It’s hard to find a place as welcoming and joyful as Camp Havaya.

Campers and staff from all over the world—different races, cultures, practices, abilities, sexual orientations, family structures, and gender identities—come to Camp Havaya year after year because they know they’re more than accepted. They’re celebrated!

We all thrive because every kid brings something special to our incredibly accepting and dynamic community.

With decades of experience meeting all kinds of needs, our staff is passionate about creating a warm and loving place that sees each of our campers for who they are as individuals. We’re proud of this deep commitment to diversity and aim to set the standard for creating a Jewish camp culture that is open and inclusive of the full spectrum of the Jewish community.

25% of our families define themselves as interfaith – and many, many more have grandparents, cousins, and other family members of different religions.

With the support of 18Doors, we train our staff to recognize ways campers from interfaith families might experience camp and how, in addition to supporting them, we must be equally aware of their parents’ varying experiences and expectations.

This isn’t a place where we say “you’re not really Jewish” or “Jews don’t do that;” rather, it’s a place where each camper is encouraged to discover what being Jewish means to them. Their different experiences and perspectives are a big part of what makes our camp so amazing.

If you didn’t grow up at summer camp, please be in touch to ask questions, share more about your family, and put your mind at ease.

“This is exactly the kind of community I want for my child – the values were extremely resonant with those of our family”
The Reconstructionist movement continues to be at the forefront of LGBTQ+ inclusion in the Jewish community.

We’re proud to have partnered with Keshet and CBST in creating a community that supports campers, staff, and family members of many different sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions.

Camp Havaya is widely respected as a leader in trans inclusion in the Jewish camp world. Our staff have consulted to other camps and agencies, and we’ve led workshops on trans and gender issues at the American Camp Association, Foundation for Jewish Camp, JCamp180, and other camping conferences.

We recognize that gender lies on a spectrum. While we have male-identified (“boys”) and female-identified (“girls”) cabins, the campers who live in those cabins choose to identify themselves in a variety of different ways. Be in touch to let us know what feels like the right fit for your child.

Every child is unique and we want to learn more about your camper. Let’s talk!

“It is exhilarating to find a youth program where we don’t need to carve out a new path or feel like our child is going to be the first (or only) one at camp with same-sex parents.”
Many of our campers identify as people of color.

Some are adopted.
Some have parents of color.
Some are from multi-racial families.
Some were in the foster care system.
Put simply, our campers come from all kinds of racial and ethnic backgrounds—and each has a different story to tell.

Our staff have participated in training sessions with Be’chol Lashon, Joyous Justice, and with Ali Michael, Ph.D., co-founder and director of the Race Institute for K-12 Educators.

We love meeting new families and building an increasingly racially diverse camp community. Let’s have a conversation!

“I love Havaya’s inclusiveness. How counselors are from other countries and there is diversity among campers and staff.”
As with all areas of diversity, our commitment is to run an inclusive program.

We believe in the 80/20 rule. While we happily provide additional support and supervision for kids who need it, our expectation is that all campers can participate 80% of the time.

Campers should be able to follow directions, participate in group activities, and adjust to daily schedule changes.

Our goal is to celebrate and challenge kids in ways that help them grow into amazing human beings, but we know that no one place can be everything to everybody. Our staff includes a school counselor, LDTC, teachers, tutors, and other professionals who bring decades of experience working with children with a variety of special needs; if we need additional staff to support your child, we’ll do our best to bring them in at no extra cost to you. If you have questions about whether your child will be successful at camp, please be in touch. And if you’re pretty sure that we’re not the right fit but you want advice about where might be, we’d be happy to talk about that, too!

The David Shapiro Sharif Memorial Campership Fund generously provides financial aid for campers with autism or other neurodiverse needs.

“Camp was great at dealing with our daughter’s sometimes demanding special needs.”
Nearly 50% of our families receive financial support in order to send children to Camp Havaya.

We provide financial aid for families of all socio-economic levels. Many of these families have two parents with professional positions who, quite simply, can’t afford camp without some support.

As a North American camp, we realize that some families may incur significant additional costs for travel. We happily cover airfare for first-time campers who have to fly to camp, and travel subsidies for returning campers may be available upon request.

With thanks to a generous group of donors and supporters, we’re planning to award nearly $200,000 in financial aid and grants this year. Partnering with synagogues, local Jewish Federations, the Foundation for Jewish Camp, and others, we work to make Camp Havaya accessible to campers of all economic means.

Learn more about financial aid or be in touch with questions.

“Everybody deserves an experience like Camp Havaya and to “bee” themselves.”
Camper on the ropes course being spotted and supported by another camper and staff member as they complete the challenge.

Creating celebratory community is an ongoing process. Our goal is idealistic … but we’re also realistic. Be in touch to ask us the hard questions; be honest with us and we promise to do the same. We know it takes a village to raise a child and we want to be part of your village. If we’re not the right place for your child, we’ll happily work with you to find someplace that is. Because the bottom line is that, more than filling our beds, we want to see your child thrive.

“everything Jewish camp is supposed to be: unquestionably unreservedly welcoming, embracing, encouraging, thought provoking and inspiring”

What’s up with the bee? Howie Bee

Bee-ing part of a community.
Bee-ing your best self.

Meet our friend, Howie Bee. At Camp Havaya, we stand up for ourselves and our friends, take responsibility for our actions, and understand the part each of us plays in creating a joyful and welcoming community. We call this “How We Be” – and Howie is always there to remind us to bee our best selves.

Join our community.

Camp Havaya is a truly extraordinary place—your kid will feel part of something bigger than themselves, and they’ll want to experience that magic year after year.