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Everything You Need to Know about Camp Kesher

Whether you’re a first-time camper or an old hand, you’ll find answers to most common questions about camp right here.

What should I bring to camp?   Here is the recommended Camp Kesher packing list.

How do I get to camp and what ferry should I take?   Here are the driving directions. Give yourself plenty of Driving and Ferry time to get to camp if you want time to unpack and settle into your cabin before camp starts. It is possible that you will not make the first ferry once you get to ferry terminal.  Camp is about 15-20 minutes away from the Vashon Island Ferry Terminal.    Ferry Map HERE.

You can find complete Washington State Ferry schedules here:

from Fauntleroy (West Seattle)
from Pt. Defiance/Tahlequah
from Southworth

What happens at camp?  There is so much to do: scholar sessions for the adults, a well-run camp program for kids, beautiful places to sit and relax or read or run. There are afternoon workshops offered by volunteer Kesher campers; in past years these have included challah braiding for kids, art projects for kids and/or adults, book discussions, team sports, a knitting circle, and the Kesher band. There are evening sing-alongs and games, and story-telling for the little ones. There are also Shabbat services – and what Jewish camp would be complete without havdalah under the stars?

How do you fit all that in?   Here is the 2017 schedule_example  – you can see there’s always something to do! The workshops are led by campers who volunteer to share their skills and interests, so they change from year to year.

Is there a curfew policy for teens?   There is programming for the teens each night until midnight, after which teens must go directly to their cabins. Parents are responsible for supervising their teens who do not wish to attend the evening programming.

What is ga-ga?   Ga-ga is an Israeli game, similar to dodgeball, played inside a small hexagonal enclosure. Long popular at Jewish camps, it has spread to secular camps all over the U.S. After years of bringing a portable ga-ga pit to Camp Kesher, we are thrilled that Camp Sealth recently built their own!

How’s the food?   The food is great. (We’re talking on a scale of camp food, so manage your expectations accordingly.) Menus are kosher-style, meaning there is no pork or shellfish, and we do not serve milk and meat at the same meal; however, the kitchen is not certified kosher. Meals are served family-style or buffet.  2017 Menu_Example

I’m a vegetarian / have food allergies. Will there be anything I can eat?   YES! Indicate your dietary restrictions on the registration form and we will work with the Camp Sealth kitchen staff to make sure there is food for you. There is an options cart at every meal that includes vegetarian, gluten-free, and other alternatives for those campers who have requested them in advance.

What goes on at night?   Every night after dinner, there are family group activities – Israeli dancing, a talent show, sing-a-long and a game night. For the teens, there is special teen programming. Lots of people bring Mah Jongg sets and other games and play at the tables in Rounds Hall (our dining room).

How are the cabins?   The cabins are basic but clean and functional– there are wood frame beds and bunks. Some cabins have windows, some screens. Most cabins are situated near a bathroom but very few have their own bathrooms. You will need to bring linens, sleeping bags, pillows and towels with you to camp. Different cabin areas have different configurations – most have eight to ten bunks; some are smaller. We do our best to match everyone’s needs with the cabins available.

Will I have to share a cabin with another family?   We will not assign families to share a cabin unless they request it. If there is another family with whom you would like to share, please mention that on your registration form. If you share, that means we can accommodate more families and have fewer people on the waiting list.

What about my teenagers?   The older teenagers at camp serve a very special function: they are the counselors for the Kids’ Camp and are paid a stipend. The 8th graders participate in a special program where they learn CPR and other “life” skills. During the evenings, there are special (fun!) teen programs run by our Teen Advisor.

What about services?   There are lovely outdoor (weather permitting) services, including a Friday evening service, a Saturday morning service and Havdalah under the stars. There are also Shacharit Services on Sunday and Monday morning, as well as a healing service. We have many Rabbis from our local congregations join us, providing a variety of service styles. There is a Saturday morning kids service as well. We also bring in song leaders to provide musical accompaniment at services and sing-a-longs.

What happens in the Kids Camp?   The kids are split up into grade-level groups with counselors and participate in many activities around beautiful Camp Sealth including music, games, canoeing and arts and crafts. For reference here is the Kids Camp Schedule from a previous year.