JUST IN: Multiple Large Lakewood Day Camps Not Opening This Summer

Multiple large Lakewood day camps are set to close, TLS has learned.

Though not yet official, several camps with several hundred children each, are expecting be closing their doors.

One camp owner tells TLS the reason for the closings are mainly due to the rising costs.

“People don’t realize, costs went up tremendously,” said the owner of one of Lakewood’s largest day camps. “Parents think we’re making a killing – they don’t understand that everything costs money.”

At least one of the camps may be merging with another day camp in order to bring down costs by having a larger ‘buying power’.

Camp Yachad, one of the camps closing, says they are not opening due to not being able to find a suitable location.

“We need to share the news with you that the Planet will not be opening this summer. Unfortunately, construction is planned for our building and we’ve been unable to find a suitable location (though we’ve been trying!). We’ve been back and forth these past few weeks waiting and hoping but it just wasn’t meant to be,” the camp said in a statement.

In addition, parents can expect a jump in camp prices this year due to cost increases on the camps’ end.

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  1. Transportation to camp went up by alot especially to Jackson and Toms river. One camp wants $400 just for Transportation. Of course people are thinking twice before sending out this summer…

    • could not agree more.
      It might sound old fashion, but when we went to a certain camp growing up (15) years ago, they had one major trip, and it was more than enough. but the atmosphere was unbelievable we lacked nothing.
      Lets get that spirit up and running again

  2. I think if TLS ran a poll, most parents would agree that the camps should tone down their crazy trips and projects and instead do some good old-fashioned kid fun, such as sports and games. That would help keep costs down. People have been complaining for years that the camps are trying to outdo each other and are over the top and passing the costs onto parents. I do believe it costs a lot because they do insane things. Let them go back to the old times and parents and kids will be much happier and they can keep the prices down.

  3. Now is a perfect opportunity for camps to start being camps again. Bring on the sports, leagues, hikes. And enough of the daily/weekly trips and entertainers. Give the kids quality fun. Teamwork skills. Skip the junky projects and have the kids work on one nice project all summer that they proudly bring home and KEEP. This should greatly bring down prices and greatly increase the solid growing experience camps used to offer!!

  4. Maybe businesses should stop raising their prices thereby ripping off their customers, so they can make lots of money and become the next philanthropists seen in the next magazine donating money to the organization who is helping all the people they continue to rip off! I know suppliers and shipping cost have risen, but stores and businesses are definitely cashing in on the “supply chain/inflation” and making more money than they ever did!

    • Maybe you should do some real research as to why and how prices have gone up before you make such sweeping, slanderous statements. The businesses are experiencing increased expenses, expensive supply and payroll, limited work force etc. don’t pin the responsibility on yenem. look where you might be a link in the chain that has casued the expenses to fly out of range

  5. I truly believe this issue was brought about by the camps themselves. If they didn’t feel the need to always outdo the other camps with their trips and giveaways maybe the costs would stay down. Even with inflation

  6. I happen to be in the know a bit….during Corona the camps still got called out for not bringing in outside entertainment at least twice a
    week….parents and kids need to bring the expectations down, but the prices of buildings, bussing, staffing are all going up with many parents not being able to pay or wanting to pay.

  7. Askan4Trouble,

    I’m not sure what planet you’re on but clearly you are not on planet Earth, living in the United States. There is a reason that prices have gone up a lot over the past year. First of all look at the soaring gas prices which have gone up well over 30% in the past year. The people buying gas, those companies what you think are making a lot of money, are not swallowing that increase, it’s only normal that it gets passed on to the consumer. I certainly don’t blame a company for raising their rates because everything has gone up, upwards of 30% and sometimes even more.

    Perhaps it’s time to get out of that basement of yours and actually see what really is going on because thanks to our wonderful administration in Washington added on that the wonderful administration in Trenton, we are in gehakta tzuris until the adults have to come in and take over.

  8. I’m reading these comments in other amazement as far as people wanting day camps to tone down activities. Do you not understand that this is what the kids are wanting? If you are not sending your kids to a sleep away camp, the sleep away camp has to come to them.

    In the case of YACHAD, they were among the first, if not the first to realize that there is a market for the day camp to act more like a camp with the exception of sleeping. The administration of YACHAD has many years of sleep away camp experience and was able to successfully bring that into a day camp. The proof that it was so good was the fact that the other camps all opened up after that and tried to copy. Imitation is a form of flattery. Clearly they were doing a good job.

    Unfortunately in this time of far too many people running around like chickens without heads because of the China virus, their options of locations are limited. Had the China virus not been around or had people finally woken up to the fact that they’re being conned, perhaps they would have had more options.

    I know my family wishes them tremendous brocha v’hatzlocha and we sincerely hope they are back again next year BeH.

  9. What we parents really need is for the schools and camp to sync up better.
    Girls school should end on a Wednesday (after full day) and camp begin the following Monday. In between half’s have a Friday off and begin the 2nd half on Monday. After second half have 4-5 days to prepare for school before the school year starts.
    Boys are a bit trickier as Bochrim who start Elul are the counselors. In any case there shouldn’t be 7+ days with no structure at either (or both) ends of the school/camp schedule. Those that go on vacation or to the country can work around this schedule.
    The schools and camps should be told by ALL parents that this is what we expect and will not accept otherwise.

  10. All I can say is that Camp Yachad was an amazing camp with excellent leadership, great counselors, fun activities and amazing learning rabbeim. My son went for many summers until he outgrew it. I am not a jetsetter of Lakewood standards, and our family standard of living is pretty low in comparison to most of Lakewood (small townshouse, development living) and I never felt that Yachad went over the top in entertainment. Most activities were regular camp activities and since their camper numbers were so high, they were able to do even bigger activities at a low price per camper. Nothing they did was over the top, and anything they did was with such a zany twist by the incredible staff that it kept the boys excited and happy. I can only say that it’s sad to hear that Yachad will be closing. I wish Rabbi Becker and his team of wonderful people only the best!

  11. I’m
    Happy to see most parents agree with me
    We don’t need a trip weekly and a overnight and 5 water park visits and what not
    There will be enough camps if you close and we will be just fine with the less wild camps and less cost

  12. The Schools shouldn’t give so much off. Maybe we follow the Chasidish Schools in Monsey, there’s no off so no extra expenses, or at least just three weeks.

  13. This is just a marketing piece….all the camps are going to open but the prices will be drastically higher…this is just a friendly warning! Amazing how everything is going up in price but our salaries

  14. to the parents on here who have a head on heir shoulders you are correct lets bring down cost by just being a camp and cut out the nonstop need for “fun”, in general our town has gone to the wildest extreme with gashmiyus that doesnt help anyone, we arent dogs who constantly need to chase our tails, go learn some mussar.

  15. I am reading the comments and laughing! All the parents who claim that they want a toned down camp with sports and good old old days activities- Seriously???? Do you know that my camp started that way about 9 years ago and many PARENTS called to complain that we were not doing water parks and shows like other camps. it’s the parents who need the fancy camps. When I raised my prices and advertised crazy trips- i filled up double that year- more than 500 kids….go figure. it’s not the camps who are being crazy- its the kids and parents who are so hard to please no matter what you do. Any camp now that tries to be toned down- fails! they go bankrupt and cannot open up after a year or two.
    and yes, transportation went up over $50 an hour since 2 years ago. if we don’t raise it at all, we wont even offer you daily transportation, let alone trips.

  16. My children think of me as a ATM machine all year long Winter or summer the children get whatever they want since i want them to be happy… how on the world am i supposed to break it to them that they won’t be going to their dream camp This year since it’s too expensive. This is a calamity! I guess I’m on the way to the therapist with my children…..

  17. Too bad kids aren’t satisfied with just plain sports, swimming, arts and crafts, hiking etc. any more. Why do they have to have entertainment, deluxe trips etc? My own kids never even went to day camp except for theCheder and Bais faiga ones. I took them to all the parks around here and further, and we had picnics, went to county fairs, boating on the lake etc. My kids road their bikes, played basket ball and went swimming. That’s it. They didn’t complain that they were bored.

  18. Friends – This is not an isolated problem, but part of a much larger cause. Yes, costs have gone up for products and services nationally, but do you know what the national average increase across the board is – 7%. Have you noticed that in our bubble economy here in Lakewood that costs have increased closer to 15% on average? I would like to understand why this is – I have a feeling that we are being taken for a ride from our supermarkets and local retailers. Their revenue stream isn’t feeling any pain from the price increases because we continue to frequent them (I understand that we often have no choice), so guess what, they continue to increase further and further, all the while blaming it on the supply chain crisis. The increased cost of living creates a domino effect – employees are now demanding pay wages that compensate for the increased cost of living. This further compounds the problem – by pushing up pricing even farther. Should you ask – if wages are going up, why is there pain, aren’t we offsetting the cost of living increases with wage increases? The answer is twofold – 1. Those who are employed outside our bubble economy are not seeing increase amounts required to match the increased cost of living in our community. 2. Currently employed folks generally are last to receive increases. It is the new hires that are demanding and receiving higher wages. The scary thing is that we are not yet at the end of this saga. Just wait for next year’s school tuition increases and Pesach product pricing. I have recently heard from someone within the food industry to expect some serious increases on Pesach products. While I understand that for most folks, Pesach product increases is not going to break their bank, however the aggregate total of increased cost in all of the areas of our day to day lives will indeed break the bank for many families.

    We are literally heading off the proverbial cliff, from housing prices to basic day to day cost of living. I’m interested to hear feedback – either agreement or disagreement, and reasonable solutions that address these issues.

  19. @ I’m a camp owner-
    I believe you that it was the parents who complained initially- but things have changed in 9 years and now it’s all about which camp can do crazier things. Been saying for a while to tone down these trips. Especially the overnights that cost the camp a fortune. Not to mention the kids driving the parents nuts to buy out the whole candy store bec they might be bored for 2 minutes on the bus. They usually come home with most of the nosh. They also come home in a rotten mood having missed a nights sleep and eating 4 hot dogs at 4 AM.
    Totally not worth the headache. The majority of parents hate the overnights.
    I think a poll would show in this post Covid era with soaring prices, to drastically tone down the trips..etc and make costs more affordable.
    Just my two shekels.

  20. Another reason boys camps are closing is staffing issues….more and more Rebbeim and Roshei Yeshiva are encouraging their bochurim to go to Mesivta camps, this way they are busy a full day. Our day camps simply cannot afford to hire younger Leitman, especially when they want to take a week off so that they can enjoy their bein hazmanim. It’s challenging.

  21. Friends – We need to open our eyes very wide and recognize the whole picture here – the entirety of it. This cost increase that camps are talking about is not isolated to or caused by the camps themselves, so let us not swing and miss on the problem here. As a nation, in the USA, we are experiencing inflation that most of us have not ever experienced anything close to in our lifetimes. However, when you look at data, inflation has driven costs on average to a 7% increase YOY. In our bubble economy here in Lakewood, however, we are experiencing increased costs of upwards to an average of around 15%. We need to ask ourselves why is this – are we being taken advantage of by the monopolistic environment we live in and rely upon to provide services and products that fits our communal lifestyle? I think the answer is a resounding yes. I recently heard from someone in the food industry that Pesach goods are going to be exorbitantly higher than the previous year. And just wait for next year’s tuition bill – no reason to not expect a major increase there as well. To compound this further, employees of our local business are asking for higher wages to offset their increased cost of living. This triggers even greater increases by local businesses, and we find ourselves in a precarious economic situation as a community. Go ahead and add the cost of housing to the equation. Family incomes have not risen 15% or anything close to it. As a result, many local families are beginning to experience tremendous financial stress – we need a solution!!

    Looking forward to feedback and ideas.

  22. Being a camp Director myself for many years I must say that Yachad was always at the top probably the best camp ( And I have know many in Lakewood) From the structure to operations as well as the staff. Even though it was a very large camp there was a sense of individuality for the campers and the parents. Aside from the trips they offered so much more in the their out of the box creativeness. Its sad that its not happening this year. If I were the other camps I would grab the Yachad Head Staff. Rabbi Gotlieb, Protowics, Mr Abish and the others. These guys have what it takes their is hands down no one like them in Lakewood or the Mountains. Wishing you Much Hazlacha! ( Ya heard Me)

    A Yachad Parent.

  23. Lol to the one who said “amazing that everything is going up but our salaries” so many people jumped on the pandemic cash in all the various forms that flowed in over the past few years- that was the raise people. Now come the after effects. Ans no, inflation does not generally raise salaries- that’s why all that pandemic cash wasn’t actually good in the long run. But it’s hard to see 2 inches ahead when the $$$ is rolling in

  24. I don’t understand. Prices went up 15%, so the camps need to charge double?! Why can’t they go up 15% like everyone else?

    Then we need to understand how camps are supposed to tone things down. They can start putting their minds to understanding the children. The spectator activities do nobody any good. Stop bringing entertainers, elephants, and noisemakers to the camp, and save that money. Make sports leagues that make sense, and make sure that the children are occupied.
    If they go home with a sense of accomplishment, they will want to go the next day.
    If not, they will constantly demand candy, with more and more wild sports and trips.

    Overnight trips are the activities of the devil. Here is the rule of thumb: if more time is spent bored than occupied, it is a mistake. A six hour drive to an eight hour amusement park, with a six hour drive back, is just wrong and stupid.
    Stop the madness and stop the overnight trips. Save thousands of dollars right there.

  25. This entire story is misleading. I am involved in many camps around town and this idea that camps are closing because of inflation cannot be farther from the truth. 1 camp is closing because the owner took on a bigger and better project. The other 2 are closing because they don’t have a building. Period. This has absolutely nothing to do with money. People can complain all they want here in the comments about prices and trips blah blah blah, but bottom line, this is all because of building issues. Proof: Ruach hatorah plans on opening back up next year. It’s a good narrative to blame this all on inflation, but it is completely sheker and misleading.

  26. To all the comments above that are suggesting to tone things down at camp, so the prices will not have to rise so much.

    You are all 100 percent correct.

    There is only one problem, and I know this for a fact.

    Today’s children and BOCHORIM are so spoiled, that if they don’t have exactly what they need, they throw a fit, and they complain till you must change. And unfortunately the parents have no control over their children.

    I run an organization, I won’t say which one, but I can tell you that if the boys don’t have a lunch and supper menu for two weeks each night something different, ITS ALL OVER.

    I just wonder to myself, what will happen when they get married, do they think that every night will be a different lunch and supper?

    How many Kollel and working men go to learn and work with the same food every day?? Most of them.

    What kind of children are we raising???

  27. I hope everyone was happy with the checks they got from Biden and the Democrats. I think every economist out there says that’s what overheated the economy (for example Larry Summers – a democrat and probably one of the most respected economists out there).

    So an overheated economy causes inflation and we now suffer the results.

  28. Camps can do a little less and charge a little less. Most people would rather that. Also, they went up a lot more than their costs did. Costs went up a certain percentage and they went up a much much higher percentage. And they did it because they can. Plain and simple.

  29. Budget,

    I agree with you. I think you should keep your kids home during their time off of school and You should play they can’t mommy or they can’t happy for the month or two. If after 3 days you still have sanity, you should have yourself evaluated because you have something wrong.

  30. Yachad was top of the game! I’ve been sending there for years and years and im totally at a loss what to do this summer. huge loss for the boys of Lkwd. yes, they were “over the top”, yes, the boys loved every single minute. We will miss you Planet Y

  31. Lowering our standards is doing the children a huge favor. They will save so much in the future when they aren’t raised to believe that weekly trips are normal because they had good memories, and insist on the same for their children, thereby going bankrupt in an attempt to buy happiness.

    There are so many ways to make camp cheap and fun. Theme days are great. Anything that involves water. Maybe let everyone make their own pretzel. Color relays. On a very hot day, have a movie with each kid getting their own popcorn. Simple science projects.

    The memories with friends are what makes camp worthwhile.

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