Mental, Emotional, Social, and Spiritual Health Best Practices at Camp

Type: Guide
Topics: Community Care

The Mental, Emotional, Social, and Spiritual Health Best Practices at Camp Guidebook is for camps looking to enhance their policies, procedures, and training in holistic ways.  

Camps are places where campers and staff come to be their truest self, grow, take healthy risks, and explore. In order for camp to be this place, it has to be a “safe” space for campers and staff – with up-to-date and comprehensive policies, procedures, and training in place to be these safe, supportive environments for all in the community. Mental, Emotional, Social, and Spiritual Health (MESSH) is central to this – directly impacting all aspects of camp, its daily operations and functionality. This resource provides some guidance on best practices to address MESSH challenges in a camp environment for helping better support campers and staff, proactively prepare for challenges and crises, and create a thriving and vibrant community. 

This resource is made possible by a partnership between Foundation for Jewish Camp and the BBYO Center for Adolescent Wellness (BBYO CAW) through the Yedid Nefesh initiative, generously supported by The Marcus Foundation. 

What is this about?  

The Mental, Emotional, Social, and Spiritual Health Best Practices at Camp Guidebook was created to help camps enhance their policies, procedures, and training to better support their campers and staff. Camps will be able to build a framework for responding to issues and proactively prepare to handle and address challenges. 

The Guidebook is intended to help camp leadership:  

  • Analyze current practices 
  • Proactively plan for challenges and better manage MESSH needs at camp 
  • Explore best practices for supporting MESSH at camp 
  • Create effective policies to effectively deal with MESSH challenges 
  • Bridge policy and training to better prepare staff to support campers 
  • Build systems of support for campers and staff 
  • Create a healthy and safe camp environment 

The Guidebook can help camps at all levels address MESSH challenges. Download the entire thing or skip to the chapter where you need the most help and support. 

The Wellness Assessment Tool 

This guidebook was created as an accompaniment to the Camp Wellness Assessment tool. Camps interested in the comprehensive Wellness Assessment can reach out to the BBYO CAW to inquire. 

Call for resources 

We are building a resource bank of sample policies, procedures, and trainings by camps for camps. Think you have a policy or training that other camps would benefit from replicating or adapting? Click here to submit it along with your information to have it reviewed to be included in the resource bank (and please indicate whether you’d like your camps’ branding included on the shared documents or not). We appreciate your generosity to help the whole field of Jewish camp be safer, stronger, more supportive communities.