Letter: A camp director’s response to ‘Summer Camp’

The following letter was submitted by a camp director in response to yesterday’s letter on TLS.

Below is a letter to Lakewood community as a response to the “over the top girls camps”.

Firstly, I want to address some of the ideas and even misconceptions out there regarding Lakewood summer camps. If you can keep an open mind for the next couple minutes than perhaps we can agree on certain things otherwise we may be looking at another vax vs anti vax debate.

I’ve been a camp director for over 25 years and let me tell you, absolutely Lakewood camps is way over the top! Find me 500 kids that will come to my camp only because of my Ruach and wholesome camp experience and I will give those kids the time of their life! In fact I have been doing that for many many years. However, unfortunately no camp can not survive on that because 500 kids will not come! You know why?? Because parents no longer make the decision which camp to send their girls to. Sadly – It’s the mind of a child that decides in this town. Kids will always opt for more slush and garbage , less safety and more hype, colorful ads and awesome trips.

Over the top promotions & YES trips is the ‘new normal Lakewood camps registration campaign’.

Is it a sad reality? Yes! But it’s reality – I had 4 camps call me for help with their budgets (I offer any camp struggling with budget issues for me to help) these camps had 350-500 kids and did not put $ in their pocket!!!

Not because of the trips or slush costs money, but because the basics camp expenses ex;building 75k busing 80k staff 185k (I can go on & on!) That’s before we even start. The only way to survive in the camp business is to have a minimum of 500 kids! But how do we get those kids? Do you think over the top camps cap their campers? Nnno!!

We camp directors are mega talented & creative & we will continue to compete so we can offer you choices and to fill the quota!

So yes, I am offering your daughters an awesome trip in the winter as an incentive to join camp CC, the best most wholesome camp around. Safety, real wholesome fun, and a cap of how many campers I take is MY value system! And as a benefit for joining, your daughter will get a free winter trip-that perhaps many kids wouldn’t of had otherwise! I love what I do and do it with a passion, please let us run healthy camps (I am open minded to anyone who would like to start a scholarship program to assist families camp expenses.)

Keep in mind this competition allows you parents to have more camp options to choose from. Now it’s up to you to do your research and make the best possible choice for your daughter as opposed to the other way around.

Miriam Ifrah,
Camp CC

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  1. Miriam is so right!! i’ve been sending to Camp Chaveiros for years. She’s genuine and all 3 of my daughters had the best time with memories to last a whole year. Im not gonna lie- its been very challenging getting my girls not to give in to the peer pressure at school. Watching all the camps promos and chatchkas sway friends where to go. But i remind them how special CC is and how each one is made to feel special, and at the end of the day I decide and my kids have not regretted it yet!!!

  2. It’s true I sent to a camp for years and it wasn’t till 2 years ago I saw how a camp should run. Chaveiros has a high lifeguard to swimmer ratio- always ice water stations set up around camp on hot days and my kids have real wholesome fun. So please don’t bash them for making a trip all they are trying to do is keep up with the rat race like any other business. Everyone grow up!

  3. I send my girls to camp cc and there is no question, it’s above and beyond in terms of well rounded good wholesome fun. A trip promo is real experience for kids, it’s not empty hype. My kids were jumping up and down when they got the mail!! Thank you for the brilliant opportunity!!!!

  4. very well said but when they meet together and agree to all work together to keep prices up and other issues, its no longer competition.

    Can you image if all the groceries got together and controlled prices?? we the consumer would loose out.

    and its prob ilegal too

  5. Camp Chaveiros is an amazing camp that cherishes each camper and provides an unbelievable experience! Miriam knows each and every camper and helps them shine in a wholesome and healthy way!
    Thank you Camp Chaveiros and Miriam!

  6. My daughter and her friends are super excited to return to camp chaveiros for another wonderful happy and safe environment this summer! Thank you Miriam for always being on top of everything and making sure everything runs so smoothly! You’re seriously the best!!!!! My daughter still calls the hotline every single morning!! The girls haven’t stopped talking about their winter trip!!! Looking forward!!!

  7. I have no problem with a camp making a promotion we all need to make a parnassah. My problem is all the camps getting together to raise the price! If you are all working together maybe all agree to cut some things out!! Every form of parnassah needs competition, but they seem to be working together…

    • I want to clarify on behalf of the 10 camps that had a get together, the goal was not at all about price hike, it was quite the opposite!! There was fake news about $75 increase. Please do your research 2018/ 2019 camp pricing before reacting! Educated consumers are always smarter!
      Miriam Ifrah
      Camp CC

  8. Last summer, my granddaughter told me about the trips that were planned for the Nine Days. Trips on the Nine Days?? Is there any feeling left at all for the Availus of the Churban? Forget about the Three Weeks. Somehow, THAT time period has lost all connection to the terrible tragedies that occurred during that time period over the history of Klal Yisroel. But the Nine Days! We can’t even afford to halt the fun, fun, fun for a few days so that we can stop and reflect? My granddaughter answered me, that if her camp would not have any trips, or do any “fun stuff” during any of the time the girls are in camp (including the Nine Days), the camp would not get any girls to enroll. It is not the camps’ decision; it is the decision of the young children (and yes, anyone under 18 is a young child!) and they only want to have fun every hour of every day. Otherwise, the camp will get a reputation of being “nebby” and none of the girls will want to go. There would probably be plenty of mothers willing to send to such a low-key camp (that would cost considerably less than the high-frill camps), but the girls, who run the show, will refuse to go. Many parents are working and cannot have the children stay home. So, rather than argue, or rethink priorities, parents send their kids to these camps. And every year, the bar gets higher and higher because the kids have already been there, done that.

  9. My daughter has been a happy Chaveiros camper for years! And we have been happy to send her, because Chaveiros places priority on safety and on the right values! When my daughter is at camp, I know my child is always safe, accounted for, and well hydrated in the blazing heat. Their counselors are always careful and conscientious in regard to medical conditions and the emotional well-being of campers. Their events are always run well-no kid is trampled on or left out, it’s mentchlich, not a zoo. For all those who don’t understand the value of a trip: a trip offers experiential value, social skill opportunities, and exploration (vital for learning) that no soda can, nosh, shtick, or cheap tchotchkes will provide. Chaveiros is all about quality, not quantity!

  10. I sent my daughters to CC and they shine like never before. My kids are good BH and best of summer in most camps before, but that was it just bec they were good they went with the flow. My daughter’s and I were shocked that Miriam knew them by their name in such a large camp! Their trips, tshirts, options such as art lessons were amazing! I work in a school and I take safety and organization seriously. I was thrilled when I watched dismissal with a staff memeber on each bus, they took attendance every day before they left, and had supervision up until my door!!! Late night trips brought my daughters home to my doorstep even though we didn’t have regular transportation. All of this plus more is priceless to me! The biggest moment was their play. Both my daughters had an incredible moment to shine and it has changed them to this very day. I will always be grateful to Miriam and her incredible staff. CC is definitely the place to be!

  11. This letter is a breath of fresh air. Having moved to Lakewood a few years ago, I can say that in this town the hype, candy and “our camp is better than yours” attitude is what is discussed between kids AND THEIR PARENTS. Safety, fun filled activities are just a mere afterthought. I have kept my kids home for the past 2 summers after going through a horrible summer our first year living here. I am impressed that there is a camp director around here that will actually say they are looking to give my daughter a good time as opposed to giving my daughter a label that she goes to the “best” camp. I will be sending an application for my 2 daughters to camp cCC (is that a abbreviation?).

    Thank you Mrs Ifrah and TLS for bringing some sense to the over the top camp situation.

  12. I agree! Camps need to offer quality, not quantity. Every camp should run like Chaveiros. They place safety first and that is the first, most important thing. Everything else comes second.
    So, yeah, your kid gets slush every day at other camps, but is anyone accounting for them? Is anyone making sure they drink enough?
    Thank you Chaveiros for providing the most responsible summer ever!

  13. Whether I agree with your letter or not, is irrelevant at this point. However, I do commend you for actually signing your name on the bottom of a letter and standing up for what you believe in. Unlike others who love submitting anonymous letters and creating tummults small hiding in their corner like a coward

  14. Miriam your are best
    You are so warm caring loving and reliable!!!
    It’s a privilege to be a camper and to be a staff memeber in camp CC!!!
    A wholesome place!!!!!

  15. Well said n well written! I’m impressed. On that note, I’m just curious, how many bunks for 3rd grade and 5th? N how many kids per bunk? Thanks

  16. Whereas your analysis is correct, what about the few of us who DO make the decision about camp, NOT our kids? Until my daughter is exposed to it through herself or friends, I would like to keep the bar low.
    When I was in high school, I spent my summers making backyard camps and paid for my spending money and seminary tuition.
    Perhaps there’s a way to encourage more backyard camps…

  17. With all due respect Wondering and those of you who are for backyard camps-your preteen/teenage kid is woefully unprepared and ill equipped to handle things like heat stroke, choking, anaphylactic reactions, and asthma attacks. Please don’t start with that whole “Back in my day, that never happened/never existed!” shpiel, because it most certainly DID happen & it had very scary repercussions! You should be very thankful it never happened to you, your kids, relatives, or friends rachmana letzlan! Sorry but I’ve personally seen and experienced enough backyard camps (as a child camper, a teen volunteer, and an adult) to not want to place my children in them. It’s one thing for a kid that age to babysit for 2 hours, despite that “anything can happen” it’s nowhere even close to the same equivalent as leaving your child there ALL DAY EVERY DAY in extreme heat and humidity!

  18. I just want to say that I never write in to such letters today I want to. I have such Hakoras Hatov to Miriam Ifrah. My 5 girls blih turned out excellent unspoiled bas yisrael and one of the reasons is camp cc!! The most beautiful balance between a very happy and healthy summer without the loose feeling of we need more and more!!!
    I do not belong to the camp at all just a very grateful parent and if you want to know the truth from a long time parent feel free to call me directly! (moderated)

  19. My dtr worked for Miriam in camp Chaveiros: wonderful program, responsible staff top to bottom, wholesome fun, healthy environment. Why? Because Miriam gives her heart and soul and then some for the camp, keep it up, and loads of success, btw I second the acknowledgement that she deserves appreciation just for signing her name. Rare indeed!!! Somehow nobody feels the need to identify themselves these days in electronic forums I guess Miriam’s confident about her program!!!! ????

  20. First, I give credit to Miriam Ifrah for writing and signing this letter.

    That being said, this is an ongoing problem in the frum and secular world. I was just discussing wedding Takanos the other day. No one should be spending a fortune on a camp (or wedding, car, home, etc) they can’t afford because a friend can. But that doesn’t mean that over the top camps should be banned.

    My children didn’t attend camp until they were over 10. They had only 2 vacations in their lives where we didn’t stay at a family member’s house, and have never flown. But their cousins fly to Florida and out of the country every year. And guess what? Mine are well adjusted! They understand that they must work for their goals. They volunteer to help less fortunate. And they are better prepared for life because they don’t expect everything handed to them.

    So if your daughter’s friend can afford the best camp (or a better wedding), wish them well. But use it as a teaching opportunity down your children. Don’t let them learn to live outside their means.

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