Messages from Director

March 27, 2020

During this unprecedented time, supporting each other is our primary focus. We want you to know that the day you signed up for CYJ Midwest, you became part of our family, and being part of family means twelve months a year, through the good and bad, and through the years as your children grow into amazing Jewish global citizens. Today as family- we are reaching out to let you know that we are here for you. Please let us know if you need something, a friendly face on the other side of a Zoom call, someone to read a story to your child so you can just sit for a moment, or to feel part of the Midwest community as we all light Shabbat candles together. Whatever we can do from where we are, we want to help.

We have set up many activities for all ages for your children on our social media. We are working on activities kids can do alone, or even activities that you can do together as a family. We will make sure to send these out when they are available on our website.

In the coming days and weeks, we will be setting up different meetings for campers and staff, so while they might be stuck at home right now, camp can still be alive in hearts as they begin to connect with new and old friends.

While we all seem to be connecting virtually more than ever, we are asking, if you know of someone that needs help or hear of news about someone in our community, please email us. Don’t assume we know – tell us anyway to ensure we know. Our goal is to support our Midwest family in the best way we can.

Lastly, we know these are uncertain times and to help ease this anxiety, we have decided to stop all camp tuition payments for the next month until there is better clarity in our world. We don’t want to cause our families any added stress right now, and hope easing this small burden will help you sleep easier. With more time we will have better clarity of the situation and will communicate with you regarding camps plans. As of right now our plan is to run summer camp as long as it is safe and healthy to do so.

On a final and personal note, tonight the sun will go down and while there are many things I don’t know for sure, there are a few things I do know. The sun will set and I will light my Shabbat candles and think of all of you. The sun will rise the next day and hope will continue to live in my heart until I am able to welcome our campers back on opening day and hear their laughter. I know we will somehow get through this time because while physical distance might separate us, the spirit and love of camp remain intact and will help carry us until we meet again.

May we all have a restful Shabbat, stay safe and healthy-

Robin Anderson
Director, Camp Young Judaea Midwest


March 17, 2020

As I am in day 4 of social distancing, my family and I are feeling the strains as I am sure many of you are. As camp professionals, we are taught to look at every situation, stay calm and find solutions based on the information we have up to that minute. I wanted to share some thoughts that I have been thinking about through these past few days.

  • Give yourself a break. This is new to many of us and we are all doing our best having children at home (no matter what age), while many of us are working or volunteering.
  • Structure is key. At camp, we stick to a strict schedule of when we wake up, go to sleep, and don’t stray from meal times. Even if these are the only things that are structured during the day, it will help the children know what is coming up.
  • Get dressed every morning (and even shower). This helps children know that the day is starting. It also helps me to begin my work day even though I am only walking to my dining room table.
  • I love the idea of having kids pack their school lunches the night before. Then, when it is lunch time, everyone sits together with their packed lunches. At my kids’ school, they eat with their “mispachot (families)” once a week. We rarely eat lunch together at home during the week, so use this time to ask your children about their favorite camp tradition or what they are looking forward to for the summer. I know it will last about 5 minutes (if your house is like mine), so no huge expectations, except that we are sitting together as a family.
  • Stay connected with your friends and family. Set up a Zoom call for your children to call grandparents and cousins all together once or twice a week. Look for virtual programming from camp to keep connected to your CYJ family. We all need social interaction right now, so find a way for each child (and yourself) to connect with one person outside of your house each day.

As we continue to figure this out each day, please know that we are here and thinking about you. Emotions are running high and we want you to know that if you need to chat, we would love to hear from you.

Stay positive and remember we are all in this together,


March 13, 2020

Year-round, at Young Judaea Camps, the health and safety of our campers, staff, and extended camp family is our top priority. We know that the constantly changing news about COVID19 can be stressful for parents and children alike, and even though the summer is a world away, we want to keep you informed about actions we are taking to ensure your children have an enriching and safe Jewish experience at camp.

First, we are consulting with experts and following the guidance of leading authorities, including the American Camp Association, national and local public health services, the CDC, and others.

Second, with three months until camp opens, we remain busy planning a summer filled with all the usual excitement, adventure, fun, friendship, Israel, and Tikkun Olam that your children are expecting.

Camp is where we instill our next generation with joy, optimism, and dedication to their community. It is in that spirit that as of today, we feel certain that we will get through the summer sessions with healthy and happy children. We will keep you updated on our action plans as the situation evolves and we are committed to being available day and night to address your questions and concerns.

Shabbat Shalom,

Robin Anderson, Director
Brian Jaffee, Board President