Current Families

Camp Shemesh is now located at the JCA. Click to read more about why and how.

Before Camp
Packing List
During Camp

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.

Monday through Thursday campers will travel via PVTA to the Mill River Recreation Area. On Fridays we will stay at the JCA and enjoy water play.

All campers who wish to swim will participate in Mill River’s swim test, led by their lifeguard staff. Campers who do not pass or do not test will play in the wading pool. Flotation devices are not permitted.

The full swim test is administered by Mill River lifeguard staff. Click to view More info about the Mill River Swim Test & Swim Levels.


What Will I Eat at Camp?

Camp Lunches:
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 Snack:
Camp Shemesh provides two snacks a day including a gluten-free option. See below for other allergy accommodations.

Allergy Information:
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.

Kashrut Policy:
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

  1. Immunization Report: Required for all campers (References: Required Vaccines, Menincococcal Disease: Commonly Asked Questions)
  2. Medication Authorization and Emergency Action Plan Form: Required if your camper will have meds at camp
  3. Scholarship Aid Form: Optional form as needed
  4. Copy of IEP, 504 plan, and/or Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP): Strongly recommended if applicable

Packing List
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:

 Bag #1
Pool Bag: Small backpack easy to walk with
• Bathing suit
• Towel
• Wet shoes or sandals for pool area (optional)
• U.S. Coast Guard certified personal flotation device (required for Swim Level: Minnows)




Bag #2
Any kind of bag that will hang from a hook
Bag lunch review the Camp Shemesh food policy
• Sunblock (also apply sunblock before camp)
• Change of clothing
• Sun hat
• Sweatshirt/jacket
• Water bottle
• Bug repellant (non-deet, non-aerosol)
• Closed-toe shoes *Crocs are NOT acceptable. Keens or other sturdy closed-toe sandal are OK.
• Rain gear (every day even if it looks sunny in the morning)

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
• Candy
• 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.

When dropping off and picking up your camper, please accompany to/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 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 this 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 3-3:30, 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 songs, hear stories, and more. Please arrive promptly at 3 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.

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. 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 (please read our administration of medication policy). 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 medication will be immediately available if needed. 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 healthcare 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 a cool 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.
• Meanwhile:
Appropriate first aid and/or CPR will be provided
Camper’s Medical Forms will be pulled
Parent/guardian or emergency contact will be notified
• If deemed necessary, the ambulance will bring the camper to Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton.

Epi-Pens, Inhalers, and Insulin Protocols: A camper prescribed an epinephrine auto-injector or asthma inhaler for a known allergy or pre-existing medical condition or is under medical treatment for diabetes must provide the camp with authorization orders and emergency action plans from their physician  (to be included on your medication authorization form).

Action plans may include:

1. Camper self-administration and carrying an epinephrine auto-injector or inhaler or insulin with them at all times for the purposes of self-administration if:
a. The camper is capable of self-administration; and
b. The health care consultant and the camper’s parent/guardian have given written approval.

2. Camper receiving an epinephrine auto-injection, receiving medication through an inhaler, or receiving insulin by someone other than the healthcare consultant or person who may give injections within their scope of practice if:
a. The health care consultant and the camper’s parent/guardian have given written approval; and
b. The health care supervisor or employee has completed a training developed by the camp’s healthcare consultant in accordance with the requirements in 105 CMR 430.160.

3. Or, any other plan deemed appropriate by consultation between camper’s parents/guardians, camper’s physician, and trained camp staff.

Return to top of page