Camp Gan Shalom
At Camp Gan Shalom, we do not just learn about Judaism—we live it! We are the summer day camp of the Jewish Federation of the greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys, serving entering Kindergarteners through entering 8th graders. Our diverse and unique programs include swimming and sports, Jewish-themed arts and crafts projects, cooking, field trips, and weekly Shabbat experiences.
Dates and Locations for Camp Gan Shalom programs
Location I: 5 weeks
Dates: June 15th – July 17th
Location: Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center (PJTC) in Pasadena
Location II: 3 weeks
Dates: July 20th – August 7th
Location: Temple Beth Israel (TBI) in Pomona
Online: 4 weeks
Dates: June 28th – July 23rd
Programs, Logistics, and Activities
Who can attend Camp Gan Shalom?
Our Kehilla program is for campers going into Kindergarten through 5th grade, and our Manheegim program is for campers going into 6th through 8th grades. Prospective campers who are going into 9th and 10th grades are invited to apply to be Counselors-in-Training.
When are the camp’s hours?
The regular camp day will run from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm for both our Kehilla and Manheegim programs. We will also offer extended care before and after regular camp hours for $12 per day or $50 per week, which will begin at 7:30 am and end at 6:00 pm. Gan Shalom @ Home will run from 9:30 am to 11:00 am or 11:30 am, with optional at-home activities to do throughout the week.
How much does camp cost?
Registration and billing for Kehilla and Manheegim are both by the week. The more weeks you register your child for, the lower the price per week! The standard price is $290 per child per week. If you sign your child up for 2–3 weeks, that price drops by $15 per week. At 4–5 weeks, the price drops by $30 per week. For the most significant savings, sign up for 6–8 weeks of camp and get a $45 per week discount! Note: our registration fees for the week of June 29th are decreased to reflect one fewer day of camp: $270 for Kehilla and $310 for Manheegim.
Will there be a shuttle to take campers from one location to another?
No. While we have offered shuttles between sites in previous years, it is not logistically feasible this year due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Is Camp Gan Shalom a kosher camp?
Yes. All cooking and snacking that we do at camp is kosher. To keep our camp kosher, we ask that campers only bring vegetarian or pescatarian lunches and snacks. Some great ideas for meat-free lunches include spaghetti, mac n cheese, egg salad, and tuna sandwiches.
What does a typical day at Camp Gan Shalom look like for our Kehilla campers?
On Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, our Kehilla day begins with opening circle, where our counselors welcome our campers, make announcements and lead songs. We then break up into our age groups: Bonim (K–1st), Chotrim (2nd–3rd), and Bogrim (4th–5th). During this time, counselors run activities geared toward each age. Next, campers head off to their heetmahoot, or specialty activity, which they choose for the week. We dedicate this block of time to learning a skill throughout the week. Heetmahoot options in the past have included dance, newspaper, soccer, basketball, cake decorating, and weaving. After heetmahoot, we come together for an all-camp activity, which may be a craft, a game, or even a tie-dying session. Next, we have lunch. After lunch, it is time to change for swimming and then head to the pool. When we return from swimming, we switch back into our camp clothes and go to chuggim, or daily choice activities, such as lanyarding, dance improvisation, or Rainstick-making. Campers may choose a new chug each day. Finally, we conclude our day with a closing circle. On Wednesdays, we go on day-long field trips. On Fridays, we have a unique schedule based upon the theme of the week. We end each Friday with a Shabbat program from 3:00–3:30 pm, which parents are invited to attend.
What are heetmahoot and chuggim?
Heetmahoot means “specialties,” and chuggim means “classes.” Heetmahoot at Gan Shalom are chosen weekly, and may include basketball, soccer, weaving, painting, newspaper, dance, jewelry making, pottery, and many more. Chuggim are our afternoon electives. Each afternoon, campers choose which chug they want to attend. Unlike heetmahoot, which last all week, campers may choose a new chug every day!
Please note: This summer, heetmahoot and chuggim will be adjusted to comply with our Covid-19 protocols.
Traditionally, Camp Gan Shalom includes swimming and water-based activities every day. While we hope to be able to offer those activities this coming summer, we may have to replace our traditional pool-time with a more Covid-appropriate option.
Where will the campers swim?
While at Location I, we will swim at the Pasadena High School pool. While at Location II, we will swim at Ganesha Pool in Pomona. Both facilities have large shallow areas in their pools and lifeguards on duty. Campers will not be allowed to swim in the pools’ deep areas until they pass a swimming test with the lifeguards.
What if my child does not know how to swim?
We have many campers who do not know how to swim yet. We swim at pools that have large shallow areas so that even our littlest campers can stand up. Our counselors are always in the water with the kids. They play games in the shallow end with our non-swimming campers so that everyone can have a blast in the pool, even if they never leave the steps.
What safety precautions are in place during swimming time?
Both pool facilities will have lifeguards on duty while we are there. Additionally, our counselors, who are CPR certified, will always be in the pool with the kids.
Our Kehilla program includes a field trip each Wednesday. When we go on trips, we ask that our campers wear their lime green Camp Gan Shalom shirts so that we can spot them easily. These shirts will be provided upon registration. Our counselors will also wear their blue Camp Gan Shalom shirts on field trip days. Campers should bring a disposable sack lunch on field trip days so that they do not have to carry a lunch box or container all day. This summer, as a Covid-19 security measure, our field trips will be restricted to locations where we can reasonably expect to isolate our campers from other people.
Where will this summer’s field trips be?
We are still exploring where this summer’s Kehilla field trips will be. In the past, we have gone to the California Science Center, Amy’s Farm, LACMA, Bolsa Chica Beach, Splash Kingdom Water Park, and the Santa Ana Zoo.
Fridays at Camp
Each Friday, our camp is transformed. Whether it becomes another country, a magical fantasy world, or even outer space, our campers are transported with special activities and festive decorations. Our all-day Friday experiences are often the ones that campers tell us stick with them well beyond the end of summer. One Friday tradition has been our campers making and braiding individual challahs from scratch! This is a highlight for many of our campers.
What will be this summer’s Friday themes?
This summer’s Friday themes have not yet been decided. However, past Friday themes have included: Fun with Science; Wild, Wild West; Maccabiah (Color Wars); Inside Out; Oompa Loompa Day; Dr. Seuss Day; and Toy Story.
Will there be a Shabbat celebration?
Yes! We end our Friday activities with a Shabbat program from 3:00–3:30 pm. Parents are welcome and encouraged to attend! Our camp Shabbat experience typically includes music, stories, and occasional camper performances to conclude the camp week.
Bogrim (4th–5th Grade) Special Activities
As the oldest campers in our Kehilla program, our Bogrim campers have some additional special activities. A few times throughout the summer, our Bogrim campers go on a memorable extra field trip. In the past, these have included laser tag, mini-golf, and ice skating. Additionally, we will have one sleepover for Bogrim campers at each of our locations (once in Pasadena and once in Pomona).
How does the Bogrim sleepover work?
During our third and seventh weeks of camp, we will have a unique, Bogrim camper-only sleepover on Thursday nights. After returning home from camp, showering, and eating dinner, our campers will return to camp to have an evening of fun with the counselors. We typically serve ice cream sundaes, watch a movie, and play games. It is a blast, and something that many of our younger campers look forward to for years.
Our Manheegim (6th–8th Grade) Leadership Development Program
Every day, our Manheegim campers travel in their home-away-from-home van to engage in off-campus leadership development experiences. Each morning, our campers meet up at camp, and then leave for a full day of exciting adventures. One of the fun things about our Manheegim program is that the campers help plan and direct their trips. In the past, these have included indoor rock climbing, escape rooms, cleaning and enjoying the beach, a tour of Homeboy Industries, and more. Our Manheegim campers also help plan activities for our younger campers in the Kehilla program as part of their leadership development. The Manheegim program’s culmination is a 3-day camping trip for which the campers do the planning, make itineraries, and supply lists, and prepare meals.
Who are our counselors?
We have a fantastic staff of Junior and Senior Counselors who dedicate their summer to providing the best camp experience for our kids. Many of our team were Camp Gan Shalom campers when they were kids and have returned because of the fond memories they have of camp. Our camp staff is carefully selected based upon their experiences working with children, their specialized talents, and their passion for camp. They are a fantastic group of people who give their all to provide our campers with a safe and memorable summer.
What training do counselors receive?
All staff members go through extensive training, including CPR and First Aid Certification and instruction in child development.
How will the camp activities and schedule be modified to adapt to this year’s unique challenges?
Our protocols are continuing to evolve in response to ever-changing pandemic conditions. That said, as of 02/11/2021, our Covid-19 protocols will be as follows:
All Camp Gan Shalom protocols will comply with the guidelines, requirements, and protocols issued by the California Department of Public Health, the Los Angeles County Health Department, and the City of Pasadena Health Department.
We will issue a final decision about whether to hold in-person programs by April 30th, 2021. We will base our decision upon two main factors: the guidelines, requirements, and protocols mentioned above, and a discussion among Gan Shalom senior staff (Roshei Eidah and Director) and the Jewish Federation’s Executive Director, Jason Moss, about our level of confidence in our ability to comply with those regulations and guidelines. If we must cancel any of our three in-person programs (Kehilla, Manheegim, and Counselors-in-Training), we will issue full refunds to all those affected.