Our campers start at age 9; our oldest campers, at 15 & 16, are Counselors-In-Training (CITs.) Many are from New York; most are from the east coast; but we have groups of children from the west coast and always have some international children.
Camp Kinderland was founded in 1923 as a secular Jewish camp, and more than half of our children are Jewish or have one Jewish parent. Camp is completely secular with no religious observances or rituals of any kind. We are also a relatively diverse community, that diversity embracing race, nationality and sexual orientation, celebrated through the culture of the camp in its bunk names, arts projects, folksongs and festivals and overall camp philosophy.
Most of our campers come back year after year—more than 85% of eligible campers return. That said, Kinderland is extremely welcoming to new campers, even those who are older, and our staff are conscientious about integrating newcomers.
We generally have 165-185 children in camp at any one time, for sessions lasting 2 weeks (for 1st time younger campers), 3 weeks in August, 4 weeks in July, or the full 7 weeks. They are grouped based on their birthdates, with approximately 10 – 16 children in a bunk, usually two bunks (one girl’s, one boy’s) in a group. All genders generally do all activities together.
We welcome children of all genders. Historically, we’ve housed our campers based on gender, with a boys bunk and a girls bunk for each age group. Trans and non-binary campers have been given the option to choose whichever bunk they feel most comfortable in. This has worked well, and for the past two years we’ve had mixed gender housing for our youngest campers in August. This year (2024), we are expanding that, and our Inter group (those turning 9 and 10 in 2024) will be living in mixed gender housing for the entire summer. In those bunks we are planning some renovations, such as adding changing areas and installing stall door on the bathroom that extend all the way to the floor, to give those kids some added privacy (we eventually want to do the same in all our bunks, but that probably won’t be ready for 2024). We are working on making our camp a more comfortable place for trans and non-binary campers and are exploring alternative housing options for older groups, though for this year this will only apply to the Inters. For all other groups we will continue to house based on gender, but again, non-binary and trans campers can choose the bunk they’ll feel most comfortable in.
Camp Kinderland has an 8 bed infirmary staffed at all times by two live-in nurses. Camp has a dedicated driver for doctor’s visits. Camp nurses dispense all daily medications at the infirmary, and will be in contact with families of any child who needs medical care outside of first aid and minor medical situations.
Children are responsible for keeping their cabins and areas clean, but a maintenance crew follows up on a regular schedule with more substantial cleaning. All cabins have indoor plumbing, hot water and electricity. Counselors monitor tooth brushing and hand washing, and campers have showers on their scheduled programs to make sure younger campers in particular shower regularly. A camp mom or dad “inspects” the bunks every day, checks the clotheslines, re-distributes lost and found items, and pays special attention to health and hygiene issues among the younger campers. Laundry is sent out once each week.
The Camp Kinderland dining room offers a generally kid-friendly menu. Breakfast is a hot entrée (pancakes, French toast, eggs) with hot and cold cereal available and items like yogurt, cottage cheese, fruit and granola on the breakfast bar. Lunch may be sandwiches, salads, tacos, pizza, mac and cheese, etc., again, salad bar supplements like soup, fresh vegetables, fruit, etc. Dinner might be a stir-fry, burgers, pasta, chicken, etc., with supplementary salad bar. Approximately 1/3 of the campers and staff are vegetarians, so a vegetarian entrée is available at every meal. Our kitchen works hard to accommodate many special diets and allergies: gluten free, vegan, lactose intolerant, soy or rice milk, nut allergies, etc.
Camp Kinderland has consistently met all requirements of the Massachusetts and Tolland Boards of Health, and is regularly inspected by and monitored by the local Fire Department and Electrical Inspector. There is huge overlap with American Camping Association standards and therefore we have not sought ACA accreditation.
Kinderland’s program is based on a social group model; children travel with their age groups through most activities and through that model form exceptionally strong relationships with campers, counselors and supervisory staff in their groups. The daily program exposes children to skills-building workshops (arts and crafts, swim instruction, sports, folkdance, drama, singing, nature, hikes, low ropes, etc.) taught and supervised by specialists, where they may experience activities they might not ordinarily try or pursue. There is also time in each day for electives, where campers choose a more intensive involvement with the activities they especially like: sports clinics, special art projects, cooking, hiking, guitar or other musical instrument practice and jamming, and other electives limited only by the abilities and imaginations of our staff and special guests. Every group goes on at least one out-of-camp trip planned specifically for his/her age group, and progressively longer for older campers. There are also many shorter out-of-camp excursions: overnight hikes and sleepouts, berry-picking, amusement parks, state forests, rainy-day bowling and movies trips, etc. Every group has a certain amount of built in supervised free time, where children can rest, relax, enjoy group games and bunk time.
Camp Kinderland was founded in 1923 by Jewish activists and socialists as a retreat for their children from the tenements of NYC. While Kinderland is not affiliated with any political party or organization, it remains true to the vision of its founders. Kinderland campers encounter ideals of social justice and peace. History, culture, activism and concern for the world are integrated naturally and easily into the regular camp program. Kinderland campers might find themselves singing “This Land Is Your Land,” or a Yiddish labor song; they might tie dye a t-shirt or paint a mural about Democracy; they might write and perform a satire about bunk life, or a play about putting an end to war. They might commemorate resistance in the Holocaust or on The Underground Railroad. At Kinderland it is okay to think, to care, to question and to act. There is nothing quite like it; and it works because the values of community and culture, of justice and righteousness, are inextricably integrated with the friendship, the joy, the beauty, the sheer fun and adventure, of life at sleepaway camp.
Many families drive their children to camp. There is also a camp bus that leaves from, and returns to, the Bronx at the start and end of each session. Special arrangements can be made to meet campers at Bradley International Airport.
The best way to communicate with campers is by regular old fashioned mail. Nothing beats getting a LETTER! There is also a system that allows you to email your children, called Bunk Notes. These will be printed each morning and put into the campers’ mailboxes for pick up after lunch. Along with that, there are “Bunk Replies” you can purchase that allow kids to write a letter to you on a sheet of bar coded stationary, which our office staff scans and emails to a general address, which in turn emails the individual messages out to you. If you would like your children to send you mail, please send them with writing materials, envelopes and stamps. Also, please make sure they know how to address an envelope, or send them with pre-addressed envelopes.
For the first week of camp we discourage phone calls home, to give campers a chance to acclimate and adjust to life at camp. After that, campers may make up to 2 calls a week during scheduled times after dinner.
If a child is extremely homesick or having other significant issues in the first few days at camp, chances are we will be on the phone to you seeking guidance and possibly engaging you in the adjustment process. And, if you must speak to your child because of a family issue or emergency, while we cannot bring a child to the phone immediately, the office will make every attempt to locate your child and bring him or her to the phone to receive a phone call at a prearranged time.
Cell phones, electronic games, and other electronics are not permitted in camp for reasons explained in detail in the information packet sent to all registered families. Food packages are discouraged, and guidelines for packages that explain our camp philosophy are also provided in the pre-registration period.
Visiting Day is always on the third Saturday of the July session.
2024 Camp Session Fees
|Payment by Check|
|2 weeks (July and August)||$2,570|
|1st Year CITs||$6499|
|2nd Year CITs||$4,865|
There is a $300 discount for each additional child per family registering for 7 weeks; $185 for 3 or 4 weeks. (Due to a quirk in our new registration system, the $185 discount will be added for each additional sibling — if you sign up for 7 weeks, we will add the additional discount after you register.)
Bus fee: $50 each way
All families are eligible for payment plans to help manage camp tuition. Partial scholarship is available and is awarded according to need, as determined by family circumstances and review of current tax returns. Please email Mike Salop at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a scholarship form.
Additional questions? Please don’t hesitate to call/contact us!