What is Camp Nageela?
Camp Nageela is a non- profit camp aimed at giving quality Jewish summer experiences to children. Our goals are to keep our campers safe, give them a fun, friendly environment, and to provide a positive outlook to Judaism. Camp Nageela has been around for over 30 years, but 2010 was our innaugural season in the West. We build on that success as we return to for our fabulous fourteenth season in 2023.
Who is Nageela for?
NageelaWest is for any Jewish child between the ages of 9 and 15 who is interested in having an awesomely fun summer. Campers come from all over the country, primarily from the Western states, and from a huge spectrum of backgrounds and schools.
Rising 10th graders participate in SOUL, our amazing teen program, where they receive additional trips, privileges and some responsibilities as future (hopeful) staff members.
Rising 11th and 12th graders can apply to join our Jr. Staff program, where a supervising staff members will work with them to transition into true leaders.
What kind of activities will I participate in?
We pride ourselves on providing a broad prism of experiences. As a Travel camp, we have the opportunity to visit many different attractions and landmarks. Our campers will visit national parks, play sports, participate in craft activities, and water sports. Our traditional sports activities (which we do a couple of days a week on the travel camp) usually include basketball, soccer, football and volleyball. We will also have swimming, diving dodgeball, hiking, camping, boating, drama, music, dance, team building activities, night activities, music videos, and much, much more. Our trip will take advantage of the great features of the West coast's cities and National Parks for great local trips.
A typical day may include hiking to a waterfall at a national park, visiting a Six Flags amusement park, Jet Skiing or white water rafting.
What are the facilities like?
We will stay in a variety of places, generally hotels or gigantic AirBnB homes. Also a night or two camping out.
This is a hybrid travel camp. We don't move to a new location every day. Pack, unpack. Pack, unpack. Rather, we stay in each location 3-5 days and do local trips, then take a drive to the new spot. Most days we drive less than an hour.
Do I need to know Hebrew?
Absolutely not. The majority of Nageela campers have Sunday- school level Judaic education, or none. No previous Jewish knowledge is necessary.
How much does it cost?
Camp tuition is $4,200 (with an additional early bird discount that ends Dec 1). Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. All deposits are fully refundable if cancelled before May 1st, so it's always worth starting early and getting on a payment plan. Starting a payment plan in November will allow most people to pay only a few hundred dollars a month, instead of getting hit with a large bill in June.
2. First time campers are usually eligible for $1000 off. Second time campers may be eligible for a grant as well.
3. We are always willing to work with families on a payment plan. If you feel like you need time or assistance, please contact us.
Are there any outside financial incentives?
The Foundation for Jewish Camp, in partnership with a number of cities provides a first year campership grant to eligible families . Currently most West Coast cities participate. If you're a member of PJ Library, you're probably eligible for a grant through FJC as well. Please visit onehappycamper.org for information.
Additionally, many local Jewish organization including the Jewish Federation in your city and many temples and synagogues offer camp scholarships. Please contact your local organization.
Many of these programs have limited funding and so it's important to apply early.
Please check with your local Federation frequently, as the application usually opens for only a brief window and closes rapidly.
What type of communication will I have with my child during camp?
We want to be partners in your child's development, and we stay in regular contact with parents. Camp counselors call parents to update them on your child's progress, and the Camp Director is always available to answer calls. Calls are usually returned in minutes, rather than days.
Along with the majority of West Coast Jewish camps, campers do not have cell phone access while at camp. This break from the addictive technology goes a long way to developing better social skills, tech non-dependence and general happiness. We encourage campers to write letters home, and distribute parents' emails daily.
We also post pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. On our average day, we post more than 500 photos, and you can see your child happy and smiling, while knowing they're doing it as individuals, outside of the normal comfort zone of home.
You can get more detailed information by downloading our user manual, available on our downloads page.
What? You're not coed? Why not?
Camp Nageela West is proud to be the only non- coed Jewish overnight camp on the West Coast Summer camp is about children living away from the pressures of school, the city, and even family. For adolescents and teens, few things are more stressful than gender mixing. Kids at coed camps have to address questions of sex and sexual identity, and there is a near- constant pressure to look great, act funny or cool, and impress people. Often, chidren feel pressured into relationships or encounters they're not comfortable with. Or, quite frankly, the children might be comfortable with, but you as parents would not be. We believe that children thrive in a single gender setting, free from sexual tension, particularly when said children attend coed schools or programs during the year.
Directors of coed camps have confided that it's also more difficult to ensure that staff members are focused on campers. In a non coed camp, the staff members have far fewer distractions, and are able to focus laser- like on their young charges.
Who will be taking care of my children?
Ultimately, as a parent, this is your most important question. Our staff members will set your mind at ease. Here are some of the reasons we believe our staff is second to none:
Industry high staff to camper ratio. We boast a ratio of a staff member for every two campers. We don't believe ANY other camp can make such a claim
Intense training. Our Nageela staff training seminar is thorough and intense. All staff members are trained in camper care, abuse detection and prevention, child development and camp culture. Many Nageela staff members go on to lead distinguished careers in Jewish camping, education and lay leadership.
We have recently upgraded our training in the areas of detecting and preventing sexual abuse.
Vetting. We do not attend hiring fairs. We do not engage agencies to find foreign college students. These are OUR CHILDREN! Every Nageela staff member is personally acquainted with the camp administrators, or a friend of the camp administration members. They're part of a personal network of highly trusted individuals. We can do this because of our small size.
They're super fun! Nageela staff members are high energy, and high volume. They're talented in many areas such as music, performing arts, computers, sports, extreme activities and pickle juice drinking.
Mission driven. Nothing can compare with or replace meaningful dedication. Our staff members, without exception harbor a passion for Jewish education and child development. To these guys and girls, camp is not a job. It's a calling.
What is your technology policy?
Technology and the internet have undoubtedly brought great access to information and communication. Yet studes show that particularly in children and teens, exposure to multiple hours of daily device usage is directly correlated to severely increased episodes in depression, and even suicide. Many psychologists believe the reason for this is a decrease in face to face social interactions. Tweens and teens increasingly feel 'left-out' or lonely, disconnected in a world where everyone is connected.
At Camp Nageela West, as well as many other camps, we believe that camp is the cure. Pure, personal social interaction, without the distractions of screens. Children come home from camp making eye contact more, being better able to read and respond appropriately to body language cues, and having developed independence from their digital prisons.
We do not have a zero technology policy. Campers may bring iPods or game systems along, and we keep a careful watch on usage time, making sure they do not interfere with non screen activities. Our campers do not have web access, and any phone or device with internet capabilities are not allowed in camp. During travel camp, devices with wifi capabilities are also not allowed. That means no snapchat, instagram, facebook, texting, what's app or even Clash Royale.
Our campers have usually agreed that (even though they don't particularly like the policy) they're happier this way!
Is there a deadline to sign up?
Our registration deadline is June 1st.
After that time, you can still get on the waitlist and we'll let you know if there's space.
Have you always been a travel camp? Will you always be?
No. And Probably not.
For 11 of our 13 previous summers, we operated as a traditional camp one a campus. Our campuses ranged from a ranch in Utah, to a school in Sedona, to a cabin community in Big Bear lake, California. But our overnight trips are always the highlights of our summers, so we decided to do a full summer of them!
Eventually, we'll become more mature and want to settle down on a permanent campus. For now, we're having fun traveling!
What if I'm not great with traveling?
You're not alone! There are some people who have such a hard time traveling that a travel camp might not be for them. However, there are a few things to consider.
A. For a travel camp, we don't do all that much traveling. Our itinerary is about 30 hours long. Over an 18 day camp, that's not a lot. Usually we'll have 2-3 long drives (4-6 hours), and the other days we average under an hour.
B. We will be traveling in comfortable coach buses. Even if you don't do well crammed in the back of your family's minivan, you might be fine on a coach bus.
C. Dramamine really does work.
What is the itinerary?
The full itinerary will be available in February.
So far, we've announced a start in Las Vegas, and stops in Moab Utah, Arches National Park and Denver, CO.
Is there a dress code?
Our campers dress however they feel comfortable. Our only requirements are that no offensive slogans or images may be worn. Boys are required to wear head coverings during meals and prayers. Nicer clothes are expected for Shabbat.