What does “Shelanu” mean?
It means “our”, so Camp Shelanu is “Our Camp”! It’s pronounced “Shel-AH-noo.”
What are your hours? Regular camp drop off is 8:30-8:45, and pick up is 3:30-3:45. Before care and after care run 8:00-5:30 (additional fees).
How large is the camp? How big are groups? Camp Shelanu has 120-150 campers per week except during Last Blast, which is much smaller. Traditional Campers are divided into co-ed groups by grade level: rising kindergarten and first grade together, rising 2nd-3rd together, rising 4th-5th together, and rising 6th-8th together (Camp Sabra). Specialty Groups are the grade ranges specified for that camp. Groups are generally 10-18 campers with 2 or more staff.
My child is not Jewish. Will he/she be comfortable? Camp Shelanu welcomes campers of all religious and cultural backgrounds. While there is no religious instruction or theology discussed at camp, there are activities related to Jewish traditions, holidays, culture, and Hebrew language. Some examples are cooking traditional Jewish foods, taking an imaginary trip to Israel, and saying prayers over candles, grape juice, and bread on Friday afternoons for Shabbat (the Sabbath). We make efforts to make campers feel comfortable by explaining any Jewish cultural aspects or Hebrew words that are used, and we never require campers to do participate in activities they are not comfortable with.
What are the camper to counselor ratios? We never exceed 9 campers to one counselor, and often have lower ratios.
How old does my camper need to be to attend camp? Campers must be entering kindergarten and turn 5 by July 1. Grade levels for various specialty camps refer to rising grade.
What are the facilities like? Camp Shelanu is held on site at the Levin JCC, which features a lap pool with diving board and a zero-entry family fun pool with a looping water slide. The Levin JCC also has a full sized gym, dance studio, and art and music classrooms. Additionally, Camp Shelanu makes use of the playground, field, and some indoor space at our neighbor, the Lerner School.
What are pick up and drop off like? During drop off (8:30-8:45 am) and pick up (3:15-3:30 pm), we have a carpool line. Parents should stay in the car and staff will come and walk campers to or from the car. Before care drop off (8:00 am) and After care pick up (5;30 pm) do not have a carpool line. Please note, if you are late picking up your child you may be charged a fee.
Do you provide lunch or snacks? Campers bring their own lunch and two snacks. Please look over the family handbook for food guidelines. Lunches are not refrigerated or heated, but are kept inside air conditioning.
What if my child has food allergies, dietary restrictions, or keeps kosher? Please make sure the Camp Manger is aware of these concerns in advance. While campers bring their own food and we enact a no sharing policy, we periodically provide a special snack or cook and eat something as part of a cooking activity. The Camp Manager can work with you on solutions. For example, campers with gluten intolerance may bring a special treat to eat instead of challah (braided bread) on Friday afternoons, or campers with peanut allergies may be seated at a table without anyone with nuts. We are not a nut-free facility. While all food brought in or provided is in accordance with the Levin JCC’s kashrut policy, it may not match some families’ kashrut practices. Contact the Camp Manager to discuss.
What is the swim test like? What are the swim levels? As with the Levin JCC pool in general, all campers must wear a colored band at all times in the pool and on the pool deck. Aquatics policies can be found here.
Red bands are non-swimmers and must stay in the family pool. Yellow bands must be able to jump in and swim the width of the lap pool without goggles, and may go in the shallow end of the lap pool and down the slide. Green bands must be able to jump in the deep end, tread water for 60 seconds, and swim the length of the lap pool without goggles, and may go in the deep end of the lap pool and off the diving board.
Campers need to swim checkonce per summer at Camp Shelanu or at Levin JCC pool as a member (last summer’s test does not count, nor does a test at another pool.)
What do the campers do if it’s raining or excessively hot? On most days, campers have indoor and outdoor activities. If it is excessively hot or raining, outdoor activities will be replaced with indoor activities. For example, soccer or free time pay take place in the gym instead of on the playground and field. Campers may swim in light rain, but will not swim if there has been lightning or thunder.
What should my camper bring? In general, traditional campers should bring a bathing suit and towel – most campers swim in the afternoon, but may wear their bathing suit under clothes if they like. Closed-toed shoes are required daily – flip flops are only permitted to walk down to the pool deck. Campers should also bring sunscreen, water bottle, lunch, and two snacks. You will receive an email the week before any camp session with any special instructions for what to bring (e.g., household item for a craft project, special clothing for a specialty camp).
What are before and after care like? Before care and after care are less structured than the camp day. Campers typically have free play with games, friendship bracelet string, toys, books, etc.
How is Last Blast different from regular camp? Last Blast has a more relaxed pace than the regular camp season. There is free swim rather than instruction swim. Some of the specialties no longer take place, and we watch a movie or two. Some of our camp staff change during these weeks. Last Blast is similar to our School’s Out Camps that take place during the school year, and are much smaller than camps June 11-August 10. All activities take place at the JCC.
Who will be taking care of my camper? Camp Shelanu staff are chosen on the basis of enthusiasm, experience with and love for children, maturity, and leadership. Staff in specific skill based areas are provided special training and come with additional experience. All applicants require references, an interview, and a criminal background check. Staff receive training in programming, behavior management, safety and supervision, and sexual abuse prevention.
How do I contact the camp in the summer? If you have an urgent issue and need to reach you camper or camp staff during the day, please call or text the Manager on Duty phone: 919-265-9612 . So that staff can focus on campers, please contact the MOD phone for urgent issues only.
If you have a general question or need to change a registration, contact camp staff at 919-354-4975 or email@example.com.
For specific questions about your camper’s experience, contact Camp Manager, Jillian Lea, at 919-354-4948 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What if my camper is injured or ill? For minor injuries, camp staff may administer first aid (ice pack, band aid, etc) and let you know at the end of the day. If your camper becomes ill, we will call you to come pick him or her up. Camp staff are trained in CPR and First Aid.
What should I do if we’re arriving late or leaving?
Please come inside the JCC to the Welcome Desk. Staff there can reach Camp Manager by walkie-talkie.
Does Camp Shelanu offer opportunities to meet the staff and receive information in person? You may call us anytime to arrange to come and tour the facility and meet the Camp Manager.
Do you have a special program for teens? The Leaders in Training (LIT) program for rising 9th and 10th graders features leadership training, activity programming experience, and team-building exercises designed to empower teens to effectively lead on youth group boards, in classrooms at religious schools, at Camp Shelanu, and in other roles around the Jewish and non-Jewish communities. Our Counselor-in-Training (CIT) program is reserved for LIT program graduates. For more information and to apply, click here.
Can I work at Camp Shelanu? We are looking for mature, responsible, energetic individuals from all backgrounds to apply to be staff at Camp Shelanu. Rising 11th and 12th graders may apply to be Junior Counselors and rising and returning college students may apply as Senior Counselors. We may also be looking for part time specialists in art, music, dance, cooking, etc. Click here for more information and to apply.
Registration and Payment
Can you register anytime? Any registration made less than 7 days before the start of a camp session is subject to a $15 Late Registration Fee.
Can you switch from one camp week (Session) to another? Any change in registration is subject to availability. If you switch to a session with a different price, you will be charged the higher of the two fees. To switch a session, email email@example.com.
When are payments due? Full payment is generally due at the time of registration. Contact Camp Manager to inquire about payment plans.
Do you do refunds? We issue refunds, minus a $50 fee per camper per session, up to 7 days before the first day of a session. Please submit your request in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. Refunds will not be given for missed days due to illness. For campers in our Inclusion Program, we will issue refunds with no fee if your camper enrolls in Extended School Year programs for weeks you have already registered for camp.
Do you have financial assistance? Camp Shelanu strives to serve the entire community. Scholarship funds are available based on demonstrated need and awarded through a confidential process. We have three kids of scholarships:
- Need Based: We award partial scholarships on a sliding scale while funds last – click here to download a Scholarship Application.
Scholarships are made possible through donations. Please consider making a contribution to the scholarship fund.
Are there other fees for t-shirts, field trips, etc? No, all costs are included in camp tuition, including field trip admission costs and one Camp Shelanu t-shirt.
When are Health and Emergency Contact, Media Release, and Field Trip Permission forms due? Please complete the Health Form, which includes the Media Release and Behavior Agreements, by May 25th to ensure that we are able to support your camper to the best of our ability. Field Trip permission slips will be distributed the week before and should be turned in on the Monday of the week during which the field trip will take place. If you haven’t received a permission slip, please contact email@example.com.
Does my camper need a physical to attend camp? The health form asks that parent/guardian sign off that campers have had a physical in the last year and are in good health to participate in all activities at camp. However, the health form does not need to be signed by a physician.
If I had a health Form from last year’s camp, can I use it? No, you must submit a new health form this year. The 2018 Health Form is online here.
What is your EIN/Tax ID number? 58-1384316
A Typical Day
At 8:00, Early Care campers arrive and play cards or shoot some hoops. Between 8:30 and 8:45, the rest of the campers arrive on the side patio and are greeted by smiling counselors! We start our day with the Camp Shelanu song and the Hebrew word-of-the-day before campers head off to their first activity.
Specialty Camp campers dive right in to their focus, like trying out aerial dance in Circus Camp, or learning how to build beam bridges in Lego Engineering Camp. For traditional camp, groups disperse into various activities, like tie-dying a shirt in arts and crafts, making strawberry jam in Cooking, or taking a nature hike on the trails in Duke Forest.
By now, everyone is ready for lunch time! After lunch is free time in the gym or on the playground.
In the afternoon, there is time for another activity, like soccer or music, before swimming. Some campers will have swim lessons and some just free swim, depending swimming ability level. Maybe today is the day to take the yellow band test to be able to go down the slide!
After swimming, second snack and some songs and games round out the day until pick up at 3:30. After care campers play games, make friendship bracelets, or read stories. Can’t wait to come back tomorrow!
Our oldest campers enjoy Camp Shelanu activities and facilities with more independence and choices. Activities include:
- Daily swimming in our two pools with diving board and swirly slide
- Nature and time on our teambuilding challenge course
- Arts, sports, and music
- Electives and community service projects
- Partnering with younger campers and helping to lead all-camp activities
Weeks 2-4 and 6 include field trips. This year, we’re going to:
Week 2, June 20th: California Pizza Kitchen, tour of kitchen and pizza-making lesson
Week 3, June 28th: Triangle Sportsplex, ice-skating and swimming
Week 4, July 5th: Falls Lake, paddle-boarding and kayaking trip
Week 5, July 12: Overnight stay at the JCC with swimming, movies, pizza and more!
Week 6, July 19: Wheels Fun Park, roller skating
Grades: Rising 6th-8th – campers do not need to be Jewish or be a JCC member to attend
Dates: Five 1-week sessions, June 18-July 20
Still have questions? Contact us at Camp@levinjcc.org or 919-354-4938
Applications for 2018 Inclusion Program are now closed. To be placed on a waitlist or for more information, please click here.
Applicants: We will return decisions no later than Feb 16, after which you will have 2 weeks to enroll with a deposit. We are saving spaces in camps for families waiting on inclusion decisions. Please wait to register until you hear from us, and you will not lose a space in the meantime.
To be put on an email list to receive updates about the application process, click here. If you are not sure if your camper would be considered part of the inclusion program, please contact us.
The inclusion program is not a separate camp or group and there is no extra fee. Instead, the program is a way to coordinate any extra support or accommodations campers need within their camp or group.
How Do I Apply?
- Timeline for 2018:
- January 3- Applications open for new and returning campers (online application will be found here)
- January 30- Applications due for new and returning campers
- February 16 – Decisions returned and you may register for the weeks we are able to accommodate
- The application asks for demographic information, information about your camper, a Professional Questionnaire to be filled out by a teacher, therapist, etc, and requests for which camps and week you would like to attend. We will make every effort to accommodate as many campers as possible for as many weeks as possible within our capacity to serve campers safely and effectively. Returning campers will be given priority, and space is limited.
- Financial aid is also available on a need-basis. Click here for more information.
Still have questions?
- We are happy to talk with you! Contact Director of Engagement Madeline Seltman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-354-4938.
What Are Families Saying?
- “Having a successful inclusion experience for our son also makes us, as a family, feel like we are included in the larger community.”
- “My child also progressed as the weeks went on and clearly benefitted from spending more time with his normal tracking peers.”
- “My son’s success at camp this summer has been due largely to the incredible attention everyone at the JCC paid to ensuring his inclusion in every activity… we know that everyone at Camp Shelanu wanted him to succeed, to grow, and to have fun.”
- “We have had a tough time finding a camp that would be able to meet his needs. I couldn’t imagine I would be lucky enough to find a camp that would meet my older son’s needs and be a great experience for his younger brother too.”
- “We can’t thank you enough for opening your hearts and doing the hard work necessary to include kids like mine and all the other children with ASD and other special needs in your camp. We can’t thank you enough for the fantastic inclusive camp experience!”
How Can I Help?
- Click here to donate, or contact Director of Engagement Madeline Seltman at email@example.com or 919-354-4938 for information on corporate sponsorship or other ways to get involved.
For more information about BRIDGES, the JCC’s initiative for people with special needs, click here.