We have archery, arts and crafts, basketball, birthday celebrations, camping, canoeing, concerts, cooking, dance, drama, farming, football, Ga-Ga, gardening, high and low ropes courses, hiking, street hockey, Israeli dancing, knitting, painting, singing, soccer, softball, swimming, talent shows, tennis, tikkun olam (social action), Ultimate Frisbee, volleyball … and so much more! With so many things going on, the biggest challenge at Camp Havaya is figuring out what’s the most fun!
Campers experience the day primarily with their eidah (unit), allowing them to create deep connections with friends and participate in activities at an age-appropriate level. Units have approximately six cabins, all of which are multi-grade.
At this age, we know campers are more conscious of friendships and interpersonal connections … and we create space that allows them to learn about both. We also acknowledge that they have their own likes and dislikes and, as we expose them to different activities, we recognize the reality that not everyone likes every activity. We encourage campers to pick choice-based activities that they are interested in, with the notion that they can be friends with people who don’t like all the same things as they do. Ilanot staff help campers focus on hygiene and how best to move through the day while maintaining organization for their own items and taking responsibility for their own actions. Bedtime is generally between 8:45 and 9:15 pm.
By middle school, many campers have a picture of who they want to hang out with, which activities they want to dive into more deeply, and which parts of the day they will “tolerate.” Nehalim campers have a bit more unstructured time, but still follow a clear schedule. We encourage them to choose what they like during their choice-based programming … and we also recognize that some kids just want to be with their friends, so we make sure there’s a balance of both. Campers are encouraged to help lead younger campers in some activities, play competitive games (whether in sports or Magic: The Gathering), and share their passions at a much higher level in our weekly all-camp talent shows. Cabin cohorts can get a little larger (up to 14 campers) and campers are able to feel some “controlled” freedom – beginning to walk around camp on their own, share their ideas with camp leadership, and be responsible for their personal items without a lot of guidance from staff. (Well, we can hope!) Bedtime is generally between 9:15 and 10:00 pm.
High schoolers live in our award-winning Eco-Village. In addition to all the fun, there’s a much larger emphasis on becoming who they want to be, how camp can help them learn more about their passions and their personal identities, and what it means to be part of a larger collective society both within camp and outside of our “bubble.” We talk about role-modeling behaviors for younger campers and we provide opportunities for being a leader in the camp community. There’s more unstructured free time and a few times when Harim teens can “takeover” their daily schedules, expanding camp’s offerings to meet their own needs in ways that are authentic to who they are as individuals and as a group. Campers travel campus on their own, are expected to know (and follow!) the schedule, and are personally responsible for their belongings and actions. Bedtime is generally between 9:30 and 10:30 pm.
Over the course of four weeks, teens encounter varied experiences and viewpoints that help them build personal connections and make up their own minds. They explore all areas of Israel – seeing tourist sites and more out-of-the-way places, eating ice-cream and climbing mountains, surfing in Tel Aviv and celebrating Shabbat in Jerusalem. And they learn about creating a shared society with Jews and Arabs together at Givat Haviva, visit Bethlehem and Tekoa to hear from local residents on both sides of the security barrier, and meet Israelis from a myriad of backgrounds who help them gain a better understanding for what life is really like in this complicated and amazing place. Throughout, we aim to provide inspiring, empowering, and fun opportunities that help prepare them to speak thoughtfully and passionately about Israel when they get to college and beyond.
We squeeze a lot into the day! Here’s how a “typical” day looks….
We work hard to make sure that each camper can play hard. Every detail is in place so that they can have the time of their life—every single day.
Some mornings we share a song and a story. Other mornings we have a short musical service. Once a week, campers choose their own ways into prayer. Some days there are morning games where general silliness is the rule and other days we do Zumba. Whatever happens, it’s a great way to get the blood flowing and prepare everyone for a fun and exciting day.
Campers sit together with their cabin to begin the day with a delicious and healthy breakfast.
Clean-up contests (with prizes, of course!) help make daily “chores” more fun and rewarding.
Campers focus in fun and engaging ways on values, tikkun olam (social action), Israel, and “hot topics” that impact their lives throughout the year. From choosing values through jelly beans and ice cream to board games about living in two civilizations with dice the size of your head, we encourage each camper to explore our traditions and today’s world to discover what being Jewish means to them.
Soccer, basketball, Ultimate Frisbee, street hockey, ga-ga, volleyball, softball, lacrosse, kickball, and more.
During the course of the week, campers learn from visiting artists-in-residence, cook amazing food (often with vegetables from our garden), sing new songs and old favorites, create works of art in one of our studios, try out Israeli dances, and find their creative side.
With open seating, campers can sit with friends from home, older siblings, or a favorite counselor.
All campers are given funds to “purchase” Camp Havaya gear such as sweatshirts, stuffed animals, and water bottles, along with toiletries and any other needed items. No food is sold at the shuk!
With such a busy day, we all need a rest!
Swimming lessons in our heated pool, boating on the lake, jumping on the water trampoline and blob, standup paddle boarding, and more fun in the water.
Campers of all ages choose from nearly 30 different activities. From archery to sewing to Magic the Gathering, from journalism to Zumba to swim team, from lacrosse to Quidditch to painting, there’s something for everyone. After two weeks, campers choose new electives for the second half of the session.
All of camp gathers together to hang out, swim, play ga-ga, or just sit under a tree and read … and, of course, to have a snack.
Like before, campers choose from nearly 20 different activities each week. Harim campers (entering freshmen and sophomores) spend this time hanging out in the Eco-Village.
Campers sit together with their cabin for another delicious meal – and for weekly theme nights.
Just like in the morning!
There’s always more fun to be had, whether at a pool party or a talent show, running around for capture the flag or a scavenger hunt, performing in the Camp “Sing” or singing your heart out at a concert.
At the end of each day, campers check in with friends and counselors in their cabin, share great experiences from the day, and begin to look forward to another great day tomorrow….
Campers go tubing during morning pontoon boat rides, participate in inter-camp sports tournaments, sleep under the stars on overnight camping trips, dress up for Pirate Night and other theme nights, perform in the Camp “Sing,” build team spirit for Maccabiah (Olympics), and travel the world on International Day. They go on fun field trips (can you say waterpark?), sing their hearts out at amazing concerts, learn from skilled artists-in-residence, have late night pool parties, and perform in “Shabbat Unplugged” (our weekly all-camp talent show).
With so many things going on, the biggest challenge at Camp Havaya is figuring out what’s the most fun!
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.