Any parent has the right to request the full camp policies on: background checks, healthcare, discipline, grievance procedures, and guidelines for the prevention and reporting of abuse and neglect. Please contact the JCA office to request a full copy of any of these policies.
Each day, campers have free swim in the Hampshire College pool. During swim time, Camp Shemesh is the ONLY group in the pool. We have 2-3 lifeguards on duty plus several counselors. On the first day of each session, campers perform a swim test to assess their safety and ability for which area of the pool they may swim in. We do our best to make the swim test relaxed and fun. Returning campers do not retest every session unless they want to.
Beginner swimmers who are at the Minnow level (see description below) or who choose not to take the swim test must have a United States Coast Guard (USCG) approved flotation device. They will not be permitted in the pool without one. You are welcome to leave your child’s life vest at camp for the entire session. If you know that your child will need one please send it with them on the first day otherwise they will not be permitted to swim that day. Read more info for non-swimmers and beginner swimmers
The full swim test consists of:
• Swimming four non-stop widths of the pool (any stroke, no resting or holding on to walls)
• Treading water for one minute
• Floating on back for 30 seconds
The swimmer levels, based upon how much of the full test a swimmer completes, are as follows:
Minnows – Are not yet able to swim two pool widths non-stop and tread water for one minute. May swim only in the shallow end and must wear a properly sized USCG approved floatation device (no exceptions).
Sunfish – Must be able to swim two pool widths non-stop and tread water for one minute. May swim only in the shallow end but do not need to wear a floatation device.
Dolphins – Must be able to swim four pool widths non-stop, tread water for one minute in the deep end and float on back for 30 seconds in the deep end. May swim anywhere in the pool and do not need a floatation device. (As Dolphins will be swimming in depths over their heads, it is important that they possess the ability to switch over from their front to their back should they experience difficulty while swimming. Being able to float on one’s back for a period of time allows a swimmer to maintain a clear airway while seeking assistance or resting before resuming their swim to the safety.)
What Will I Eat at Camp?
All campers are required to bring a non-refrigerated bag lunch, labeled with their name. When packing your camper’s lunch, please pack a dairy/pareve and nut-free lunch. Read below for more information about our food policy.
Camp Shemesh provides two snacks a day including a gluten-free option. See below for other allergy accommodations.
Camp Shemesh has a nut-free policy. We can provide snack alternatives for campers with mild to moderate allergies and sensitivities. If your child has severe or multiple allergies or is a particularly picky eater, it may be more suitable for your camper to bring their own snack, labeled with their name. Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss this.
At Camp Shemesh we follow the JCA Food Policy. All food at Camp Shemesh and on Camp Shemesh field-trips must be dairy/pareve and nut-free.
We realize that our families adhere to a variety of diets at home and that this form of kashrut may be different from what your child is used to. We approach this as an opportunity for students to learn about different styles of kashrut and Jewish identity.
The following documents need to be uploaded to your registration form or delivered to the JCA office by June 1. Access your registration form here
Immunization Report: Required for all campers (References: Required Vaccines, Menincococcal Disease: Commonly Asked Questions)
Medication Authorization and Emergency Action Plan Form: Optional form as needed
Scholarship Aid Form Optional form as needed
Please label everything your child brings to camp. Camp Shemesh is not responsible for lost or missing items.
Click here for a printable version of the Camp Shemesh packing list
Please send your child to camp with the following items in 2 separate bags:
Optional Items: A book, stuffed animal, small blanket or pillow for daily quiet time.
Do Not Bring:
• Cell phones, hand-held game devices, or other electronics
• Toy weapons (including those in Lego sets, etc.)
• Trading or role cards (i.e. Pokemon, Magic the Gathering)
If your child brings one of the above items to camp, the director will hold it until the end of the day.
Camper safety is of utmost importance to us and we appreciate your patience with our Drop-off/Pick-up protocol. A designated staff member is present to check campers in and out each morning and afternoon. Where is Camp Shemesh on the Hampshire Campus? View this map
When dropping off and picking up your camper, please accompany/meet them at the check-in/check-out area. Campers should not cross the driveway by themselves. While older campers may be perfectly capable of this, we ask that you walk them across the driveway to help role model for the younger children how to be safe in a busy traffic area.
Camp drop off is at 8:45 am, Monday through Friday. If your child will not be at camp due to illness or vacation, please notify the Camp Director via the camp cell phone: (413)345-5560. Please do not arrive at camp before 8:45 am as the staff uses pre-camp time to prepare for the day’s activities. All campers must be accompanied by an adult to check-in with the designated staff member each day.
Pick up is at 3:30 pm. Staff meet promptly after camp each day – please help us start our meetings on time by picking up your camper on time. Guardians who routinely pick up campers late will be charged a late fee of $1 per minute after 3:45 pm. Do not leave with your camper without officially checking them out.
One of our oldest camp traditions is Kabbalat Shabbat. On Friday afternoons from 2:30-3:30, family and friends are encouraged to join us for a special time when campers share their projects from the week and the camp comes together to say blessings over grape juice and challah baked by campers. Families may enjoy a slideshow of photos from the week, sing songs, hear stories, and more. Please arrive promptly at 2:30 pm on Fridays so you will not miss any of the excitement.
No child will be allowed to leave camp with someone other than a parent or guardian unless we have permission from the parent or guardian. If you choose to arrange transportation with anyone whom you did not list as an Authorized Driver on your registration form, you must notify the Camp Director. Please alert all parents, guardians, babysitters, neighbors and others picking up your camper that they may be asked to present a Photo ID to the staff member monitoring pick-up. We appreciate your cooperation.
Aftercare at Camp Shemesh is offered from 3:30-5:00 pm daily. A minimum of 6 kids is required each week. To sign up, please check the ‘Aftercare Options’ box on your camp registration form. You will be invoiced separately for the aftercare fee. Payment for aftercare will be due by July 1.
The above pick-up policy applies. Campers attending Aftercare must be picked up promptly by 5:00 pm.
First Aid and CPR certified staff are always present at camp. Should any issues arise with your camper, we will communicate with you personally. Camp Shemesh is affiliated with the Jewish Community of Amherst, not Hampshire College. Camp Shemesh must comply with the regulations of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and is licensed by the Board of Health.
Administration of Medication:
The staff will only dispense medications to campers if the medication is in the original bottle with its original label and is accompanied by a completed and signed medication authorization form. Parents are asked to bring only the amount of medicine necessary for one day. Any unused portion will be returned to the parent in the original container it came in. This includes aspirin, Tylenol, and antibiotics as well as other prescription and over-the-counter medications. All of these medications will be kept locked in the camp infirmary. For campers who have EpiPens or inhalers, designated staff will hold on to these medications so that immediate medication will be available if/when campers are not at camp’s home-base. Participants over the age of 12 may be permitted to carry EpiPens or inhalers with them in their own bags. All medications will be returned to campers’ parents at the end of each camp day with the exception of EpiPens and Inhalers which may be left at camp for the duration of the camper’s session/s. The health care supervisors on staff will be the only individuals with access to medications and will supervise medication administration and dosage.
Procedure For Care of Mildly Ill Campers:
• Camper will rest in an air conditioned and supervised quiet room for up to 30 minutes. Temperature will be taken to check for fever.
• If camper feels better and has no fever they will rejoin camp activities.
• If camper continues to feel ill and/or has a fever, a parent/guardian will be contacted to pick up the camper.
Procedures for Providing Emergency Health Care:
• If it is not a life threatening emergency, parents will be contacted first to determine what steps they would like to follow. This applies to things like cuts, sprains, and other injuries that might require medical attention but do not pose an immediate threat to the life and well being of the child.
• In case of a life threatening emergency- Ambulance/Emergency Respondents will be contacted immediately with directions to the location. Hampshire Police will be called (413-559-5424) when on Hampshire College Campus or 911 will be called when off-site.
Appropriate first aid and/or CPR will be provided
Camper’s Medical Forms will be pulled and
Parent/guardian or emergency contact will be notified
• If deemed necessary, the ambulance will bring the camper to Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Northampton, MA