About Camp Wise

Welcome!

We are honored that you are considering Camp Wise for your child’s summer home away from home. Please explore our website, read our blog, or give us a call. Let us show you why our community lovingly calls Camp Wise the “Home of Happiness” in Cleveland since 1907.

Since its founding, Camp Wise has helped campers build confidence, independence, and self-esteem while becoming part of a welcoming and inclusive Jewish community. At camp, they will discover what it means to be Jewish on their own terms. They will make lifelong friends. They will immerse in nature and develop a comfort with being outdoors. We’ll encourage them to try new activities and give them the skills they need to navigate social connections and teamwork. They’ll learn how to face challenges and overcome them in a safe and supportive space. We’ll model for them what it means to be a proud, engaged Jew, and they’ll learn how to be a true mensch.

We look forward to sharing all that our beautiful campsite has to offer and welcoming you to Camp Wise this summer.

Warmly,

Rabbi Dan Utley, MAJE
Director of Mandel JCC’s Camp Wise

History

Thanks to a generous gift from Cleveland businessman and philanthropist Samuel D. Wise in 1907, Camp Wise was established as a simple fresh-air camp for children from primarily Jewish immigrant families. Over the decades, the camp developed into a well-organized camping community, and evolved as a leader in the field of Jewish camping. Camp Wise has a special place in the hearts of hundreds of thousands of campers and alumni around the world.

Camp Wise was originally situated near Euclid, Ohio, at Stein-on-the-Lake, Interurban Stop 133. In 1924, when the camp was moved to Painesville, Ohio, newspapers printed stories about the camp that “promises to be the model camp of the entire country.” With a growing number of campers and a need for better facilities, Camp Wise was relocated again in 1966 to its present site in Chardon, Ohio. Halle Park, the name of the site encompassing both Camp Wise and Mandel JCC’s Anisfield Day Camp, was a gift made possible through the generosity of Eugene and Blanche Halle. While the physical location of Camp Wise has moved three times, the spirit and magic of Camp Wise remains the same.

For a more detailed history of Camp Wise, purchase a copy of “The Camp Wise Story, 1907-1988” by Albert M. Brown HERE.

Our Partners

The Jewish Federation of Cleveland

The JCF supports the Mandel Jewish Community Center and Camp Wise annually.  Your gift to Federation is a gift to Camp Wise as well, supporting our programs, facilities, and core mission.

The Jewish Community Center Association of North America

The JCCA is the umbrella organization for Jewish Community Centers around the U.S. and Canada. Through the JCCA, Camp Wise is part of the largest Jewish movement, impacting millions of lives each year. The JCCA offers Camp Wise:

  • Consulting for camp leadership teams to encourage the use of best practices in camping
  • Professional development
  • Programming support including our teen Israel experience
  • Connection with other JCCs and JCC associated camps around the country

The Harold Grinspoon Foundation

The Grinspoon Foundation has provided valuable services to Camp Wise for almost 10 years. These include:

  • Jcamp180, which provides free consulting services to camp and lay professionals, including development of our strategic plan
  • Grant-matching opportunities for facility upgrades
  • PJ Goes to Camp

The Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC)

The FJC has been an active partner with Camp Wise for many years, furthering Jewish camping around the globe.

Their services include:

  • Innovative training programs for camp professional and lay leaders
  • Creating the Cornerstone program, which provides camp bunk staff the opportunity to learn to create meaningful Jewish programming that they can then bring back to camp.
  • Administers the One Happy Camper Grant nationally.

The Jewish Education Center of Cleveland

The JEC has been a long time partner of Camp Wise, helping our families make camp affordable. Grants from the JEC include, but are not limited to: One Happy Camper Grants, Gift of Israel Savings Program, Israel scholarships and leadership grants.

Mandel Jewish Community Center of Cleveland

Camp Wise is a program of the Mandel JCC.

Mandel JCC is a fitness, wellness and community center that is welcoming to all people in our community, regardless of race, religion, identity, or location. Membership allows for access to:

  • Robust fitness center with more than 200 pieces of cardio, machine and free weight equipment
  • Indoor and outdoor pools
  • More than 50 weekly group exercise classes
  • Certified Personal Trainers (additional fee)
  • Pilates reformer group and individual classes (additional fee)
  • Basketball, Pickleball, and racquetball courts
  • Whirlpools, steam rooms, and saunas

Additionally, members receive discounts on all of our programs, including:

  • J-Day Camps and Camp Wise overnight camp
  • Swimming classes
  • Arts and culture classes and events
  • Jewish learning
  • Early Childhood Center programs and classes
  • And more!

Camp Wise works hand-in-hand with Mandel JCC’s J-Day Camps. Contact the camp office to see how your child can share  their summer between J-day Camps and Camp Wise.