Camp Isaiah Frequently Asked Questions



I am a temple member, how does the credit towards membership work?
At the conclusion of camp, all campers who are Temple Isaiah members will have the number of registered weeks added up.  In August, a spreadsheet will be given to the accounting office with how much credit each family has earned towards temple membership.

What if I need to add early or late care last minute, how does that work?
Not a problem to add extended care, even last minute.  Parents can purchase an extended care package and use the hours as needed, or you can pay as the need arises.  All counselors are given medical release information, so should you need to add last minute, they will have all your camper’s documentation and permissions.

What if I am unable to pay for camp all at once, how can I split up the payments?
Spots in camp can only be held with payment, but if you would like to split up the payments, no problem.  Coordinate with Renee in the admin office to set up a payment plan. Be sure to fill out the camp registration form, know how much your total is, and she will be happy to work with you to pay in installments.

What if I want to add weeks or days to my campers’ schedule?
Awesome! We'd love to have you (as long as space is available.) Please fill out the Add-On form to communicate what you would like to add. The form will be updated if space is no longer available for the time you are requesting, and you will be unable to register for days/weeks that are already full. The form is set for the flat rate price and is able to take online payments. Weeks added to an existing schedule after camp has begun will not have the original payment adjusted to a new price bracket.

If I’m not a Temple Isaiah member right now, but might be after summer, do I qualify for the membership credit?
Yes, we will be sure to give you the credit earned should you choose to become a Temple Isaiah member (and we hope you do!)

Do the registered weeks have to be consecutive?
Nope, you get to choose which weeks you want to come, and they do not have to be consecutive.

The week of July 4 is a shortened week, how does that work?
Since we are always closed in observance of July 4, days are swapped accordingly for the 3-4 days schedule.  For those that register for the multiple 5-day schedule, the difference in pricing can be credited toward extended care, the overnight, canteen, or refunded.  The amount depends on how many weeks you are registered for considering we have weekly rates NOT daily rates.

Are there refunds?
Temple Isaiah understands that families might need to make changes in their child's camp schedule.  However, due to staffing contracts based on attendance, we have put in place the following policy regarding refunds.

  • Prior to May 1 – full refund (whether cancelling individual weeks or all camp weeks.)
  • After May 1 until the Friday before the first day of Camp Isaiah – 50% refund and based on the adjusted pricing schedule (whether cancelling individual weeks or all camp weeks.)
  • After the Friday before the first day of Camp Isaiah – NO REFUND.
  • Below the 2-week minimum requirement – Campers must register for a minimum of 2 weeks, if the 2nd week is canceled, no refund or credit will be allowed.
  • Camper illness, last minute change of plans, or after the absence – Temple Isaiah does not refund or credit for time not attended if that time is scheduled. If your camper is sick or has other plans on a day that he/she is scheduled to come to camp, no refund or credit will be granted.  Staff, supplies, busses, and reservation fees have already been spent on your camper’s scheduled attendance.
  • Changes to a camper's schedule resulting in a reduction of weeks causing a refund, AFTER receiving the Early Bird Discount forfeits the Early Bird Discount – Likewise, weeks added to an existing schedule after June 1 will be at the flat rate pricing and the original payment will not be adjusted to a new price bracket.
  • Request for Financial Aid must be given before May 15 for consideration – Spots cannot be held during the waiting process and is based on availablility at the time of financial agreement.
  • Days/Weeks registered to a camper is NOT transferable to another camper.
  • No Refunds for overpayments of extended care hours.

What if I need to change my schedule?
As long as space is available, and with 7 days advance notice, campers may swap a week or a day (has to be in-kind, i.e., a Monday for a Monday.)  Changes in schedule must be in writing; email is sufficient.  Weeks cannot be swapped between sibling campers. The 3-day schedule is set for Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and those days may not be swapped unless it’s for a different week (if space is available) and will be for the same 3-day schedule.

Are there scholarships available and how do I apply?
Scholarship funds are available, first to temple members, then to the greater community.  An application for tuition relief will be required, and decisions are made through an anonymous scholarship committee. Requests may be made in writing to campscholarships@templeisaiah.com.

How are the dates of camp chosen?
There are many factors that are taken into consideration when figuring out our summer dates.  Now with the public, private, charter, and magnet schools, all having different summer break schedules, we find it increasingly challenging to meet the needs of everyone.  The first consideration is the Jewish and National Holiday Calendar.  As a synagogue camp, we are closed for all major Jewish holidays (Shavuot almost always falls in June) as well as Independence Day.  The second consideration is when the Temple Isaiah Preschool is in session.  Our brick and mortar building can only hold so many people; camp simply cannot be in session when our preschool is wrapping up the year themselves.  The third, and perhaps one of the most important is when staff is available (the majority are students themselves.)  The fourth is when the largest bulk of our camp population goes back to school.  Dates are chosen thoughtfully and carefully and unfortunately are not negotiable.

General Location and Activities

How are the groups organized?
The groups are generally organized by grade.  Every morning when you drop-off at the park, you will sign in with your counselor assigned to lead a particular grade.  When we transition, break into small groups on field trips, have assigned activities, or organize for pick-up, these are all by grade.  Chuggim allows campers to choose their activities, so if your camper has a sibling or a friend in another grade, they can choose the same chug and be together.  They can also be together during pool time.

Do the counselors go into the bathroom with the campers?
Camp Isaiah is often in public places, like the park, pool, and field trips.  Counselors are REQUIRED to enter the bathroom with their campers and are never allowed to just stand outside.

What does my camper need to bring to camp every day?
In your campers backpack please always have a bottle of sunscreen labeled with your camper’s name, a snack, a lunch, a FULL water bottle, and anything else they might like to have with them.  Campers often choose to bring a light sweater, sunglasses, a hat, or money for the canteen.

Do you apply sunscreen?
While we do not provide sunscreen, we will always help your camper apply it if they need the help.

What do you do when it gets really hot outside?
Our days are programmed around the weather.  Park activities and pool time are always in the morning to take advantage of the Southern California marine layer coolness and to avoid prolonged sun exposure.  Fortunately, we do not live in an area that is as hot as the valley, and the temps rarely exceed 85 degrees.  Should the weather become exceedingly hot, we adjust the activities to be less strenuous, doubly increase our water intake, and move activities to the shade or inside.

How are parents communicated with?
Before camp begins, a parent email with all pertinent information is sent out, including the link for the release and permissions form.  A Back-To-Camp Night is hosted approximately 1-2 weeks before the start of camp where campers meet their counselors, shirts are given out, and the camp directors go over all-things-camp with parents while counselors play games with their campers.  (If you are unable to make it to Back-To-Camp Night, shirts can be picked up in advance or on your camper’s first day of camp.)  While camp is in session, a weekly email newsletter highlighting the important events and necessary reminders are sent out each Friday for the following week. Should a personal need arise and communication is directly required, all parents will have a supervisor's cell phone number or can discuss the issue with a director in the morning at the park.

Drop-Off and Pick-Up

Where is drop-off?
EVERY morning we will meet at Cheviot Hills Park, across the street from Temple Isaiah, entrance on Motor Ave.  From Pico Ave, head south on Motor Ave and turn right into the first driveway.  Camp Isaiah will be visible in front of the first baseball diamond area.  You MUST park your car, walk your child to his/her counselor, and sign in your camper with the counselor.

Where is the drop-off for early care?
Early care drop-off is at 8:00 am at Temple Isaiah.  We are combining with the preschool early care group and sharing a classroom where breakfast will be available promptly at 8:15 am. Counselors will walk your camper to the park at 8:50 am.

What if I have a camper in both the preschool and the big kids camp, how do I manage drop-off at 9:00 am for both?
Since early care is at the temple, parents may now drop-off their big kid camper at Temple Isaiah with the early care group at 8:45 am.  The group will begin walking to the park by 8:50 am.  If you either miss the group or would prefer to drop-off at the park, then arriving a few minutes after 9:00am is totally fine.

Is the camp at the park every day?
Drop-off is at the park every day, but we only stay at the park twice a week until approximately 11:30 am.  The other 3 days we get on a bus by approximately 9:30 am and head to the pool or field trip.

Where is pick-up and what are my options?
Pick-up is ALWAYS at Temple Isaiah.  Parents may choose to pick-up camperS inside in the 300-level dismissal classroom OR stay in your car and pick-up from carline.  Parking is available at the golf course across the street for those who want to walk-in.  Camp staff will be waiting with campers registered for carline only in the alcove by the garage In order to ensure the safety of all campers, people who pick up will be asked to show ID to counselors who will cross-reference the names you give permission for release.  If your camper is staying for After Care, then you must come inside the temple for pick-up.  For After Care ONLY, parking is available in the Temple Isaiah lot. 

What’s chuggim?
Pronounced kh-oo-geem, is the plural form of the word, translates to ‘electives’.  One ‘elective’ would be a chug (pronounced kh-oog).  Chuggim are the electives of activities our campers may choose, like tennis, art, sports, dance, cooking, etc.


Where do you swim?
We swim at the Santa Monica Swim Center (SMSC) on Pico Blvd & 16th.  Please feel free to go there and check out the facility!

Are there swimming lessons?
While the Santa Monica Swim Center does offer swimming lessons, those lessons are conducted twice a week Monday – Thursday.  Camp Isaiah swims on Tuesday’s and Friday’s.  This means that you, as the parent, would have to visit SMSC on your own for the other lesson OR lose half of your swimming lesson fees.  If you opt for these swim lessons, your camper will spend the majority of Camp Isaiah Tuesday swim time in the lesson and not with friends.

What if my camper doesn’t know how to swim?
There are 2 pools at SMSC, a splash pool and a fitness pool.  The splash pool is a shallow pool that goes to about 3’ deep.  Campers do not need to be competent swimmers while in the splash pool.  Even our littlest campers have head, neck, and chin above water while standing anywhere in the pool without the possibility of slipping into deeper waters.  The fitness pool, which is about 15’ deep is only available to campers who pass a swim test administered by the lifeguards at SMSC. Those who pass are given a special, bright green bracelet that they are required to wear to enter the fitness pool area.

Who supervises the campers in the water?
In addition to multiple SMSC lifeguards stationed around the pool (one lifeguard is positioned on a high perch) Camp Isaiah counselors are required to be IN the water with our campers.  At least one director is also at the edge of the pool closely monitoring counselor and camper safety. There is a VERY STRICT policy of no horse-play in the water meaning no wrestling, no chicken-fighting, no jumping on a person’s back, no holding onto someone around their neck, etc.  As the name of the pool suggests, we primarily splash around!

Can my camper bring floaties or flotation devices for pool days?
No. Absolutely no floaties, rafts, tubes, noodles, or other toys or floatation devices are allowed in the water.  These are the pool rules, as guided by SMSC.

How does a camper pass the swim test?
For a camper to be allowed in the deeper fitness pool, a swimming test must be passed.  The SMSC lifeguards administer the test by having campers swim the front stroke for the entire width of the splash pool.  To pass, campers must swim in a straight line, side-breathe properly, and cannot stop in the middle of the lane or touch the bottom.  The test must be passed each summer, can be taken as many times as a camper wants, and once a camper has passed and is in the SMSC system, will be able to go to the fitness pool for the duration of the summer.

What if my camper doesn’t want to swim?
There are always campers who choose not to swim.  Staff are stationed on the grassy area to supervise and play with campers who aren’t swimming.  A multitude of activities are available while campers are at the pool but not swimming such as card games, lanyards, friendship bracelets, art projects, brain games, etc.

Where do you change after swimming and will my little one be helped?
Inside of the locker rooms are a large changing area with benches, an open shower room, and toilets in private stalls.  Counselors are in the locker rooms helping everyone dry off and get dressed.  Campers may change in the bathroom stalls should they wish to have some privacy.


What is the camper to staff ratio?
Our ratio is 7:1.  However, when we are at the pool or on field trips, all the specialists (like our Israeli shlichot, omanut (art) director, song-leader, etc.) are with the camp and assigned to a group, dropping the ratio to about 5-6:1. JCIT’s and CIT’s are considered campers and are NOT counted as staff.

Where do you find the staff?
Staff are found in a variety of ways.  Many staff were actually campers themselves! Some staff grew up at Temple Isaiah and took on leadership roles in high school.  Some staff were also teachers in the Religious School or preschool.  And some staff apply to work at Camp Isaiah because they have seen us in action or heard about the opportunities through previous staff members.  All staff are required to be finger-printed, references checked, and background checked, even if we’ve known them for a long time.

How old are the staff?
Senior counselors are 18 and over.  Jr. Counselors are 16 and 17.  Many staff are actually in their 20’s.  JCIT’s are entering grades 6-7 and CIT’s are entering grades 8-9 and are NOT considered staff.  Staff are never hired based on age (other than to make sure our ratios are in legal compliance for child care purposes) but rather on their energy, competency, experience, interview, references, and maturity.

How long have you been the Camp Isaiah Director?
I have been the Director of Camp Isaiah since the summer of 2004 and loving it.

Field Trips

When are the field trips?
Field trips for the entire camp are always on Wednesday’s.  For the older campers who are JCIT’s and CIT’s, there are tween/teen only trips on Tuesday’s or Thursday’s (check the calendar).

How are the campers supervised while on field trips?
First, we are broken into small groups based on grades.  Then, specialists are assigned to the groups based on need for extra coverage.  Some field trips have us in the public world and we are very diligent, sensitive and careful with ensuring everyone’s fun and safety.  Other times, we have the whole place to ourselves but still break into small groups for accountability, safety, and bathrooming.

When does my camper have to wear the camp t-shirt?
Our Camp Isaiah shirt is required for field trip days!

Should I send extra money with my camper while on field trips?
Please NEVER send extra money with your camper while on field trips.  We simply do not want to waste our time waiting for 100 campers to purchase a soda/souvenir/junk  etc., especially while most campers do not understand how the prices listed do not include tax.  Even if you ‘slip’ your camper a few bucks, the Camp Isaiah policy is to keep everyone together and campers will NOT be allowed to purchase anything.


How do you get around?
We get around by big, yellow, school busses.  All transportation to camp activities will be provided by CHP and SPAB approved busses and drivers.  We do not provide transportation to or from a camper’s home.

Are there seatbelts on the bus?
This may sound counter-intuitive, but seatbelts on busses make them less safe.  Statistically, big, yellow busses are the safest vehicles on the road.  If a car were to collide with a bus, the bus is significantly heavier than the car and the damage would be primarily to the car.  This is something I speak to parents a lot about because while the perception is that seatbelts are safe (and of course legally required in cars), bus safety is a totally different beast and all the data supports that seat belts on busses are LESS safe than without seatbelts. Here is just one recent article on this issue, https://www.usnews.com/opinion/economic-intelligence/articles/2015-12-29/seat-belts-wont-keep-kids-safer-on-school-buses.  The kinds of seatbelts bus companies have (including ours) are large straps that go around the entire seat bench with 2 lap belts sewn to the front.  There are not shoulder harness options and if we have 3 kids to a seat, then 2 would have to strapped into the same belt, obviously making a less safe situation worse.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has an entire web page dedicated to bus safety and seat belt info data, https://www.nhtsa.gov/School-Buses.



My child has severe allergies to nuts/bee stings/dairy/gluten/etc., How is that handled?
This is partially why we cannot offer all-camp snack or lunch options.  Every year, we have campers with anaphylaxis inducing allergies.  All staff are trained in epi-pen use, counselors who are with the camper with a life-threatening allergy will hold onto the epi-pen, and parents should have a conversation with their counselor at the start of camp for clear communication.  This is in addition to permission release forms.  A medical bag is with the camp at all times and includes basic items like bandages and cold packs as well as anti-histamine over-the-counter medication.  While we always have multiple campers with sever nut allergies, counselors are trained to notice campers who bring nuts/peanut butter and have them wash their hands after eating.

Does camp provide food?
As much as we wish we could provide food for the entirety of the day, Camp Isaiah provides some food, some days. The combination of dietary needs (kosher, food allergies, gluten-free, picky eaters, etc.) along with not being at the temple every day until noon prevents us from having adequate facilities or storage for food prep and serving.

  • Breakfast – for campers registered in early care, breakfast is provided promptly at 8:15am.
  • Snack -  provided by camper, eaten either at the park, pool, or field trip
  • Lunch – provided by camper, except on Friday’s when we sell cheese pizza. Campers usually eat DOUBLE the amount during camp than they do at school.
  • Canteen – during lunch we sell canteen to supplement lunch items.  Canteen items include natural sodas, chips, fruit gummies, cookies, cornuts, etc. 
  • After care snack  - provided by camp for after care registrants

What’s for breakfast in morning care?
Breakfast can include a variety of things such as yogurt, fruit, bagels & cream cheese, waffles, cereal, toast, juices, etc.