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OpEd: Something About Camp Doesn’t Add Up

We all know of the great importance and of the positive effect that overnight camp has on a child. This can be seen clearly from the Rebbe’s emphasis many times and from the fact that the Rebbe took many precious hours out of his schedule to visit camp 3 times.

As well, the tireless dedication of the staff, head staff and directors is unmatched, and I am certain that this brings the Rebbe much nachas.

However, I’d like to voice a slight concern with the way some of these wonderful mosods are being run.

We all as parents wanting to achieve nothing but the absolute best for our children are aware that this can be quite costly.

But when it comes to camp however the expenses are in a league of their own.

Let’s do a little breakdown.

1) Tuition.
This is the most obvious expense. You see, camp had their expenses. And in order to function properly, a large part of the cost is passed to the parents.

2) Spending money. This is something all parents view differently. Some choose to give their children a lot, and some none.

This is understandable.

Now here’s where things start sounding funny…

Tipping.
Our children’s staff work hard. No one denies that. And yes, they definitely are deserving of our immense appreciation for giving our children a great summer.

However, something doesn’t add up.

Take School tuition for example.

We pay lots of money. But we know that a large part of our money is going to pay staff a salary. As well as regular expenses of a functioning mosad (building etc.).

The way camps are ran never really bothered me. However as we’ve decided it’s time to send our third child to camp, I couldn’t help but beg the question.

My oldest son has been a staff member for the past 2 years at a mainstream CGI overnight camp. He told me that your average pay for a typical staff member over two months is between 200-400 dollars.

You heard right. Between 200 and 400 dollars! Am I the only person to find this absurd???

Something doesn’t add up!

Most parents of campers who attend overnight camps are paying about ten times that amount PER CHILD!

Not withstanding, when I asked him if they at least give good “gashmiyusdike” compensation I was shocked at his reply. He told me that general staff and learning teachers in many of these camps are put to sleeping conditions that are infested with mice and mold. And the leadership in many of these camps give attitude and make them feel like they are being done a favor.

Now here comes my big question.

Why are camps being ran like businesses but paying like shlichus?

You see, as I said, the pay we give and the pay our staff get just doesn’t add up at all.

I beg to ask the following question. Dear camp director, where is our money going?

Don’t get me wrong. I understand you deserve a salary. But isn’t this taking it too far?

I’ve spoken to a non-lubavitch friend of mine. He told me that this problem is nowhere as existent in their camps. Is their pay like that of a regular job? No. But it’s a “mentchliche” amount.

He told me as well that in most camps there is a “no tipping” policy as to not make parents feel under pressure to always think they aren’t giving enough.

Dear parent, when registering your child for for camp please ask the director this question.

Together we can make a difference.

Anonymous

16 Comments

  • 2. Response wrote:

    Dear Anonymous, i know it must be frustrating and i hear it in your tone but, allow me to explain some of the expenses the camp has. please remember your school does not provide 3 meals a day, as well do you know that busing can cost the camp $20,000 per trip! don’t forget water, electric, permits, trips, etc. the list can go on and on, the point is that of the camps i know the director does not treat it like a business not in the amount of his salary or the scholarships he offers to so many family’s, not just Shluchim. he treats camp like a moisad and that is how he expects his staff to treat it as well. don’t forget they get 3 meals a day, room and board, trips, fun with they’re friends, and the Chance to be Mashpia on children.

    Reply
  • 3. Moshiach wrote:

    This “conversation/discussion” is a Golus one, stuck on a glue trap, you want to know how you can live more comfortably (on the glue trap).

    We need to escape this golus mentality and start thinking out of the box, start thinking big, start thinking redemption. In this case, the redemption is not closing down our schools for the summer, as the Rebbe wanted. This will bring our Moshiach.

    The questions should be directed to our school administrations and Rosh Yeshivas. Why are your doors closed for 10 weeks during the summer? Who takes responsibility for all those who get lost during that time? Etc…etc…

    Reply
  • 4. parent wrote:

    boys should be in a yeshivah all year with days off not months off please get yeshivas to teach our boys teachers and bochurim kill 10 weeks in the summer this is not acceptable

    Reply
  • 5. Hillel wrote:

    If the great Rebbe Hillel would go on top of the roof to the skylight of the Yeshivas (Beis Medrash) in Crown Heights during the summer, he would be greatly disappointed to find them empty.

    Reply
  • 6. My Name is Sara wrote:

    When I complained about the cost, I was told that the camp directors use the money to live on all year, just like I work full time and receive a salary.

    They expect the summer money to be a year long salary.

    Reply
  • 7. To # 6 wrote:

    The summer money is their year long salary. They spend the entire year working to make sure that the summer months work for the kids and accomplish what they need to. And they only get paid for the summer for all of the work they do year round.

    I heard that Ohr Menachem has school year round minus a short break at the end of the summer.

    Reply
  • 8. Tipping wrote:

    When the Rebbe visited the camps, this was one of the instructions he gave- to give a tip.
    Camps bring in income over two months, but have grounds to maintain and expenses all year round. The director works year round and the head staff begin many months before camp begins, and after it ends. The summer staff are also provided meals and activities. The difficulty is when staff is late in being paid or not fully paid. My girls had that experience- but that was many years ago. Hope it’s improved now.

    Reply
  • 10. Yirmi wrote:

    This past summer I helped to make a great day camp and I can ensure you that it costs A LOT of money to run these camps adn the directors do not make anywhere near what you might think they do. The things you might not think about include: camp insurance- expensive, van/car rentals and the gas. Cook out expenses- hot dogs, burgers, buns..ect for 20 plus people, weekly. Scholarships/ discounts. Weekly trips, renting campsites…the list goes on and on. People who do this are not in the business of making money, we are doing it because we love teaching and summer is an extension of that.

    Reply
  • 11. A staff/parent view wrote:

    Make up your mind shlichus or business. Is camp a business where you charge a lot of money from parents? If yes then pay the staff like a business which means at least minimum wage. or is camp a shlichus where staff get paid close to nothing because they are doing the rabbes shlichus? If yes then charge the parents like a shlichus close to nothing.

    Reply
  • 12. Ban Anonymous OpEds wrote:

    If the author of this letter cannot even put their name to it, how can he/she ask other parents to do make a shturem about it.

    Reply
    • 13. Yanki wrote:

      Because then the person will be crusaded in the comments section and whatsapp.

  • 14. Sundays off wrote:

    I have always wanted to see this happen. Spoke to many teachers who agreed it is better for them.
    Change the summer to only 2 weeks vacation and have all sundays half day off and once a month whole sunday off to give the teachers some time off as well.

    Teachers agreed with me that this is a much better way of living for them.
    They would rather have once a month a day off than working 6 full days a week

    Reply
  • 15. to number #2 wrote:

    most elementary/ yeshivas in crown heights provide 3 meals a day, and most big camps cgi Montreal / cgi parksvill have a lot of it paid for by the government.

    Reply
  • 16. Mike wrote:

    To # 1 Consider this the grounds were pay for 50 years ago Anything they build they get it donated they collect money a whole year (in the name of helping those that can’t afford)They have this new thing of charging waiters to come work for them I can go on and on.Not in the mood. it’s one big business I have no problem with that just say it’s a business

    Reply

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