Kids camp

Cincinnati and the surrounding areas have many options for those who are seeking a summer camp for their child. To help our readers choose the camp that best suits their child’s needs, The American Israelite offers the following listings highlighting the finest summer camps the area has to offer.

Camp GUCI 

The Goldman Union Camp Institute (GUCI) is more than just a summer camp. GUCI is a community. The campers and staff create and live in an atmosphere where it is cool to be Jewish. 

Through activities designed to help build friendships within cabin groups and grade-specific units, campers become a part of a greater Jewish community. That community lives on long after camp ends. Friends made at camp are friends all year long. The social and Jewish impact of camp can last a lifetime. Many campers return summer after summer. Many become staff members. The magic of GUCI is handed down from generation to generation.

Ranging in grades from elementary school through college, thousands of young people from across the Midwest have enjoyed the fun and camaraderie of a summer at Goldman Union Camp Institute. It offers campers a wide variety of activity choices that allow them to exercise their bodies and minds, challenge their creativity and enhance their Jewish identities. From sports and fitness, to the performing and creative arts; from nature activities, to outdoor, adventure programs, GUCI has something for everyone. A summer at GUCI is an unforgettable religious, cultural, recreational and social experience.

GUCI offers a variety of summer options. Sessions run from two weeks to the full summer and provide the best of everything camp has to offer to everyone. 

GUCI’s programs are filled with engaging activities, opportunities to try new things and exposure to reform Jewish culture and ritual.

Camp Livingston 

Camp Livingston, a Jewish residential youth camp, enriches the lives of its campers and staff by providing a fun, unique, community experience, while encouraging the development of Jewish identity within a safe and inclusive environment. The camp enables the formation of lifelong friendships and provides the opportunity to participate in exciting recreational and creative programming.

Nestled deep in the rolling, wooded hills of beautiful Southeastern Indiana – and within easy driving distance of Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, Indianapolis, Louisville, Lexington – Camp Livingston has offered an unmatched summer experience for Jewish children and teens for more than 100 years. Camp Livingston has always provided a safe and nurturing environment where campers gain self-esteem and confidence, and form lasting friendships with their cabin and unit friends – all within a fun and exciting atmosphere. Within this unique environment, campers come to know and love themselves, their community and their place in the greater world. 

The camp sits on 680 acres of wooded land in Bennington, Indiana. It includes a lake with paddle boards, canoes, kayaks and water slides; a low and high-ropes course and climbing wall; a swimming pool; endless hiking trails; a baseball diamond, tennis courts, volleyball court, basketball courts, archery and athletic fields; a state-of-the art theater; an arts and crafts center; and a professionally staffed wellness center. 

Camp Livingston campers range in age from 7 to 17 and come from communities throughout the United States and Israel to form a vibrant, unique and exciting Jewish community. They are cared for by mature staff members who realize the importance of a meaningful, safe and fun summer experience.

Camp Young Judaea Midwest

CYJ Midwest is your child’s home away from home. At CYJ Midwest, your child will gain valuable life skills by creating unique experiences for each child while teaching them the lessons of living as part of a community. Each camper will come back more self-confident with a stronger Jewish identity and more knowledge about Israel. Most importantly of all, they will have a great time!

For CYJ Midwest to be a place where campers are provided tools to make choices about their connection to Israel and Judaism, it must be intentional about the Judaic and Israel-related programming. The core of the camp’s educational philosophy is that programs should be experiences that cannot take place anywhere else. They should be active, interactive, valuable and especially fun.

The programs give campers a sense of connection to their history, to the Jewish State and to Judaism that makes them proud of their Jewish Identity. They should inspire curiosity that carries over into the school year.

Camp Young Judaea Midwest is located on Lake Stratton in Waupaca, Wisconsin, surrounded by trees, nature trails and protected wetlands. The 80-plus-acre campsite includes a spacious dining hall (Chadar Ochel), kosher kitchen, an air-conditioned recreation hall (Beit Am), and 20 acres of waterfront property that includes water skiing, tubing, kayaking, sailing, canoeing, and swimming.

The sports facilities include two basketball courts, softball diamond, soccer fields, two tennis courts, an archery range, and a ropes course with a 41-foot climbing tower.

CYJ is not affiliated with any particular stream of Judaism. The goal is to provide campers with the tools to make choices about their Jewish Identity and connection to Israel.

Cincinnati Academy of Performing Arts

The Cincinnati Academy of Performing Arts (CAPA), based in Indian Hills, offers multiple summer programs including complete professional musical productions. Each performance is designed for the proper age group. All camps are held at Indian Hills High School unless otherwise noted.

The 2020 Theater Camps are “Frozen” for grades 3-5 (June 1-12), Roald Dahl’s “James and the Giant Peach” for grades 6-8 (June 8-19), and “Rock of Ages, School Edition” for grades 9-12 (June 15-26). Registration is now open!  Camps fill up quickly, so reserve your spot today! 

CAPA is offering a film production camp in 2020 for students grades 7-12 (June 8-19).  A team of students will make a short film from idea to final editing, with hands-on workshops from local writers, directors, DPs, and editors.  Students will learn important film production skills like film critique, story development, scriptwriting, production planning, shot blocking, script breakdown, location scouting, shooting, editing, music and animation. 

CAPA also offers Counselor

Internships for the Summer Theatre Camps.  Counselor positions are open to students in grades 7-12 (2020-2021 School Year).  Counselors serve an integral role to support our Summer Staff working with children ages 8-13 and they learn from theatre professionals with local and national credits, enhancing their theatre knowledge and resumé while networking with professionals.  Counselors are volunteer positions, but the internship hours can be applied toward required school community service hours or counselors can receive a discount to attend the High School Summer Camp.

Finally, Young Actors of Madisonville Summer Camp is a week-long camp for ages 7-13 (August 3-7). In 2020, this will feature a shortened and current version of Romeo & Juliet. Students will act, dance and put on a final performance for family and friends at Artsville Stage/Theatre.

Cincy Journeys

Cincy Journeys helps every child attend overnight Jewish camp and every young adult travel and learn in Israel, giving them the skills, experience and desire to become tomorrow’s community leaders.

Cincy Journeys, funded by the Jewish Foundation and administrated by the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, funds an unlimited number of overnight Jewish camping and Israel travel grants for those in the Cincinnati area. 

Overnight Jewish camping is full of the fun and adventure kids crave and the confidence-growing, values-building, horizon-expanding experiences parents want for them as well. Studies consistently show that overnight Jewish campers grow up more engaged with their communities and more likely to become leaders and volunteers.

At overnight Jewish camp, campers strengthen their bodies while exercising their minds; develop confidence while creating new friendships; build a community while repairing the world; and discover what being Jewish means – all in a safe, encouraging environment.

Today’s overnight Jewish camps come in all different shapes and sizes tailored to a child’s specific interests and the family’s needs. Options include camps focusing on: arts, community, entrepreneurship, environment, health and wellness, leadership, outdoor adventure, science and technology, single gender, social action, special needs, sports, travel.

One of Cincy Journey’s approved camps is sure to be the perfect fit your family.

Mayerson Camp JCC

At Camp at the J, kids can experience the best of summer. From swim lessons and archery, to arts and crafts, camp values and color wars, and much more, kids will create memories and form friendships to last a lifetime. Give your child a summer to remember at Camp at the J.

Camp at the J offers a camp for every kid. Traditional day camp provides all the fun that makes camp a summertime staple, and a wide range of specialty camps encourages campers to pursue their interests, making camp exciting and educational.

The camp offers an inclusive summer camp program that offers an enjoyable, meaningful summer camp experience. The camp advocate program serves campers who may benefit from more positive behavior techniques and social skills coaching by a one-to-one or two-to-one advocate. Camp advocate staff receive additional training and ongoing support. 

During the Traditional Camp, Camp at the J offers a variety of fun and educational programming taught by expert specialists. Enrichment activities include archery, arts and crafts, sports, drama, and more. These activities foster friendship, build confidence, and offer opportunities for campers to learn new skills.

The camp incorporates values-based learning where children learn about core values of respect, kindness, and community. Campers learn about Israel and international Jewish life through lessons and interactions with Sh’lichim, counselor friends from Israel. At the end of each week, campers gather for Shabbat Sing, where we celebrate our camp community and give out weekly awards.

Each camper enrolled in traditional camp will take swim lessons with our lifeguards based on their ability in the water. 

Specialty camps include a fencing camp, art camp, ultimate drone racing, circus camp and a horseback riding camp, among others.


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