Chabad Issaquah Summer Camp

Sail into a summer of fun, Photo by Chabad Issaquah

Spring is here, a sense of hope and optimism fills our hearts as the sun shines, and the flowers begin to bloom. But then we recall that spring is followed by summer and summer contains the time of year busy parents fear most – Summer Vacation.

Summer camps seem like the best option but can have their own set of challenges. Most of the camps in the area have weekly sessions. So, each week is basically a new camp. This is great if your kids like variety and constant change but may require some adjustment for others. Another challenge is the cost. Summer camps are expensive, most will cost hundreds of dollars per week. Multiply that by 2-3 kids and you end up with quite an expense.

Chabad of Issaquah Summer Camp, also known as Camp Gan Israel or Camp Gan Izzy, takes parents and the challenges they face when looking for a summer camp, very seriously. Chabad summer camp runs consecutively for over a month, with different activities and attractions every week. The water park is one of the highlights but there are other exciting activities like horseback riding, beach outings, hikes, and specialty activities galore: sports, arts and crafts, knitting, robotics, mad science, cooking and more.

And the cost of all this? Parents agree that Chabad camp is one of the most affordable camps in the Seattle area. Keren from Sammamish, mother of Ori (11) and Elli (7) says “Personally, I loved the camp’s price which didn’t require a mortgage… this is a great solution for a long summer. My girls really enjoyed the special homey atmosphere, the activities and of course being with all their friends. The camp has a rich schedule with tons of activities and yet, I was pleased to see flexibility as well, if the weather changed they took it into consideration and planed accordingly.”

Outdoors and nature and fun with lots of friends, Photo by Chabad Issaquah

Nechama Farkash, the camp’s director says: We try very hard to maintain reasonable and fair prices for the camp while loading it with quality activities. We felt that there was a need within the community of a meaningful summer program that can be available to anyone looking for Jewish values and activities.

Jewish activities, what does it mean exactly? It means that there is Kaballat Shabbat on Friday, and the kids bake a delicious Challah (which disappears on the way home), there are songs in Hebrew, and holiday or Jewish related arts and crafts like Hamsot, candle holders etc. I spoke with pleased Israeli parents that sent their kids to the camp last summer:

Lilach from Sammamish, mother of Yuval (10), Alon (8) and Noga (3) says: “Chabad camp accepts you as you are, no one will try to change you or your child. My kids came home happy and full of stories about their day. When the 4 weeks of camp ended, they wanted more. They enjoyed all the trips, the cooking workshops, the sports and the drama activities. I especially liked the fact that the camp is filled with activities that change every day, including water and lake activities.”

Everyone is welcome, Photo by Chabad Issaquah

The camps counselors are experienced teenagers, from New York, Canada or the area. Many of the counselors are already 18 or 20-year-old and have vast experience working in Jewish schools and pre-schools. Counselors are chosen by their “spirit” – their excitement and ability to spread the joy to the children. The last day of camp is known as the “day of tears”. Farewell is hard after a month of fun; phone numbers are exchanged and plans to reunite next summer are made.

Field trip and ferry ride! Photo by Chabad Issaquah

The camp is located in the green private grounds of Chabad of the Central Cascades in Issaquah. The place is surrounded by trees, nature trails and wild life. Nature is respected and celebrated every day with visits to nearby parks and lakes. This is the 13th year of operation for the camp. Today more than 100 children enjoy the camp every summer.

Efrat from Redmond, mother of Adi (10) and Maya (7) sums it up: “My daughters wanted to go to Chabad camp since their friends said it’s fun. I was skeptic at first and was not in a rush to enroll them. Today my daughters (and I) say this is the best camp ever! They really enjoyed the cozy atmosphere and the warmth of the staff. I was pleasantly surprised from the patience, acceptance and inclusiveness of the camp. Girls and boys are welcomed, and the Jewish activities are a nice addition. I recommend Chabad Summer Camp from the bottom of my heart!”

For more details, prices and the full schedule, check out Chabad Issaquah:

 

 

 

 

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