FAQs – Camp Experience

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 fee).

How large is the camp? How big are groups?
Camp Shelanu has 90-120 campers per week. 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.Lerner starburst

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.

Children's CampDo 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. The full swim test policy is available 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 test once 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.

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 the Welcome Desk at 919-354-4936. Staff there can reach Camp Manager at any time by walkie-talkie.  The Manager on Duty phone is 919-354-4975.  So that staff can focus on campers, please reserve this for urgent issues only.

If you have a question or comment that is not urgent, you can reach the Camp Manager by phone, email, or in person by appointment. Drop off and pick up are very busy times and you may not be able to speak with the Camp Manager at length at that time.

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 Leader-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.

FAQs – 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.

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 camp@levinjcc.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 – click here to download a Scholarship Application.
  • Children of Veterans: In a partnership with the Durham VA, we offer children of veterans one free week of camp, while funds last. For details, contact us at camp@levinjcc.org or 919-354-4948.

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?
All forms are due one week before the start of camp.

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.

What is your EIN/Tax ID number?