family Guide mailed in the spring, as well as our guidelines regarding Electronics at Camp.

Will my child need money at camp?

Due to trips outside of camp, we suggest that campers in S’ganim and Kibbutz bring a small amount of money to camp. During those trips, stops will be made for “minor shopping needs” like snacks and souvenirs.    This money will be collected on opening day and kept in the Camp safe.  We suggest that you send no more than $50.  Camp takes no responsibility for money that is lost or stolen.

Will my child need any special equipment from home?

During the course of the session, your child will have many opportunities to learn and develop new skills. In almost all cases, the camp supplies the necessary equipment and supplies to participate. In particular instances where your child is seeking mastery of an activity, he or she may desire their own special equipment; please be selective, and remember that the Camp is not responsible for loss or damage of personal items.

How can I get a Greene Family Camp t-shirt for my child?

Every camper will receive a GFC T-shirt on the first and last days of their camp experience. You can also purchase all sorts of apparel, from t-shirts to water bottles to headbands on Opening Day of camp.

Does my child need to be immunized?

Yes, the Union for Reform Judaism requires that all camp and travel program participants, staff and faculty must be immunized. For more information, read the URJ Policy Statement on Vaccine Status.

While Your Child Is at Camp

What is a typical day like at camp?

Our campers experience many activity areas either as a whole session or as cabin groups. Campers will also have the opportunity to sign up at camp for an activity that meets for multiple days as well as trying a new activity during another block each day. Our goal is to provide a well-balanced program for each child. See our A Typical Day page for a list of all the options!

Where will my child live?

Two “bunks” live in one building, sharing a common bathroom. Each bunk contains seven bunk beds for the 14 people who live there. All beds are 72 inches by 30 inches (twin size sheets work well) and upper bunks have safety rails. Cubby space is provided for clothing storage during the session. Under-bed space and additional cubbies in the cabin foyer are used to store additional items.

The “S’ganim” unit lives in its own village with camper cabins, an activities building and bathrooms. The “Kibbutz” unit lives in the Wise Academy Eco-Village, its own camper village. It has a main building that includes a kitchen, dining room, and bathrooms. Campers live in four dome dormitories. “Avodah” participants live in their own cabins as a unit.

How many campers are in each cabin? How many staff?

In each cabin, there are either 11 campers and 3 staff members or 12 campers with 2 staff members and a staff member out of bunk.  The bunk may also be staffed by a specialist and a counselor-in-training (Avodah participant).

How are cabin placements made?

Cabin assignments are made on the basis of school grade. We guarantee mutual bunk requests as long as campers are in the same session and unit. 

How do you deal with homesickness?

All staff are trained to soothe campers with homesickness. Many staff members grew up at camp and remember what it is like to be away from home and missing family and friends. If cabin counselors need support with a homesickness issue, unit heads and our Camper Care team (a team devoted solely to working on any camper care issues throughout the whole summer) have many resources to share. In general, we do not allow campers to call home as speaking to parents can sometimes make homesickness worse. For the same reason, we do not allow parents to visit campers during sessions. 

What happens if my child gets sick while at camp?

It is our hope that every camper will remain healthy and fully able to participate in every aspect of camp life all summer long. Just in case, though, Greene Family Camp has a range of systems in place to manage health care issues that may arise.

The Camp’s infirmary is modern, well-equipped with first aid supplies, and well staffed. Camp always has a doctor and nursing staff available on staff 24/7 and throughout the summer. Our medical staff also dispenses medications four times per day. Camp is located 20 minutes from two hospitals in case of emergencies. The Medical Form that you fill out as part of your camp application is all we need to take great care of your child while at camp.

How will my child's laundry get done?

The clothing list is based on a ten-day supply. We attempt to do all campers’ laundry at least once each week – every five to seven days. Laundry is done by bunk. Each bunk separates their laundry into darks and whites and sets it on the porch for pickup. The laundry is then washed, dried, folded and returned to the bunk later in the day for sorting by the campers and staff. All clothing and other belongings must be clearly marked with the camper’s full name. This may be done with a laundry-marking pen, or sew-on or iron-on labels.

My child is a picky eater, what kind of menu items does camp offer?

Greene Family Camp is proud of our kitchen and the food that we serve. Our initial menu was developed through a menu survey. It is reviewed annually by camp staff and parents. Menus are also reviewed annually by a registered dietician for calorie count, healthfulness and balance. The menus are also available prior to the summer on our website for review by parents and friends. If you have any questions about the food at camp and our ability to provide for a camper’s specific needs, please email gfc@urj.org and we will call you, write back to you, or refer you to our Dietician. You can see a sample menu here.

Will my child get to choose the activities he/she wants to participate in?

If you camper is attending the full 3 1/2 week session, they get to rank preferences for a Chug and a Hagigah.A Chug is an hour-long morning activity, often an outdoor sport.  A Hagigah is an hour-long afternoon activity, often an indoor art or sport activity.  Campers get new Chugim and Hagigot each week.  On Saturday afternoons and many evenings, campers get free time called Chufsha to choose their own activity across camp.  Our older campers also get to choose a Gadol, an activity that they focus on throughout the summer.  At the end of the session, campers get to present a project from their Gadol session.

For our Shorashim and Bonim campers, they are exposed to a variety of activities throughout their time at camp.  They also participate in Chufsha time where they can choose their own activities.

What if my child's birthday occurs at camp?

Birthdays are fun celebrations at camp. We present a birthday cookie-cake, a birthday button and sing a birthday song. Feel free to send a birthday present or package. Please do NOT send birthday cake or other treats.

Can my family visit during the summer?

We invite all parents to come on the Opening Day of the session when we offer Camp Tours and give you a chance to meet your child’s counselors and bunkmates. We do not offer any visiting days throughout the summer.

Can my child leave camp?

Campers cannot leave camp at any time without the permission of the Camp Director. Arrangements are made at the discretion of the Director for special circumstances such as family weddings and bar/bat mitzvahs.

Contacting Camp

How can I keep in contact with my camper?

Letters

It is very important for both campers and parents to send and receive mail. We urge you and your camper to write to each other regularly. Mail time is always an exciting time at camp. Your camper may be disappointed if they do not hear from you!

  • For campers sending letters to friends & family: Stamps, envelopes, paper, and pens are NOT sold at camp. It is sometimes easier for younger children to write home if they are equipped with pre-addressed and stamped envelopes or postcards. Please be sure to send the necessary supplies of envelopes, paper, pens, and stamps with your child!
  • For parents, friends & family sending letters to campers: Please address all mail as follows (& remember to include your return address!): Campers Name, Bunk Name, URJ Greene Family Camp, 1192 Smith Lane, Bruceville, TX 76630. Remember: Please do not pack food or candy. It will be confiscated!

Emails & Photos

To send an email to your camper or view up-to-date photos of each session, log in to your CampInTouch account, the same system you used to register for camp. We will send instructions prior to each session. Please note that emails you send through CampInTouch will be printed every day at 10am and handed out at the following lunch time (except for during Shabbat on Saturday).

Phone calls

Campers cannot use the phone or receive phone calls or faxes. Parents cannot call their child at camp, however you are welcome to call the camp office at 254-859-5411 to speak with one of our staff members with any questions or concerns about your child. Don’t be concerned if you do not hear back immediately – we will return your call! And you should know that the camp administration will be in touch should any concern arise.

During Shabbat (from Friday sundown through Saturday sundown), the office is closed and the answering machine will be on. We check the messages often and will get back to you as soon as possible.

Can I send care packages?

Campers can receive non-food gift packages. Here are some thing to note:

  • Please limit your packages to one per week.
  • Do not send packages with food, drink, candy or gum to camp! This is due to Kashrut, preventing animals from entering the cabin, and camper food allergies. To ensure the safety of everyone, any food sent via packages will be confiscated.
  • All parcels will be opened by our mail room director.
  • All packages must be sent prepaid.
  • We love packages that include items useful to the child or the bunk, like a a book or a game that everyone can play. We discourage packages that have small toys that might be fun to play with at first, but generally loses the interest of the child and eventually gets thrown out. We encourage meaningful care packages!

How can I stay up-to-date with what's going on over the summer at GFC?

There are tons of ways to stay updated with GFC during summer camp – and all year long!

Facebook

We update Facebook multiple times a day with photos, videos and other updates about the day to day goings on at camp. Click here to ‘like’ us on Facebook!

Twitter

Get real time pictures, updates and quotes from kids by following us on Twitter! Click here to follow us on Twitter!

Instagram

Want pictures instead of words? We got you covered! Check out our Instagram for photos on all the special little moments and times at camp. Click here to follow us on Instagram!

Summer Central Blog

Our blog is chock full of wonderful articles, stories and features all about camp written by our staff, campers, camper families and faculty. For spotlights on specific sessions, important features, and a weekly summary of camp happenings, read the blog! Click here to check out our blog now.