Camp Wise provides a friendly, supportive, and cooperative atmosphere that fosters individual growth at each camper’s own pace. Campers are encouraged to learn new skills and master old ones, to make decisions, to take responsibility, to be expressive, to live with others, and to have fun. Complemented by our Jewish environment, campers develop a deeper understanding of and appreciation for Jewish heritage and traditions while also developing a true sense of community. Camp Wise is committed to making sure that every camper leaves with a greater sense of self-esteem and self-confidence; and with memories that will last a lifetime.
Vision Statement of Jewish Community
The overnight camp setting is the foundation for a unique transformative learning environment of total immersion and ‘living’ Judaism. In this space, accessibility for everyone – regardless of knowledge or experience – is created by the openness of the educator, be it a counselor, a visiting educator, or a camper. Through intentional programming rooted in the core values of camp, campers gain a sense of ownership for their own Jewish exploration and identification that carries with them beyond camp into the ‘real world.’ The emotional and spiritual connections evoked at camp create campers and staff members who are hacham lev (wise of heart), who become seekers of kehillah (community), hochmah (wisdom) and shalom (peace).
The Torah teaches that everyone is created in the image of God. We desire to create a community of menches (good humans) who treat people with kindness and respect, and who accept and celebrate each individual for who they are. B’tzelem Elohim extends to the way we take care of ourselves, treat others, and interact with our world.
As beings created in God’s image one of our responsibilities is to repair what is broken in our world. We do this through Social Action (acts of tzedakah – charity), Social Justice (helping to implement systemic change) and being Shomrei HaAdamah (guardians of the Earth).
Kehillah is at the core of Judaism and the Camp Wise community. We strive to develop individuals who feel a responsibility as members of various communities including the camp community, the larger Jewish community (klal yisrael), the State of Israel, and as citizens of the world. Our texts teach us that “kol yisrael arevim zeh ba zeh” all of Israel is responsible for one another (Talmud Shavuot). Truly all humans are responsible for one another.
Just as Abraham and Sarah opened their tent for visitors with kindness and hospitality, Camp Wise creates a place of belonging for returning campers, new campers, staff, and guests. Camp Wise is a place where everyone can be themselves and feel welcomed and included for who they are.
The first words we are supposed to utter when we wake in the morning are words of gratitude: “modeh/ah ani l’fanecha.” We thank God simply for the opportunity of another day to do and be our best. This helps us to focus not on what is missing from our lives but on what we already have. The Camp Wise environment allows us to step back from an everyday focus on materialism and turn our attention to connecting with others and ourselves.
Camp is a place where Judaism comes to life; it is an environment where we live by Jewish time and immerse in Jewish culture. Camp Wise is also a place where individuals are encouraged to discover their own spirituality. Campers and staff members experience moments of simcha (celebration), ruach (energetic spirit) and hitbodedut (individual reflection) that create opportunities for spiritual growth.
As a camp that is more than 115 years old, we recognize the value of having generations-long traditions, and the joy of creating new ones. We appreciate this, too, as members of the Jewish community, which has existed for thousands of years. By understanding our history, we honor those from our past who helped shape the present, and we continue to grow and learn, creating a better future.
Creating A Safe, Welcoming, Inclusive Community
At Camp Wise, we strongly believe that when every member of our community feels a sense of belonging, they are able to explore who they are and who they want to be, try new things, and venture outside their comfort zone. In our camp environment, we aspire to create sacred spaces grounded in chesed (compassion) and gemilut chasadim (loving-kindness) so that each individual in camp has an opportunity to develop self-respect, self-confidence, and a strong sense of self. Our goal is for campers and staff alike to be proud of who they are and feel supported in celebrating their unique identity and experiences. At Camp Wise, we welcome all who wish to participate in our camp experience regardless of sex, gender identity or expression, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, family composition, or accessibility.
Statement On Gender & Sexuality
In alignment with our values and mission, Camp Wise welcomes everyone, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Camp Wise is committed to making our community a welcoming and comfortable environment for campers, families, and staff.
Every member of the Camp Wise community has the right to be addressed by a name and pronoun that corresponds to their stated gender identity. Campers will be housed with the gender that most closely aligns with their gender identification. Discrimination, bullying, and harassment on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or family composition is prohibited. It is the responsibility of Camp Wise and its staff to ensure that all campers, including transgender and gender nonconforming campers, feel safe, supported and celebrated in our camp environment.
The scope of this responsibility includes ensuring that any incident of discrimination, harassment, hostility or bullying is given immediate attention, including investigating the incident, taking appropriate corrective action, and providing campers and staff with appropriate resources.