Family Camp – the Value of Camp for Parents and Children

During these summer months, many of our children and teenagers are off at Summer Camp. Recognizing the value of the camp experience each summer, our clergy pays a visit to our students at camps such as Capital Camps, URJ’s Camp Harlam, and more.   Growing up, I spent summers at URJ’s Camp Eisner and Crane Lake in the Berkshires of Massachusetts and at the URJ’s Kutz Leadership Academy in Upstate New York. These summer experiences provided me with opportunities for personal growth, a sense of independence, and helped establish unique friendships with individuals I might not otherwise have had the opportunity to get to know. Many of us are either nostalgic for those special summer days or feel a sense of missing out on this formative experience.

According to the American Camping Association, the camp experience is recognized by child development professionals as valuable in helping children mature socially, emotionally, intellectually, morally, and physically. Bruce Muchnick, a licensed psychologist who works extensively with camps, said, "Each summer at camp a unique setting is created, a community is constructed that allows participants to get in touch with a sense of life that is larger than one's self. The camp community seeks to satisfy children's basic need for connectedness, affiliation, belonging, acceptance, safety, and feelings of acceptance and appreciation."

At Temple Beth Ami, we understand the value of camp. It is for this reason that our Religious School is called Machane TBA, meaning “Camp TBA.”  It is also for this reason that we have created our own Kayitz Summer Camp program. By creating a camp atmosphere, we create a safe, inclusive, fun and educational environment. Kids love coming to Religious School for the same reasons they enjoy coming to camp! Learning is fun, they make meaningful connections, and they connect with dedicated teachers.

This year, Beth Ami, is once again offering an opportunity for not just children, but parents and children, to experience camp together! I am excited to announce that on November 3-5th, Temple Beth Ami will be having a Family Camp for children and parents at the beautiful Pearlstone Retreat Center in Reiserstown, Maryland, right outside of Baltimore. Family camp offers us a time to look at our own lives and religious practice from the outside, to learn through doing, to pray together and sing together, to go hiking, play sports and engage in arts and crafts all in one weekend! And to end Shabbat together with Havdalah over a campfire with ‘smores. This weekend is primarily targeted for families with elementary school age children, yet we will have some teenagers joining us for the weekend as well. My hope is that Family Camp will give families an opportunity to meet other families within the Temple in a natural and relaxed setting. If you have wanted to deepen your connection with other members of TBA and have an escape from the stress of daily life, come experience Shabbat at Camp with TBA! There is an Early Bird Rate for those who sign up by July 28th! Please keep a look out for Up to the Minute emails, check the Temple website or contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for any questions. Hope to see you there!