The JCC Maccabi Sports Camp Blog

5-Year Anniversary Summer

Posted by October 17, 2018 • Share:

Our Expanding Impact

This past summer, JCC Maccabi Sports Camp celebrated its 5-Year Anniversary. In just five years JMSC has grown from a big idea to a remarkable reality – serving over 1,000 campers and 300 staff from around the globe. In 2018 we:

  • Welcomed over 100 new campers
  • More than doubled female camper enrollment
  • Added three options for week-long day camp programs
  • Increased our core sports to include flag football, volleyball and dance
  • Had over 30 rising 10th & 11th graders in our Teen Leaders program

Thanks to your support, JCC Maccabi Sports Camp continued to mature and gain momentum. So as we head into Summer 2019, we aim to impact the lives of over 500 campers and staff and further develop our camp community.


We’re currently focused on planning to make summer 2019 our best yet. However, it’s important to take a step back and reflect on just what brought us all here. We like to say that every person at JCC Maccabi Sports Camp has their own “why” – the reason they chose to be part of our camp community. Last week, we asked some of our campers and staff to share their “why” with us, and the responses were equal parts inspiring and humbling.

“Camp has and always will be my happy place. The people, skills, connections, laughter, friendship and memories I’ve made will stick with me forever.” – Sophie, 4-year Camper and Teen Leader

“As a counselor, I got to see my campers develop over our session together. Seeing this maturation as they come out of their comfort zones is such a rewarding feeling; as is knowing that you’ve helped build a positive, Jewish environment in which they feel safe enough to be themselves and begin to build relationships with their peers.” – Drew, 3rd year Counselor

“Maccabi is a place I really love. I get to be with my friends and get better in my sport. The environment that camp creates is like no other place I’ve been before!” – Noah, 4-year Camper

“‘The first year that I went to camp, it was all about the ruach/spirit and the feeling of love. This year, maybe because I’m older, it was all about the core values. I feel like I am a better person because I went to camp.” – 14-Year-Old, 2-year Camper

All of these “whys” make up the soul of our unique camp culture. Let us know your “WHY” with the hashtag #WHYJMSC. Let the world know why you choose to be part of the JCC Maccabi Sports Camp community. Don’t forget to tag us on your favorite social media platform.




We couldn’t be any more grateful for the strong community we have built here at JCC Maccabi Sports Camp. Thank you for supporting us! We can’t wait to see what the next five years, and beyond, brings.

2019 Camp Registration is Coming Soon

On October 23rd all 2018 families will have a 2-week window of early enrollment. This priority registration will offer our deepest discounts and best choice of programs.

Thank You

Everything JMSC has achieved was made possible by the contributions of our founding partners. We are grateful for your continued support. In addition to the agencies listed above, over 300 individuals and families have contributed to our mission. Join them by making a donation to our camp scholarship fund.


Donate to Our Camp Scholarship


Parent Play-by-Play: Summer 2018

Posted by April 26, 2018 • Share:

Summer is just around the corner and there’s a lot of information about camp that we want to share. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sending a series of emails on the most important topics to help prepare your child (and you!) for a terrific experience at JCC Maccabi Sports Camp.

Missed an email? Don’t sweat it! Click below to catch up.


















Summer Communication

Posted by April 17, 2018 • Share:

This is last of a series of emails & blog posts covering important topics about sending your child to camp. If you missed the previous emails & blog posts in this series, click here to view.

Parent Play-by-Play 6: Summer Communication

In today’s issue we discuss ways you can interact with your child and their summer camp experience.

There are several ways to stay connected to your child and the happenings at camp including social media, emails, letter writing, photos and the camp blog.

Emergency Hotline: (415) 779-4769

If there is an emergency and you need to reach camp immediately during the summer, please use this number. It will connect to the Leadership Staff member on duty and will be on during all hours of the day.

Please note, this number should only be used in the case of emergencies. Non-emergencies should still be directed to the main camp number (415) 997-8844. If you don’t get us directly it’s because we’re out having fun with your kids and we check messages frequently.

Social Media

Just like our campers, we love social media! Be sure to LIKE us on Facebook so you can stay on top of what we’re doing, reading, thinking, and feeling.  We’d love for you to share our posts and photos with your friends and family too.

We’re also on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, all under the handle @jmsportscamp


By now you should be familiar with CampInTouch, our online portal for registration and camper forms. Once camp begins, the platform transitions to enable you to stay in touch with your child and the happenings at camp.

The system is user-friendly and we encourage you explore it. Should you have any questions or need help, CampMinder Tech Support is standing by and more than happy to assist. (CampMinder is the software behind CampInTouch.)

CampMinder can be reached at (303) 444-2267; follow the prompts for Parent support. They have extended hours in the summer and are ready to provide assistance to parents and camp families.  The CampMinder team is the experts in all things CampInTouch so please call them with any questions.

What can you do via the CampInTouch System?

  • Send an email to your child — it will be printed and delivered with their cabin’s mail after lunch
  • Receive an email response from your child — a handwritten note will be scanned and emailed to you as a PDF
  • View camp photo albums and share photos with family & friends
  • Add guests to your account so they can see what’s happening at camp
  • Download hi-resolution photos (for a fee) 

Emailing Your Camper

CampInTouch allows you and your camper to communicate using eLetters, an email-like system enabling two-way communication. Parents, and guests associated with your account, can log into CampInTouch and write an eLetter that will be received by our office. We print letters daily at 11am and deliver them to campers after lunch. If you want your child to respond, there is a checkbox that will initiate a camper-specific page to be printed and delivered with your letter. Your camper will use this page to craft a handwritten letter home. The special page has a unique barcode that allows us to scan and upload the letter directly to your CampInTouch account. The best way to ensure you receive a response from your camper is to click the check box and initiate this special sheet is generated for your camper. 

It’s important to note that while these eLetters are sent electronically, they are not in real-time as we have become accustom to when using email in our everyday lives. Campers often receive the blank note at rest hour but may not respond immediately. By the time a camper writes a letter and puts it in our dorm mailboxes, it could be an hour or many days later. Also, depending on when their response letter is put in the dorm mailbox, it may not be uploaded until the next day. We offer this information so that parents can temper expectations regarding when they will receive a response from their child. Some campers will write home immediately, some will take days, and some may never write home. 


CampStamps are essentially a currency required to send and receive emails through CampInTouch. JCC Maccabi Sports Camp has arranged for each family to receive 5 CampStamps per camper per parent per week. Sending an eLetter to your camper costs 1 CampStamp and receiving an eLetter from your camper costs 1 CampStamp. Once your allocation of CampStamps has been used up, parents can purchase additional CampStamps. They are $1.00 each with a minimum purchase of 10 at a time. Please remember that each parent receives 5 CampStamps per week so they will be replenished midway through the 2-week session. CampStamps do not expire and can be rollover to next year but they cannot be used at a different camp.

We have chosen the 5 CampStamps option specifically for camper care & philosophical reasons, not reasons related to cost, as we feel that is a healthy level of communication during a two-week session. Receiving mail at camp is one of the great joys of the experience and we strongly encourage families to write to their kids. That said, there is a point when receiving a high volume of letters can be too much, many times causing campers to have feelings of missing home when before there were none. Also, and this is rare, but some campers experience stress due to the pressure of having to respond to each letter. Camp is short and fleeting and we want campers to be in the moment and experience all that it has to offer. If a camper feels they must spend all of their downtime writing letters home, it may severely dampen that experience. We’ve seen this happen each summer and want to encourage parents to keep this in mind as they embark on the summer camp experience.

Again, by all means, write to your child while they are at camp. Campers love to get mail. But please also be sure to set the appropriate expectations with your camper on writing home. Sending 1-3 letters home during a session is a good amount. Anything more than that may adversely affect the wonderfully positive experience you’ve sent them to camp to have.

Letter Writing

My father used to refer to my grandfather as “the last of the great letter writers” — and that was when I was the age of our campers! One of the last places letters are still exchanged is summer camp. It’s a great way to communicate and very exciting for campers to receive an actual letter in the mail. To ensure your letter reaches your camper while a camp, we recommend mailing letters 1-2 days prior to the start of camp, through Tuesday of the second week.

Mailing Address (and suggested formatting)

Camper’s Name
c/o JCC Maccabi Sports Camp (Menlo College)
1000 El Camino Real
Atherton, CA 94027


Our summer photo system within your CampInTouch account provides a fantastic way for you and your family, friends, and guests to have a window into your camper’s summer experience.

When you access the photo system within CampInTouch, you’ll see photo albums and a season selector at the top of the screen, which gives you easy access to great camp memories from years past.

The photo system has a mobile-optimized navigation menu across the bottom of the page, allowing easy navigation on all kinds of devices. Clicking or tapping into an album gives you an endlessly streaming page of photos, with a column layout custom-tailored to your device of choice. Selecting a photo gives you a much larger view of that image, and from there, you can swipe or use the arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate through the entire album.

An important note regarding camp photos…

The photos we share are intended to offer each family an opportunity to see our general program and get a sense of the overall camp experience. There are lots of great moments happening at camp every day and we want to share them with you so you can gain a better understanding of what your child is experiencing. That said, photos are not meant to be a camper specific check-in. Meaning, it is not our goal to post photos so that every family can see their child and be able to know how their child is doing. Should a photo capture your child with anything less than a beaming smile, that’s ok too. Camp is about ups and downs and we’ve found that there are a lot more ups than downs. But, should it happen, keep in mind that a photo is a moment in time and may not be representative of the overall experience a particular child is having.

Should you want to get a better sense of your child’s experience, please call us. Josh, the camp director, or any number of other Leadership Staff are more than happy to give you a report on how your child is doing and maybe even snap a photo of them having a great time!

Sharing and purchasing photos is easy as well. Simply hover over a photo and use the buttons to download, share, or add the photo to your shopping cart.  We hope you enjoy this feature and use it as a means to experience camp alongside your camper this summer.

We are taking a lot of pictures at camp and promise to share them with you. We will post a new batch three times a week on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays  before 8:00pm.

Also keep an eye on the camp blog for periodic insights into exciting happenings at camp.

Previous Topics

To view all of the topics in this series, click here.


Preparing Your Child for Camp

Posted by April 17, 2018 • Share:

This is the fifth in a series of emails & blog posts covering important topics about sending your child to camp. If you missed the previous emails & blog posts, you can view them here.

Parent Play-by-Play 5: Preparing Your Child for Camp

Going away from home for an extended period of time can be difficult for some children (and not just first-time campers).  It is natural for them to be a little anxious as camp grows closer.  Some will carry their concerns to camp.  To help your child with these feelings, we have compiled this guide for parents.  The pointers below will help prepare your child for the enriching experience that camp provides.

If your child is apprehensive about going to camp or showing any resistance or anxiety, the most important thing you can do is talk about it. Ignoring their feelings or hoping they will go away is not helpful. At the same time, you also don’t have to have a long drawn out conversation. Sometimes a simple recognition of their feelings and the understanding that going away can be scary is all that is needed to help your child feel supported.

If your child exhibits concerns about going to camp, encourage an open expression of feelings. They are worried about the unknown and are looking for your understanding.  It is helpful to tell your child that these concerns are normal and that many other campers feel the same way.  Permit your child to call the camp office to ask questions and receive reassurance.  Let them know that the camp director is always available to help, before and during camp.

Please do not be ambivalent about your child’s stay at camp. Your child needs to understand that they will be coming to camp for 2 weeks (or however long they’ve committed).  It is important that a camper understands this commitment and is not encouraged to think he or she may leave before the session ends.  A “try it out” approach does not work.  Although it may temporarily calm the child at home it creates challenges at camp.  Remember, fees are not refundable for early departure.

Remind your camper that summer camp is about having fun, meeting new people, trying new things and taking on challenges. This approach may not work for all children, but as these are important values of our camp, if the moment feels right, it’s a good time to explore these aspects of being away from home.  Our camp is designed to help campers, new and returning, to meet new people and make new friends. Make sure your child knows this as they prepare for their summer camp adventure.

Reassure your child that everything at home will be the same as when they left. This means that pets will be cared for, possessions will be protected from siblings, and that their room will stay as it was left. If for any reason this cannot be promised, inform the camp office of the circumstances – we can be most helpful when we are informed.

Please notify the camp office of any upsetting event that may have occurred prior to camp or you anticipate happening during the summer. In this category would be an illness or death in the family, poor school grades, divorce, or moving to a new house or city.

When seeing your child off at the airport or dropping your child off at camp, make your parting brief and pleasant.  Prolonged or tearful good-byes can be emotionally upsetting to your child.

Lastly, please discuss with the Camp Director if your child has been under any psychological or psychiatric care at any time prior to camp.  JCC Maccabi Sports Camp is well prepared to deal with most children and the common problems of growing up.  Our knowledge of the facts will give your child the best chance of success. On the flip side, being left in the dark regarding a serious situation leaves us unable to properly care for your child.

As you can see, open conversation and support are best and key to your child’s success. By spending some time properly discussing your camper’s feelings, you can do wonders to set them up for an amazing overnight camp experience away from home.

As always, please feel free to call camp to discuss further. We are happy to be part of any conversation that will offer more support for your child.

Upcoming Topics

  • Summer Communication  – photos, Facebook, blogs and more

Previous Topics

To view all of the topics in this series, click here.

Packing and Gear

Posted by April 17, 2018 • Share:

This is the fourth in a series of emails & blog posts covering important topics about sending your child to camp. If you missed the previous emails or posts on Transportation, Health & Safety, or Camper Care & Campus Life, click here to view them online.  

Parent Play-by-Play 4: Packing & Gear

We want to make packing for camp as easy as possible, which is why we’ve created a thorough packing list with sections for each Core Sport. Click here to download a PDF of the packing list.

What should my child pack?

Packing Information

The following information is meant to serve as a guide to help answer any questions about what your child should bring to camp.  We encourage you to use your best judgment about your child’s needs in helping him or her to pack thoroughly, yet efficiently.

It is critical that you write your child’s name on all clothing and linens. Camp is not responsible for lost or damaged items.

For easy labeling, check out Label Daddy and use code “MACCABI” to receive 10% off your total purchase. PLUS 15% of your order will be donated back to camp.

Even though we provide laundry at the midway point of a 13-day session, we still encourage campers to pack clothes for a minimum of 10 days. Given the active sports schedule, campers tend to need more than 1 shirt, socks, etc. for each day.

Shabbat Attire

On Friday evening of our Shabbat celebration, all campers and staff members are asked to dress in a clean, white shirt (polo, t-shirt, button down, etc.)  Please note that you do not need to purchase new clothes for Shabbat; any clean, white shirt will suffice.  Pants, shorts, and skirts do not need to be white.

Sports Equipment, Clothing, and Footwear

Campers will spend 4 hours each day at their Core Sport so it is essential that they have comfortable, appropriately fitting clothes for their sport.  Shoes and cleats brought to camp should be broken in to ensure proper comfort and fit.  Campers must wear appropriate clothing and footwear at all times.

In addition to the necessary gear for their specific Core Sport, we strongly encourage campers to bring gear for other sports, such as a baseball glove, cleats and/or tennis racquet.

See our Packing List in CampInTouch or download a PDF here for more information on what is recommended for each sport.

What items are not allowed at camp?

Items to Leave at Home

  • Clothing with inappropriate logos or words such as references to alcohol, drug, or profanity
  • Weapons of any kind
  • Food, candy, gum
  • Cell phones, personal video gaming devices or any devices with screens, internet or cellular abilities (see Electronic Policy in Parent Handbook for details)

Linens & Bedding

Campers are strongly encouraged to bring their own bedding. The mattresses at camp are twin XL (39” W x 80” L).  In addition to a fitted sheet, campers should bring a top sheet and blanket, or a sleeping bag if they prefer. They will also need a pillow, pillowcase, and 2-3 towels (1-2 for showering and 1 for pool use.)

If campers are flying to camp and/or unable to bring their own bedding, camp will provide a complete linen package, which includes two sheets, blanket, pillow, pillowcase, towels, and a washcloth. It is not necessary to request a linen package in advance. When your camper arrives, we will check to see if they need sheets, towels, etc. and provide them accordingly. There are no additional charges for the linen package. 

Forgotten Items

If your child forgot a necessary item, you can mail it to camp with “Forgotten Item” written clearly on the package and we will deliver it to your child.

Will my child be able to do laundry at camp?

Laundry Service

We provide laundry service to all campers once per session.  As stated above, your child should bring enough clothes to last more than 1 week, keeping in mind that they will usually wear 2 outfits daily (one for Core Sports and one after showering.) It is very likely that campers laundry will be bundled by room, so it is very important to label each item of your child’s clothing.

While we strive to provide excellent laundry service, we strongly discourage campers from bringing expensive clothes or items that require delicate or special care.


The average daytime temperature at camp ranges from the mid-70’s to the high 80’s. It can be cooler in the evenings with the temperature dropping into the 60’s.

Eye Care

If your child wears glasses or contacts, please send them with extras, as these items are occasionally broken or misplaced at camp.


At JCC Maccabi Sports Camp one of our key goals is to help campers forge new friendships and connect with their cabin mates and counselors.  We want every camper and counselor to be an active participant in the daily life of camp and to not simply attend each activity but be present for every activity.

In order to do this, we ask that camp remain a place for campers to “unplug” from the electronics that they use daily at home and at school.

We do not allow any devices that can make or receive a phone call; play a video game, DVD, or movie; access the internet; or send/receive email or instant messages. A general rule of thumb is: any device with a screen is not allowed.  (The only exception to this is digital cameras and e-readers.)

Campers are allowed to bring small music devices without screens, such as the iPod shuffle.  Please note that we cannot be held responsible for lost or damaged items.

Other Policies

Please review the Parent Handbook to review camp policies regarding bringing food, money & valuables to camp and drugs, alcohol & tobacco.  We also encourage you to review Appendix I for the Terms & Conditions that you signed upon completion of the Camper Application.

Upcoming Topics

  • Preparing for Camp – preparing your child to be away from home
  • Summer Communication  – photos, Facebook, blogs and more

Previous Topics

To view all of the topics in the Parent Play-by-Play series, click here.