Frequently Asked Questions
We are glad to talk with you about your questions if they’re not covered here; just give us a call!
- Are we Kosher?
- How do we keep Shabbat?
- What about prayer?
- Will my child be safe and taken care of?
- What does it mean that this is a new camp?
- Electronics at camp
- What are the cabins like?
- Can I come to camp with my child as a work-trade?
- What if my child has special needs?
- Do you offer Bar/Bat Mitzvah tutoring?
- My child has food allergies. Can you accommodate them?
- Who are your staff and where do they come from?
- Is everyone Jewish at Eden Village Camp?
- How does Eden Village Camp celebrate my child’s birthday?
- Is there a visiting day? Can I drop in and say hello?
- What if I need to reach Eden Village Camp after regular office hours?
- Mailing Address and Package Policy?
- How can I connect with Eden Village and learn more about camp throughout the year?
1. Are we Kosher?
Yes. Our full-time, live-in Mashgiach (food supervisor) oversees our strictly Kosher kitchen as directed by the supervision of Rabbi Yisroel Finman of Chai Kosher. Our kosher certificate is available here. Please feel free to call us for details.
2. How do we keep Shabbat?
Shabbat is a highlight of our community. We aim to create a comfortable and supportive environment for our campers and staff, who vary in their customs.
Campers and apprentices spend much of Friday (yom shishi) preparing: cooking, arranging flowers, setting the dining hall, preparing Words of Wisdom and parts of the service. In the afternoon campers have an extended shower time, and we encourage everyone to wear white, which beautifully heightens the festive mood. A musical parade leads us from our cabin porches to our outdoor amphitheater overlooking the lake, where we bring in Shabbat. After candle-lighting, we put down our instruments and celebrate with our voices. We close the evening with a true feast and spirited song session, interspersed with campers’ Words of Wisdom.
On Saturday morning campers choose among service options, then we all come together for a theatrical Torah experience. In the afternoon, campers may pick various activities during structured free time. We don’t farm, travel, turn electricity on or off, or cook food during Shabbat.
At sundown, our Havdallah (ceremony to bring in the new week) often turns into a big dance party!
3. What about prayer?
Regular davening (holding sacred space) helps us foster a sense of connectedness, joy and appreciation. In the mornings, we all start the day with shacharit (morning services), where campers choose among various options like traditional egalitarian, song-based, and active-movement-based. Our Yahadut (Jewish life) coordinator organizes optional davening in the afternoons and evenings as well.
Blessing food at mealtimes is an important way in which we heighten appreciation and awareness of where our food comes from.
Out in nature’s classroom, our Jewishly-rooted wilderness, farming, arts, and other programs offer rich opportunities for Jewish learning and prayer as well.
4. Will my child be safe and taken care of?
Yes. Safety is our #1 priority. We maintain an outstanding 3:1 camper:staff ratio, and counselors are “kid specialists,” with few responsibilities outside their bunks, so as to focus on each of their campers. We work closely with the American Camping Association and our county health department, and surpass the basic standards in many areas. During orientation, all staff are trained in our fire-department-approved safety and security procedures. Assigned staffers ensure that all visitors report to the camp office on arrival, appropriately escorted. Our specialists maintain proper certifications for lifeguarding, waterfront safety instruction, ropes course, wilderness first aid, and more.
One or more registered nurses is available 24/7 in our health center, which exceeds American Camping Association standards for best practices. A doctor is always on call. In the unlikely event of an emergency, the nearest hospital is 17 minutes away.
Emotional safety is supremely important as well. See our Philosophy page to get a sense of our approach to creating a positive, supportive environment.
5. What does it mean that this is a fairly new camp?
After two years of planning, Eden Village Camp launched in Summer 2010 with 134 campers from 17 states and 4 countries – and it was a huge success! We have spent the Winter strengthening and growing our program, and are excited for another amazing summer with a larger senior staff, more Specialists and program areas, and other innovations (e.g. baby sheep!).
Our campers, both new and returning, need not assimilate into a new culture – they get to help create it! This sense of ownership and citizenship is seldom possible in everyday life. It’s a special chance to come establish a new tradition, start a new club, and meet new friends in an environment that feels open.
Director Yoni Stadlin brings years of prior camp-directing experience to Eden Village, and we pride ourselves on our experienced, responsible, older-than-average staff. As part of the Foundation for Jewish Camp’s Specialty Camp Incubator, Eden Village has been blessed to receive a $1.1M grant as well as the best imaginable mentors and an intensive 5-year training program, all for the purpose of keeping our program at the highest standards of health, safety, innovation, and effectiveness.
6. Electronics at camp
At Eden Village Camp, we unplug from electronics so that we can plug into community and ourselves. Cameras are welcome, provided that they do not also operate as phones or internet. We strongly discourage cameras with video capabilities. Phones and electronic games are not allowed at camp. We do have recording equipment, so campers can record their own live music in groups and individually.
7. What are the cabins like?
The recent $2M renovation at camp includes newly renovated cabins with new decks. There are 8 – 10 campers, plus 2 – 3 counselors, per cabin. There’s a girls’ neighborhood and a boys’ neighborhood. Our cabins include bunk beds with guard rails, new mattresses, ample storage cubbies, and indoor hot showers and bathrooms. Each cabin cares for its own “snack garden,” with munchable snacks for the picking. Everyone pitches in to keep the cabins and gardens looking beautiful!
8. Can I come to camp with my child as a work-trade?
Thanks for your interest! For this summer, this may be challenging because we have limited housing, especially private accommodations, and many of our specialist positions are filled. However, all are welcome to review the staff page and complete a staff application if you see a position that fits. We are glad to talk about scholarship possibilities for your camper – we want to make it possible for them to come.
9. What if my child has special needs?
As Eden Village grows, we will become able to accommodate more and more people. As of now, we have a committee who helps us determine case-by-case what needs we are able to accommodate properly.
10. Do you offer Bat/Bar mitzvah tutoring?
Yes, tutoring is available upon request. Campers will have also time in which they can study.
11. My camper has food allergies. Can you accommodate them?
Our chefs work hard to accommodate various dietary needs including diets free of lactose, gluten, soy, and nuts. Peanut butter is sometimes offered among lunch options. You will have the opportunity to speak with our chefs to make sure your camper’s needs are met. If we cannot meet the dietary needs of your camper, we will fully refund you.
12. Who are your staff and where do they come from?
Our staff are the key to bringing our mission to life! Because our focus areas and values appeal to a growing number of young adults, we receive an extraordinary number of staff applications, and our hiring is highly selective. Our counselors and specialists tend to be older than those at most sleepaway camps. We thoroughly screen all staffers, and their training includes pre-camp reading and videos, an immersive 10-day training, and ongoing supervision and mentoring. Specialty staff members are professional educators in their fields, with extensive education backgrounds and current certifications. Counselors are selected for experience and talent for caring for children. The majority of our counselors and specialists come from the U.S.; some hail from Israel and other lands. Many of us have served as educators with the Teva Learning Center, the American Jewish World Service, Jewish Funds for Justice, Adamah (Isabella Freedman’s organic farming fellowship), and other Jewish environmental initiatives.
13. Is everyone Jewish at Eden Village Camp?
So far, all Eden Village campers and almost all staff are Jewish. Our program is designed to build Jewish leaders and strengthen Jewish identities, and we hope everyone leaves with a stronger sense of Jewish community and peoplehood. At camp, we often talk about “our” tradition, “our” culture, etc. This said, we welcome all campers and staff, who are expected to participate in all activities. If you’re interested in coming to camp and identify as non-Jewish, we should talk to make sure we’re a good fit.
14. How does Eden Village Camp celebrate my camper’s summer birthday?
Camp birthdays are always special at Eden Village. Expect honors at dinner with signs, decorations, and everyone singing Happy Birthday! Parents may send a special package and talk by phone with their camper.
15. Is there a visiting day? Can I drop in and say hello?
During each camping season there is one visiting day for our 7-week campers’ families. Dates and hours are listed in the Parent Manual. We strongly discourage families from dropping in and saying hello. A surprise visit often can not only disrupt a camper’s experience at camp, but also that of their bunkmates. We work hard to make sure that all campers adjust to camp life as quickly as possible and enjoy their daily routine. Parents are welcome to call the office and hear updates about their campers during office hours.
16. What if I need to reach Eden Village Camp after regular office hours?
During the summer, you can call us at (877) 397-EDEN (3336) at any time. From 6p to 8:30a, you’ll get a voicemail system, where one of the options is an emergency extension that puts you directly through to the Camp Director. Please use this option only in case of emergency, as the director works very long days. If it is not an emergency, you can leave a message in the general mailbox or email email@example.com.
17. Mailing Address and Package Policy?
Please send mail to: [Your Camper’s Name] / 392 Dennytown Road / Putnam Valley, NY 10579.
We don’t allow care packages – camp itself is the gift! This is so as not to create a culture of “haves” and “have-nots” within camp. But letters are always very appreciated!