URJ Camp Kalsman Summer 2021 FAQs

We are excited to be planning for an in-person program for Summer 2021! 

The health and safety of our families has always been, and will remain our top priority as we work to open camp safely. Living with the new reality of COVID-19, elements of camp life will look different, but we are committed to delivering the same level of excellence in programming and camper care as we always have. 

Below are some FAQs to help you understand how we are planning for the summer ahead. We aim to be transparent with our decision making and will keep you posted as our plans evolve. 

Please read carefully for important updates on Registration & Payment InfoCredit Card Payments, COVID-19 Safety Precautions and Procedures, and Refund Policy


Registration & Payment Info 

What will the dates be for camp sessions this summer?  

You can find our session dates hereAfter taking guidance from our medical advisors and industry leaders we have made the decision to remove embedded session offering this year. After examining 17 various possibilities, speaking to parents and community leaders, and some complex modeling we arrived at this new session offering model. As in years past all grades will be welcome in all sessions. We believe this model provides the most flexibility to our families. 

Will Priority Registration be available for this summer?  

Yes! We encourage you to register as soon as you can to ensure that your child will have a spot in their desired session. Here are the important registration dates you need to know: 

  • October 28th, 2020 -Priority Registration opens for returning campers and their siblings, including those who were registered for Summer 2020. 
  • November 5th, 2020 -URJ Congregational Priority Registration opens to new camper families that are a member of a URJ Congregation. 
  • November 30th, 2020 - Anyone may register beginning this date. 

I chose to roll my 2020 tuition over to 2021. Will I still have to pay a new deposit upon enrollment?  

No. We are so grateful to those families who were able to roll over their paid tuition towards 2021 enrollment. As long as the amount rolled over is equal to or above the enrollment deposit ($200 per session), those funds will be counted as your 2021 deposit and you will not need to pay an additional deposit fee when you enroll. 

I donated a portion or all of my 2020 tuition to camp. Will I have to pay a new deposit upon enrollment?  

Thank you SO much for donating your tuition! Your contribution has helped Camp Kalsman survive the extremely difficult financial situation brought on by the pandemic. If you rolled over part of your tuition from 2020 and the amount you moved to 2021 camp registration is at least $200 per camper, then no additional deposit is necessary. If however you donated your entire amount paid, then it will be necessary to secure your child’s spot with a new deposit for 2021. 

Will 2021 tuition be markedly higher due to extra costs brought on by the pandemic?  

Every year the tuition at camp increases due to rising operating costs and ongoing improvements and upgrades to our program. 

While we do anticipate additional expenses related to COVID-19—including additional staffing, equipment, testing and more – we are proud to let you know that we are actively fundraising to cover the majority of these costs so that we won’t have to pass the full burden on to our families. Our goal is for there to be no additional increase between now and the summer. 

Will there be scholarship money available?
Yes! We strive to make camp affordable for all families. Please click here for more information about our camp scholarship program. We know the financial realities of COVID-19 have changed the financial picture for many families and we have been actively fundraising to support this. We are here for you, and we are expecting to hear from many families who will apply for scholarship for the first time for the 2021 summer, so please don’t hesitate to reach out.  

When will tuition be due?  

All the URJ camps, including Camp Kalsman, now have standardized payment and cancellation policies and schedules that have been created to ensure that families feel confident registering for camp. 

The payment schedule is as follows: 

  • 25% of tuition is due by January 24th, 2021 
  • An additional 50% of tuition (75% of tuition paid) is due by March 25th, 2021 
  • Final payment is due by April 24th, 2021 

If you plan on paying any part of tuition on a credit card, please refer to our NEW Credit Card Policy. Families that choose to pay by credit card will incur a non-refundable 2.75% credit card transaction surcharge. To avoid the surcharge, families may pay by e-check or debit card.

If you have any challenges with this payment schedule please be in touch with Heidi (hlove@urj.org) or David (dberkman@urj.org).  

What will the cancellation policy be for 2021?  

Below is our refund policy for cancellations that are not due to covid related reasons. Click here for cancellations that are due to covid related reasons.

  • Cancellation by March 25th, 2021– 100% of tuition is refundable except for the $200 per session administrative deposit.
  • Cancellation between March 25th and May 9th  – 75% of tuition is refundable except for the $200 per session administrative deposit.
  • Cancellation after May 9th – no refunds will be given unless stated below.
  • Camp reserves the right to refund any eligible refund in multiple installments as determined by Camp.
  • Full refunds will be given without penalty (including deposit):

--for campers on a “Waiting List” (those not able to be placed in their desired session at Camp) if at any time they choose to be removed from the list or are ultimately unable to be placed;
--if Camp is unable or elects not to open because of government regulations, orders, or guidelines;
--if Camp is required to cancel the session of a child with a pre-existing health condition;
--if Camp is unable to secure a rental facility;
--if Camp is unable or chooses not to open at their own discretion.

  • Refunds will not be made if Camper has attended any portion of the session at Camp. This covers all circumstances, including, but not limited to:

--Camper’s homesickness
--Camper’s refusal or inability to participate in the normal activities at Camp
--Camper’s violation of any rules, regulations, or policies at Camp for which Camper has been provided notice, and as described in “Camper’s Participation and Camp Program Expectations” section of the terms and conditions

  • Change of Session

--If Camp is required to make a change to Camper session prior to summer, Parent will be notified by Camp in writing. Camp will provide an opportunity at that time for Parent to cancel Camper session without penalty (including deposit). Parent will also be eligible for this change of session refund for all children in their household at Camp regardless if the sessions of the sibling(s) were not changed.
--A change to the Camper session is defined as one or more of the following: a change of camp geographic location, session dates, session cost, or session “Program” offering (this is for specialty camps only).

Should I purchase Travel Protection Insurance?  

Families are highly encouraged to sign-up for travel insurance in order to protect their investment and plan for the unexpected. You can purchase and pay for it as part of your Camp Kalsman online registration. Please see this page for policy details and cost: https://campkalsman.org/travel-insurance/. Please note, because this insurance is through a 3rd party,  credits rolled over from a previous summer do not apply to insurance purchase.

COVID-19 Safety Precautions and Procedures 

***Please click here for regular Summer 2021 COVID updates*** 

How will you make decisions about COVID-19 protocols?  

We are working with a team of medical experts, including infectious disease doctors, to guide our decisions and revamp our protocols and procedures. We are also working in close coordination with the American Camp Association and Foundation for Jewish Camp to gather learnings and insights from the field. One of the tools that we will be using are learnings from camps that ran and the American  Association - like this article here. We continue to closely monitor CDC guidelines. 

We know that the best practices surrounding COVID-19 are continually changing. We will remain responsive to ever-evolving local standards and protocols. 

We will be as transparent as possible about all COVID-19 safety protocols as they are developed and keep parents up to date as we determine new policies. 

Will camp look different next summer?  

Yes, while we are committed to delivering the same exceptional Kalsman experience you’ve come to expect from us, we can safely say that some elements of camp will look different. 

We will share updates on all of the changes as we finalize things, but some examples of what we are thinking about include (but are not limited to): 

  • Pre-camp testing and screening
  • Quarantine protocols
  • Travel to and from camp
  • Procedures for the dining hall
  • Procedures for the health center
  • Capacity and spacing
  • Limiting campers and adults coming and going from camp
  • Avoiding large group gatherings of campers during the first week of camp, and whenever necessary
  • Cleaning protocols
  • Medical staff
  • PPE

Will there be support for the mental health and social and emotional needs of campers and staff?  

We recognize that while a return to camp life is much anticipated and exciting, it also brings with its anxieties and concerns. Our campers and staff have lived anything but normal lives over the last several months. Some of whom may have suffered their own losses and adjustments to new family situations due to COVID. Changes to our camp program and routine will bring some unfamiliarity and adjustment. Our staff will be trained in supporting our campers and building community at this unusual time. Our top-notch Community Care Team made up of mental health care professionals, as well as our excellent Medical Team, will provide additional support to campers and staff. As always, we will communicate and partner with families as challenges arise. We know that the connection, routine, and support that camp life offers will be eagerly welcomed and is exceptionally important today for our campers and staff. 

Will campers go on trips outside of camp during Summer 2021?  

No. While the guidance on best practices for camps is constantly changing, one thing that was consistent with camps that ran successfully last summer was that all campers arrived and left on the same day.  Campers will need to stay at camp for the duration of their session. 


General FAQs 

Trying to decide whether Kalsman is right for your child? According to the American Camp Association, the best way to proceed with choosing a camp is: 

  • Involve your child in the selection process. Review your child’s preferences and let your child ask questions.
  • Review brochures, videos & websites with your child. (And, if you’ve found this page, you’ve already begun that process!)
  • Get answers to some key questions – which we’ve taken the liberty of giving you our answers below!
  • Speak to the Director or a camp representative – by phone, online, or when they come to your community.
  • Ask for references of families who have had their child attend the camp. Speaking with these families can give you valuable insight about the camp and the families that send their children there.

We’ve tried to respond many of the questions we are asked most frequently. If you have a question that is not covered below, please email us and we’ll get back to you with a response. (And, who knows, maybe your question will make the “frequent questions” page!) 


David Berkman comes to Camp Kalsman with a wealth of camping experience. A product of URJ Camps, David was selected as Camp Kalsman’s first director for his expertise in informal Jewish education, his management expertise, and his love of camping. Working within the URJ Camps system since 1997, he held Senior Assistant Director positions for URJ Camps in Texas and Pennsylvania before joining the national staff as the Associate Director of URJ Camping in 2005. He served with distinction as the project manager for Jacobs’ Ladder, a distribution center for hurricane relief supplies established by the Union for Reform Judaism near Jackson, MS that delivered more than 3 million pounds of supplies to those in need after Hurricane Katrina. 

A Colorado native who grew up in Texas, he holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas and a master’s degree in management from the University of Denver, Daniels College of Business. David is an avid scuba diver and loves to travel. David spent his first summer at camp when he was just 6 years old and hasn’t looked back since! 


Campers from across the Pacific Northwest - Oregon, British Columbia, Alaska, Montana, Idaho, and Washington - call Camp Kalsman home. We are committed to our six core values: friendship, kehilah kedoshah (sacred community), Reform Jewish identity, chesed (kindness), connection to Israel, and our relationship to teva (nature). Camp Kalsman’s 300 beautiful acres offer a great balance of education and recreation. We practice active Jewish education, which incorporates Judaism into many different activities. Our campers learn new skills and hone existing ones in athletic, aquatic, artistic, and nature programs. Camp Kalsman is the premiere Jewish camp in the Pacific Northwest. Join us for a summer of fun, friendships of a lifetime, and an unparalleled Jewish experience. We can’t wait to welcome you home this summer


A camper cabin sleeps 12-15 campers and 3 counselors in bunk beds. All top bunks are equipped with bed rails. Every camper is assigned a set of cubbies for storing personal items. Each cabin has a bathroom that has 3 sinks, 3 showers, and 3 toilets. Bunk assignments are made based on religious school grade and/or chronological age, geographic distribution, and social & emotional maturity. We will honor at least one mutually matching bunk request. 


Camp offers kids and parents the chance to develop a rarely practiced skill - letter writing. We strongly recommended that parents write to their campers at least every-other-day. A card, letter or e-letter through your CampInTouch account (instructions provided later), arriving regularly, does more for camper morale than anything else. If a camper receives no mail from a parent for five days, we will call home. The camp tries to ensure that campers write letters or postcards to their parents at least twice each week. It is a required activity. Your letters or cards from Camp may be short, but they will be regular.


Camp provides our children with a break from “the real world” in favor of the natural world. That is why we forbid campers to have mobile phones, pagers, portable televisions, etc. – these items may be part of the day-to-day life of your child, but they have no place at Camp. 

That does not mean camp is technology-free. We sometimes use videos and PowerPoint presentations to complement our programs, and we believe that music can provide a great soundtrack to camp life. 

Please see our electronics policyfor more information on the types of devices we allow and don't allow at camp. 


Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic we will not be taking campers on off-camp field trips this year. 


We don’t let a little bad weather get in the way of the fun at camp! Because we have such a wide-range of indoor facilities, we are able to keep our recreational activity program going rain or shine. And, for those activities that can only happen outside (like swimming), our counselors & specialists always have a “rain plan” – fun activities that can take the place of what campers are missing. 

If the weather gets extreme, we have detailed protocols in place to make sure all campers are kept safe until the weather passes. 


At Camp Kalsman, a great deal of pride is taken in the members of its staff, who provide a stable and caring home for campers all summer long. The staff is comprised of college students, graduate students, and professionals in various fields. Each year, we look for competent and energetic young adults to fill our staff positions. While many have grown up at Kalsman, others join us from across the country and around the world - all bringing their own special gifts to share. An extensive training program is provided at the start of the summer season and is ongoing throughout the summer. During the summer, staff are supervised and evaluated by members of our camp leadership team, all of whom have proven experience overseeing the work of staff members. Kalsman maintains a 1:5 staff-to-camper ratio. 


The health and welfare of our community will always be our top concern. All the URJ Camps are dedicated to providing safe and secure environments for our campers and staff. We work closely with law enforcement officials to make sure our safety standards and practices are the best they can be. During the summer, we maintain a 24-hour-a-day security presence. The health and welfare of our community will always be our top concern. 


We dress informally at Camp, and it is not necessary to buy new clothing for your child. Simple and modest clothing is the most appropriate. Girls usually wear T-shirts or blouses with casual shorts, pants or skirts, or sundresses. Boys usually wear T-shirts with shorts or pants. High-heeled shoes, designer clothes and expensive jewelry are neither necessary nor encouraged. We strongly discourage campers from wearing “inappropriate attire”: Clothes that are intentionally tight or revealing should be left at home. All clothing and personal belongings should be clearly marked with the camper’s full name. One of the most distinctive times at camp is our observance of Shabbat. In keeping with our tradition, we ask that our camp community dress in white tops, and either white or khaki bottoms for Friday evenings. After your camp registration has been processed, you will find detailed packing lists in the Forms & Documents section of your online camp account. 


During the course of the session, your child will have many opportunities to learn or develop new skills. In almost all cases, the camp supplies the necessary equipment and supplies to participate. In particular instances where your child is seeking mastery of an activity, he/she may desire his/her own special equipment; be selective, and remember that the Camp is not responsible for loss or damage of personal items. 


Camp Kalsman T-shirt will be provided to every camper. We will also be selling other Camp Kalsman merchandise online prior to the start of summer. Stay tuned for more info! 


Campers should have enough clothing with them to last at least 10 days. At least once every 10 days, cabins will have a scheduled laundry day. 


More information about opening day and closing day logistics will be available closer to your camper’s session dates. 


Parents are welcome to call the Camp during the summer to find out how their campers are doing. After we receive your call, your camper’s Unit Head or a member of the Director Staff will call you back, usually the same day. 


Parents and other visitors are not allowed to come to camp during the Camp sessions. 


Kalsman’s kid-friendly menu offers campers plenty to eat. Traditionally, almost all meals are served family-style in the dining hall, with bunks eating together at assigned tables (protocols are subject to change due to Covid). Breakfast includes a hot item, fresh fruit, and cereal. Lunch and dinner include a hot entrée, vegetables, salad, as well as dessert. Whenever meat is served, a vegetarian option is offered. We make accommodations for campers on special allergy- or health-related diets. Consistent with the policies of other URJ camps across North America, Camp Kalsman is a kosher-style facility. We do not serve pork or shellfish, or products containing them, and do not permit such products on camp grounds. Milk and meat dishes are not served at the same meal. 


No, we do not accept care packages for campers. This includes boxes of any size and large/oversized mailing envelopes. Camp will only accept letters up to a standard size envelope or a standard size greeting card envelope, or standard size postcards. No padded or oversized envelopes. Of course, we understand that sometimes sending items to camp will be necessary. If your camper has forgotten something important or needs something new (e.g. more sunscreen), please contact us at kalsmanpackages@urj.org before mailing the package. Please remember that this is for forgotten essentials only! Unless we know a package is coming, we will refuse to accept it at camp. 


It is our hope that every camper will remain healthy and fully able to participate in all aspects of camp life all summer long. Just in case, though, Camp Kalsman has a range of systems in place to manage health care issues that may arise. The Camp’s modern, well-equipped infirmary is staffed by medical professionals all summer long – usually a doctor and a nurse. We supervise the dispensing of medication four times a day. A medical form with comprehensive information will be all we need to take care of your child while at Camp. 


Birthdays that occur during the Camp session will be celebrated. This observance is not only a treat for the camper, but a lot of fun for everyone. Ever had a birthday party with 200 friends in attendance? Please do not send food of any kind for your child's birthday, as we will provide a delicious cake to celebrate his or her special day. 


Yes, the Union for Reform Judaism requires that all camp and travel program participants, staff and faculty must be immunized. For more information, read the URJ Policy Statement on Vaccine Status. 


Click here for our complete terms and conditions that parents must read and electronically sign during the online camp registration process.