For many children, when summer vacation starts, that means camp is just around the corner. Whether going away to overnight camp or spending weeks at a local day camp, kids get to experience the joy of that quintessential camp experience—including making friends, memories, and having a lot of fun. In Cincinnati, summer starts at Camp at the J.
“We absolutely love the community and how much our child grows over the summer,” Camp at the J parent Rachael Raskin said. “We love that it’s a true feeling of what we envision camp to be.”
While parents know Camp at the J will be a memorable summer for their kids, it can be daunting to envision the logistics: How do I get started? What age should my child be before I sign them up? Is there financial aid available?
Director of Camp and Extended Care Lauren Smyjunas believes summer camp is an experience every child should have. Smyjunas explains that for younger campers, consistency is important and young children benefit from the routine and structure that Camp at the J provides.
“Camp at the J uses these pillars along with our Jewish values as a platform to create a fun and inviting experience,” Smyjunas said. “Camp should be a place for campers to try new things, meet friends, and build foundational skills.”
For older campers, however, variety is the spice of life at Camp at the J. Children in grades 6-10 go on exciting fields trips such as the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Cincinnati Zoo, a Reds game, and more.
Campers are divided into age-appropriate co-ed groups. Each group is then divided into bunks of 15 campers to encourage small-group bonding.
· Pioneers (Kindergarten)
· Trailblazer (Grades 1 – 2)
· Raiders (Grades 3 – 4)
· Quest (Grades 5 – 8)
· Counselor in Training (Grades 9 – 10)
“Camp at the J offers weekly options which are unique to other camps,” Smyjunas said. “This allows families flexibility to go on vacations and not have to pay for weeks that they are not using.” Camp at the J offers JCC member pricing as well as need-based financial assistance.
Once camp starts, campers explore everything from archery to music, arts to sports, and so much more. Rocks, Sticks, and Dirt is a popular activity that allows campers a chance to dig and play in the dirt while making “archeological discoveries.” One of the biggest events of the summer is Birthday Fun for Everyone, which is a celebration of everyone’s birthday featuring a bounce house, face paint, and a DJ. A firetruck visits another day and campers get a chance to cool off in the summer heat. Of course, the camp staples are always offered, including s’mores and tie-dye days, theme days, and a chalk festival day where kids get to show off their artsy side.
In addition to a wide variety of programming, Camp at the J prioritizes mental health and inclusion. During the summer, a mental health clinician is at camp, along with a facility dog that visits every day, creating a positive, calm and friendly environment.
The deadline to sign up for camp is May 22, so it’s important to sign up now if you would like to guarantee your child has a spot at camp this summer. Sign up for Camp at the J here.