Jewish Family Camp

The Jewish Family Camp initiative will provide overnight camps with financial and programmatic support to launch and/or expand their Family Camp offerings to provide meaningful and exciting Jewish experiences for families.  Participating camps will be required to offer a minimum of three new and different Family Camp weekends (or holidays) per year for up to five-years.  Similar to the Specialty Camp Incubator model, FJC will provide a variety of resources including training, capital funding, staff capacity funding and family subsidies (with a reduction over the next five years, with the goal that camps will be able to sustain these Family Camps beyond the initial funding).

This pilot program is designed for camps that are interested in reaching families beyond their current camp and alumni families, invested in creating more touch points to expose new and different constituents to their camps, and enthusiastic about Jewish overnight camping.  This Family Camp pilot is primarily intended to reach families:

  • That are only minimally or moderately engaged in Jewish life;
  • That have some degree of connectivity with a Jewish program or institution (e.g., some connection to an affinity group or organization, episodic engagement in Jewish activities such as prior participation in a trip to Israel, parents who send their children to a Jewish early childhood center, etc.); and
  • In which at least one parent or guardian identifies as Jewish.

Each Family Camp will be planned in partnership with area organizations that work with these target populations.  Partner organizations will lead recruitment efforts with support from the participating camp.

Camps should each be able to commit sufficient time to planning and running at least three new family camp weekends per year, while working with partner organizations to engage families with young children who are not already in their camp community.  Camps must have (i) facilities that are appropriate for families (or could be made suitable with minimal capital upgrades); (ii) a viable financial plan for sustainability (or a path to it); and (iii) facilities that can be used effectively in either shoulder-seasons or year-round.

Click here to apply

Click here for a PDF of the application

How many families must my camp be able to accommodate?

FJC recognizes that each camp is different, and will work with camps to set realistic and appropriate goals.  Camps will be expected to balance the camp’s physical capacity, desired size for community building, and budget—working towards program sustainability after funding ends.

In Year 1, however, camps will be expected to target approximately 20 families per Family Camp.  Each camp will be expected to increase enrollment each year, with a goal of approximately 40 families by Year 3 or 4 and the potential for further growth in subsequent years.

How will camp recruit families to participate?

This pilot is structured so that for each Family Camp, the camp will partner with a local organization (or a national organization acting locally) that already serves and has relationships with these targeted populations (inter-faith families, under-engaged, etc.).  The partner organization will be responsible for recruiting families.

Current camp families and/or alumni families are not prohibited from attending, but they are not the target audience and should comprise no more than 10% of the attendees at any Family Camp.

How are camps expected to find “Partners” in putting on these camps?

There are many national and local organizations who serve the targeted populations. FJC has been in touch with several national organizations that have expressed interest in family camping and have local connections.  However, you know your communities best!  If there are organizations your camp would like to work with, feel free to be in touch with them to gauge interest.  Acceptance into the pilot program is not contingent on having partners lined up.  FJC will also help to match camps with suitable partners as part of the training and coaching.  All partnerships must be approved by FJC.

Please note: FJC has been in touch with a number of national organizations (such as Honeymoon Israel, PJ Library, 18Doors and Keshet) about potential partnerships – please don’t hesitate to be in touch if you’d like to discuss some potential options for partners.

Who is eligible to attend a Family Camp?

A family must include at least one adult who identifies as Jewish and at least one child under 8 years old (older siblings are welcome). Adults must be the parent or legal guardian of the child(ren).

What kind of staffing will camps need to execute this program?

Part of the grant provides matching funding for staff capacity to ensure camps have the appropriate staff to manage and execute the program.  Camps will need to designate a “director” of the Family Camp, who will bear primary responsibility for, and be present at, the three Family Camps each year.  This person is expected to manage the partnerships, operations, and oversight of the program.  Additionally, each Family Camp weekend is expected to have a Jewish educator and song leader (however, if one person can serve more than one of these functions, that’s great too). Lastly, camp must staff each weekend as appropriate to deliver a quality program (kitchen staff, maintenance, counselors, program staff, babysitters, etc.).

What are the grant award details?

Up to $265,000* may be directed to each camp (over 15 Family Camp weekends in a five-year period), comprised of:

  • Capital
  • Staff Capacity
  • Scholarships/Subsidies for participating families
  • Training

A breakdown of funding and related program pieces follows:

1) Capital Improvement Grants: Up to $50,000 in Matching Grants

  • In the initial application, camps should give a sense of capacity needs, including but not limited to cabin dividers to create private spaces, queen mattresses, pack ‘n plays and/or high chairs, renovations of winterized spaces, etc.
  • A full request for matching funds will be required once camps have been accepted into the Family Camp initiative.

2) Staff Capacity: $65,000 total over four years

  • Hire a part time Family Camp coordinator as a standalone role or combined with other responsibilities:
    • This position will work on planning, recruitment, program design/schedule, and facilitating the Family Camp as well as developing relationships with partner organizations.
  • Camps will be required to increase their share of this salary each year.

3) Scholarship/Camp Subsidies: Up to $150,000 total over/up to five years

  • Up to $24,000 in year one (i.e., up to $8,000 per weekend for three Family Camp Weekends)
  • FJC will work with each camp to navigate pricing.
    • Final scholarship spending will be determined in conjunction with FJC
    • The amount will be directly correlated with the number of families recruited
    • The expectation is that subsidies will be reduced each year, as camps are able to charge more and eventually operate without material outside philanthropic subsidies. We currently expect that camp subsidies/scholarships will be reserved for new families, and will generally not be used to defray costs for returning families.

4) FJC Training

  • Two in-person trainings per year plus online trainings, coaching, and mentoring each year for three years.

5) Program Revenue

  • Part of the application, training, and support process will include the development and refinement of an efficient pricing model for the Family Camps. Family Camp tuition is expected to be an increasing percentage of the Family Camps’ budgets.

Camps will be required to report to FJC each year of the five-year program.

What are the camp requirements to participate in this initiative?
  • The appropriate representative from each camp will be required to attend all FJC trainings – a total of two in person and two to three virtual trainings each year for three years (the same person will not necessarily attend each training).
  • Capacity to expand to more families per weekend (and potentially more weekends per year as the demand for weekends increase).
  • “Pitch-Free Zone” – there will be no direct promotion of your “traditional” overnight summer camp before, during, or immediately after the weekend (though you will be permitted to ask participants to sign up to receive additional information on summer camp programs, and camps are encouraged to keep in touch with families with exciting and appropriate programs and opportunities).
  • Ability to accommodate families with young children (defined as children 0-8 years old). Older siblings are welcome!
  • Commitment to co-develop each Family Camp weekend with a partner organization, including the weekend camp schedule and pre-and-post camp engagement.

Each camp will have the opportunity to set its own pricing, and work towards being self-sustaining (or nearly so) by Year 5.  Pricing will be determined in conjunction with FJC.  Some additional resources may also be available beyond Year 5.

What are the outcomes and expectations for participating camps?
  • Each camp will offer a minimum of three Family Camps per year. Camps are encouraged to plan additional Family Camps over the course of the initiative.  The current model does not anticipate subsidies beyond the three Family Camps.  However, additional weekends/opportunities will be supported through FJC trainings, coaching, infrastructure support, etc.
  • Each Family Camp will serve a minimum of 20 families in Year 1 with the expectation of capacity growth per weekend over the course of the five years, with the eventual goal to become financially viable (break-even or net positive). Specifically, camps should expect to grow to 30+ families in Year 2, and 40+ families in Year 3.  Camps should strive for 50+ families in Year 4 and 60 families in Year 5 (if capacity permits and if the camp believes it can achieve the desired community-building goals and financial viability at that size).
  • Each family camp weekend will be hosted in partnership with an organization/s that targets an underserved Jewish population.
  • Each Family Camp will have deep Jewish educational content that is appropriate and geared towards the populations/communities being served. Jewish content and programs will be planned with FJC’s support and in conjunction with the partner organization, and will meet standards and criteria outlined by FJC.
  • Each Family Camp must take place over Shabbat or a Jewish holiday, must last a minimum of two nights, and must have a Jewish educator designated as educator-in-residence for planning and executing the Family Camp weekend. Each camp will also have to commit to certain Jewish programmatic elements as part of the initiative.  See below for more details.
  • Camps participating in this program will brand each of the supported Family Camps with a master “JFam” brand and logo, with each camp and partner organization featured alongside it, per the parameters to be set forth by FJC.
  • Camps must participate in a Family Camp evaluation protocol to be developed by FJC in consultation with the pilot camps.
Are there Family Camp “weekend” requirements?

Yes.  Each Family Camp will be expected to include:

  • Shabbat/holiday traditions, including an infusion of Jewish values woven into the weekend, with curricular support from FJC.
  • A Jewish educator must be present at each camp and must reflect a practice of Judaism authentic to both the camp and the applicable partner organization(s).
  • The educator(s) will be expected to facilitate meaningful Jewish learning and experiences with families throughout the weekend. This includes programming for families, for children alone, and for adults alone.
  • A song leader (or comparable role) must be on staff for the Family Camp, tasked with infusing the weekend with song, music, and/or prayer experiences. Please note that the song leader may also serve as the family camp educator, if appropriate. If “song leader” is their only role in the family camp, they may be among the families recruited for the Family Camp.
  • Opportunities for whole family experiential education, child-centered education, and adult-only education.
  • All weekends will include one or more signature “JFam” activities that will be developed by FJC in consultation with participating camps (e.g., a JFam Havdalah ceremony).
What is the process and timeline for the Family Camp pilot?
  • Please thoroughly review ALL of the following dates and details related to participation through the first year of the five-year cohort program. Additional timeline details will be released as applicable.


Questions? Please contact Justin Leath at