Camp Gan Shalom
At Camp Gan Shalom, we don’t just learn about Judaism—we live it! We are the summer day camp of the Jewish Federation of the Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys, serving entering kindergarteners through entering eighth graders. Our diverse and unique programs include swimming and sports, Jewish-themed arts and crafts projects, cooking, field trips, and weekly Shabbat experiences.
Dates and Locations for Camp Gan Shalom Programs
Location I: 5 weeks
Dates: June 13th–July 15th
Location: Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center (PJTC) in Pasadena
Location II: 3 weeks
Dates: July 18th–August 5th
Location: Temple Beth Israel (TBI) in Pomona
Programs, Logistics, and Activities
Who can attend Camp Gan Shalom?
Our Kehilla (“community”) program is for campers entering kindergarten through fifth grade, and our Manheegim (“leaders”) program is for campers entering sixth through eighth grades. In addition, we cordially invite prospective campers entering ninth and tenth grades to apply to become counselors-in-training (CITs).
When are the camp’s hours?
The regular camp day will run from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for our Kehilla and Manheegim programs. We will also offer extended care before and after normal camp hours for $12 per day or $50 per week, which will begin at 7:30 a.m. and end at 6:00 p.m.
How much does camp cost?
Registration and billing for Kehilla and Manheegim are both by the week. The more weeks you register your child for, the lower the price per week. The standard fees are $295 per child per week for Kehilla and $335 per child per week for Manheegim. If you sign your child up for 2–3 weeks, that price drops by $15 per week. At 4–5 weeks, the price drops by $30 per week. Sign up for 6–8 weeks of camp for the most significant savings and get a $45 per week discount! Note: our registration fees for the week of July 4th are lower to reflect one fewer day of camp: $275 for Kehilla and $315 for Manheegim.
Will there be a shuttle to take campers from one location to another?
At this time, we expect that there will be. Last year, we were unable to offer shuttling between locations due to COVID-19 restrictions in place during the planning phase for camp. This year, we anticipate being able to bring this service back.
Is Camp Gan Shalom a kosher camp?
Yes. All cooking and snacking that we do at camp is kosher. To keep our camp kosher, we ask that campers bring only vegetarian or pescatarian lunches and snacks. Great ideas for meat-free lunches include spaghetti, mac ‘n cheese, egg salad, and tuna sandwiches.
What does a typical day at Camp Gan Shalom look like for our Kehilla campers?
Our Kehilla day begins with an opening circle on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays where our counselors welcome our campers, make announcements, and lead songs. We then break up into our age groups: Bonim (“builders,” K–1st), Chotrim (“rowers,” 2nd–3rd), and Bogrim (“graduates” 4th–5th). During this time, counselors run activities geared towards each age. Next, campers head off to their heetmahoot, or specialty activity, which they choose for the week. We devote this block of time to learning a skill throughout the week. Heetmahoot options in the past have included dance, newspaper, soccer, basketball, cake decorating, and weaving. After heetmahoot, we come together for an all-camp activity, which may be a craft, a game, or even a tie-dying session. Next, we have lunch. Following lunch, it is time to change into our swimming gear and head to our water play area or local pool, if logistically feasible. When we return from swimming, we change back into our camp clothes and go to chuggim, or daily choice activities, such as lanyarding, dance improvisation, or rainstick-making. Campers may choose a new chug each day. Finally, we conclude our day with a closing circle. On Wednesdays, we go on day-long field trips. We have a unique schedule based on the week’s theme on Fridays. We end each Friday with a Shabbat program from 3:00–3:30 p.m., to which parents are invited.
What are heetmahoot and chuggim?
Heetmahoot means “specialization,” and chuggim means “classes.” Campers choose their Heetmahoot at Gan Shalom weekly, which may include basketball, soccer, weaving, painting, newspaper, dance, jewelry-making, pottery, and more! Chuggim are our afternoon electives. Each afternoon, campers choose which chug they want to attend. Unlike heetmahoot, which last all week, campers may choose a new chug every day!
Please note: This summer, we will adjust heetmahoot and chuggim as necessary to comply with our Covid-19 protocols.
Camp Gan Shalom includes swimming or water-based activities every day. Traditionally, we have taken our campers to local municipal pools. However, last year we provided alternative water sports activities, including Slip ‘N Slide, water balloons, water gun fights, kiddie pools, and even an inflatable water slide. This year, we plan to do a mix of both.
Where will the campers swim?
While at Location I, we will swim at the Pasadena High School pool. While at Location II, we will swim at Ganesha Pool in Pomona. Both facilities have large shallow areas in their pools and lifeguards on duty. Campers will not be permitted to swim in the pools’ deep areas until they pass a swimming test with the lifeguards.
What if my child does not know how to swim?
We always have campers who do not yet know how to swim. We swim at pools that have large areas that are sufficiently shallow that even our littlest campers can stand up. Our counselors are always in the water with the kids. They play games in the shallow end with our non-swimming campers so that everyone can have a blast in the pool, even if they never leave the steps.
What safety precautions are in place during swimming time?
Both pool facilities will have lifeguards on duty while we are there. Additionally, our counselors, all of whom are CPR certified, will always be in the pool with the kids.
Our Kehilla program includes a field trip each Wednesday. When we go on trips, we ask that our campers wear their lime green Camp Gan Shalom shirts so that we may easily identify them. We will provide these shirts to new campers at the end of their first day of camp. Our counselors will also wear their blue Camp Gan Shalom shirts on field trip days. Campers should bring a disposable sack lunch on field trip days so that they do not have to carry a lunch box or container all day. This summer, we may once again have to restrict our field trips to locations where we can isolate our campers from other people, depending upon what COVID-19 restrictions may be in force or recommended.
Where will this summer’s field trips be?
We are still exploring where this summer’s Kehilla field trips will be. Last year, we went to Amy’s Farm, Bolsa Chica State Beach, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, Duane R Harte Park, La Laguna de San Gabriel (the Dinosaur Playground at Vincent Lugo Park), Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, Regency Academy Cinemas – Pasadena, Santa Clarita Aquatic Center, and Splash! La Mirada Regional Aquatics Center.
Fridays at Camp
Each Friday, we transform our camp and transport our campers with special activities and festive decorations to another country, a magical fantasy world, or even to outer space. Our all-day Friday experiences are often the ones that past campers tell us have stuck with them well beyond the ends of their summers. For example, one Friday tradition has been having our campers make and braid individual challot from scratch! This is a highlight for many of our campers.
What are some examples of Friday themes?
Past Friday themes have included: Fun with Science, Wild, Wild West, Maccabiah (Color Wars), Inside Out, Oompa Loompa Day, Dr. Seuss Day, Toy Story, The Muppets, and Israel Week.
Will there be a Shabbat celebration?
Yes! We end our Friday activities with a Shabbat program from 3:00–3:30 p.m. Parents are welcomed and encouraged to attend! Our camp Shabbat typically includes music, stories, and occasional camper performances to conclude the camp week.
Bogrim (4th–5th Grade) Special Activities
As the oldest campers in our Kehilla program, our Bogrim campers have additional special activities. Our Bogrim campers go on a memorable extra field trip twice during the summer. These have included laser tag, mini-golf, and ice skating in previous years. Additionally, we will have one sleepover for Bogrim campers at each location (one in Pasadena and one in Pomona).
How does the Bogrim sleepover work?
We will have our unique, Bogrim campers-only sleepovers on Thursday nights during our third and seventh weeks of camp. After returning home from camp, showering, and eating dinner, our campers will return to camp to have an evening of fun with the counselors. We typically serve ice cream sundaes, watch movies, and play games. Finally, they settle into their sleeping bags to sleep in the social hall. It is a blast and something that our younger campers look forward to for years.
Our Manheegim (6th–8th Grade) Leadership Development Program
Every day, our Manheegim campers travel in their home-away-from-home van to engage in off-campus leadership development experiences. Our campers meet up at camp each morning and then leave for a full day of exciting adventures. One of the fun things about our Manheegim program is that the campers help plan and direct their trips. In the past, these have included indoor rock climbing, escape rooms, cleaning and enjoying the beach, a tour of Homeboy Industries, and more. Our Manheegim campers also help plan activities for our younger campers in the Kehilla program as part of their leadership development. In previous years, the Manheegim program’s culmination has been a 3-day camping trip for which the campers have done the planning, made itineraries and supply lists, and prepared the meals.
We have a fantastic staff of junior and senior counselors who dedicate their summer to providing the best camp experience for our kids. Many of our team were Camp Gan Shalom campers when they were kids and have returned because of their fond memories of camp. We carefully select our camp staff based upon their experiences working with children, specialized talents, and passion for camp. They are a fantastic group of people who give their all to provide our campers with a safe and memorable summer.
What training do counselors receive?
All staff members go through extensive training, including CPR and First Aid certification and instruction in child development.
How will we modify camp activities and schedules to adapt to this year’s ongoing challenges?
Our protocols are continuing to evolve in response to ever-changing pandemic conditions. As of 2/8/2022, our Covid-19 protocols will be as follows:
All staff and campers must be fully vaccinated for Covid-19 to work at or attend Camp Gan Shalom.
Staff and campers will be required to always wear appropriate face coverings, with some exceptions for eating, drinking, and water-based activities.
Staff and campers will be required to maintain a physical distance between individuals of six feet or more whenever possible.
Staff will be responsible for cleaning and disinfecting all surfaces and equipment after use.
There will be daily temperature and symptom screenings for all staff and campers.
Staff will be tested for Covid-19 once per week, if possible.
Staff and campers will be responsible for bringing their food, excepting special arrangements, and sharing will not be permitted.
Field trips will only be possible if we can expect an appropriate degree of social distancing in the vehicle(s) and at the field trip site.
All staff will be trained and educated about current best practices for preventing the spread of Covid-19.
All Camp Gan Shalom protocols will comply with the guidelines, requirements, and protocols issued by the California Department of Public Health, the Los Angeles County Health Department, and the City of Pasadena Health Department.
We will issue a final decision about whether to hold in-person programs by April 30th, 2022. We will base our decision upon two main factors: the guidelines, requirements, and protocols mentioned above, and a discussion among Gan Shalom senior staff (Roshei Eidah and Director) and the Jewish Federation’s Executive Director, Jason Moss, about our level of confidence in our ability to comply with those regulations and guidelines. If we must cancel any of our three in-person programs (Kehilla, Manheegim, and Counselors-in-Training), we will issue full refunds to all those affected.