WHO ARE OUR CAMPERS?
Goldman Union Camp Institute strives to embody the “audacious hospitality” of the Reform Movement. We welcome campers and staff members from families of all kinds.
Our open, supportive and inclusive environment is something we are very proud of and are always working to improve. The make-up of the URJ and our programs is as diverse as our population, therefore our communities represent that vibrant and colorful fabric that makes up the Reform Jewish population. We are proud that our camps and programs are inclusive and designed for everyone in our community.
Campers range from ages of 4 to 18 and are entering grades K-12. A great many of our campers and staff members come from the Midwest region, yet we have representation from all over the United States and overseas. Most of our overnight campers are members of Reform Jewish synagogues.
What is the food like?
It’s pretty simple…our campers and staff love our food! Even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy our meals because of the variety we offer. We strive to serve all of our campers’ dietary needs by offering a wide variety of meal options that are kid friendly and healthy.
Almost all meals are served family-style in the dining hall, with bunks eating together at assigned tables. Our menu is kosher style. Breakfast includes a hot item and cereal. Lunch and dinner include a hot entrée, as well as the option to visit the salad bar. Whenever meat is served, a vegetarian option is offered. We make accommodations for campers on special allergy or health-related diets.
Find more information on our Meals + Nutirion page.
Where will my child live? How are cabin assignments made?
A camper cabin sleeps fourteen to sixteen campers and three to four staff members in bunk beds. Every camper is assigned a bed and a set of cubbies for storing personal items. All top bunks are equipped with bed rails. Each cabin is equipped with a smoke detector, fire extinguisher, and emergency lighting.
Cabin assignments are made on the basis of school grade and/or age. Space is provided for your child’s bunk requests on the camper application form.
HOW WILL MY CHILD GET TO AND FROM CAMP?
Parents are encouraged to bring their campers to camp on opening day, and pick them up on closing day. Bringing or picking up your camper provides an opportunity to see the camp, meet the Director, the staff, and your camper’s bunk counselors. GUCI does provide pick up service for campers who travel by way of public transportation and will often offer a charter bus from St. Louis, Columbus and Cincinnati. For summer 2021: stay tuned on instructions regarding dropoff/pickup as there may be changes due to COVID-19.
What kind of clothing should my child bring to camp?
We dress informally at camp, and it is not necessary to buy new clothing for your child. Camp is primarily an outdoor setting and simple and modest clothing is the most appropriate. Campers usually wear T-shirts or tank-tops with shorts, pants or skirts.
For Shabbat we dress a little nicer then the average camp day. Campers wear anything from a collared shirt with khaki shorts to sundresses. High-heeled shoes, designer clothes and expensive jewelry are neither necessary nor encouraged.
We strongly discourage campers from wearing inappropriate attire: Clothes that are intentionally tight or revealing should be left at home. All clothing and personal belongings should be clearly marked with the camper’s full name.
For more information on what to pack, check out our packing list on CampInTouch.
How will my child's laundry get done?
We provide laundry service on camp, done by our laundry staff.
Four week campers will be able to send laundry twice during the session (beginning of the second week and the latter part of the third week of the session.) Two-week campers will get their laundry done once. The laundry is dried and folded.
The camp will not be responsible for lost or damaged items. Do not send delicate clothing or clothing that will fade or bleed or that needs special laundry care. Every camper will need to bring his/her own laundry bag with his/her name clearly marked on it. Please make sure every item of your camper's clothing is labeled with their full name.
WILL MY CHILD NEED LOTS OF SPECIAL EQUIPMENT FROM HOME?
During the course of the session, your child will have many opportunities to learn or develop new skills. In almost all cases, the camp supplies the necessary equipment and supplies to participate. In some instances, where your child is seeking mastery of an activity, he/she may desire his/her own special equipment (musical instrument, tennis racquet, etc). Be selective, and remember that the camp is not responsible for loss or damage of personal items.
Can I or friends/family send my camper packages?
We do not accept packages at GUCI for campers. For more information, please review our GUCI Package Policy.
HOW WILL I STAY IN TOUCH WITH MY CHILD?
Campers are encouraged to write home at least twice a week. Parents, in turn, should write frequently. Your letters will keep your child happy and make his/her stay at camp more pleasant.
You will be receiving a letter from one of your child’s counselors sometime during the session.
Address all mail to your child with their name and cabin number, and send to: Goldman Union Camp Institute
9349 Moore Road
Zionsville, Indiana 46077
On opening day you will learn your child’s cabin number. You also have the option to email your camper and for us to scan you back their responses. Learn about that process here.
CAN I VISIT MY CHILD WHILE THEY ARE AT CAMP?
While parents and other family members are welcome and encouraged to bring campers to camp and to pick them up at the end of the session, parents and other visitors are not allowed to come to camp during the camp sessions. For summer 2021: stay tuned on instructions regarding dropoff/pickup as there may be changes due to COVID-19.
CAN PARENTS CALL THE CAMP TO CHECK ON THEIR CHILDREN?
Parents are welcome to call the camp during the summer to find out how their campers are doing. After we receive your call, your camper’s unit head, counselor or a member of our Camp Care Team will promptly return your call.
WHAT IF MY CHILD’S BIRTHDAY OCCURS DURING CAMP?
Appropriate ceremonies are held to mark birthdays that occur during camp. We try to make it a treat and a happy occasion for all. We ask that parents cooperate by not sending gifts to camp, nor by phoning. A card is appropriate, with the written assurance that a gift is waiting at home.
What are the COVID-19 policies for summer 2023?
We will be sharing specific details around our COVID-19 protocol soon!
Health & Safety
Will my child by safe while at camp?
All of the URJ Camps are dedicated to providing safe and secure environments for our campers and staff. We have 24 hr security, and an electronic gate at the entrance to camp. We conduct regular safety and security reviews and evaluations, and work closely with local law enforcement officials to make sure our safety standards and practices are the best. The health and welfare of our community will always be our top concern which is why we invest heavily in the training of our staff and the hiring of certified lifeguards, climbing specialists and more.
All our staff members go through security training prior to the start of the summer.
What medical facilities do you have at camp? What happens if my child gets sick?
It is our hope that every camper will remain healthy and fully able to participate in all aspects of camp life all session long. Just in case, though, we have a range of systems in place to manage health care issues that may arise. The camp’s well-equipped infirmary is staffed by medical professionals all summer long – usually a doctor and a nurse.
In case a real emergency arises we are 10 minuets away from St. Vincent Hospital. All medications are stored in the infirmary, and we supervise the dispensing of medication four times a day.
A medical form filled out by the family and family doctor is requited for each camper and kept on file in the infirmary.
Does my child need to be immunized?
Yes, the Union for Reform Judaism requires that all camp and travel program participants, staff and faculty must be immunized. For more information, read the URJ Policy Statement on Vaccine Status.
URJ Child protection policy
At the heart of our Reform Movement is our enduring commitment to shaping a more whole, just and compassionate world. That holy work includes ensuring that each and every member of our camp community - especially our children - are protected and that their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health and safety is our highest priority.
You can view the URJ's entire Child Protection Policy here.
Who will be taking care of my child?
At GUCI, we take a great deal of pride in our staff. Our counselors and supervisors provide a stable and caring home for campers all summer long.
We know that a camp is only as good as its staff and are proud to say that more than 90 percent of our staff is homegrown - meaning they grew up at GUCI and feel passionate about camp. Our staff is comprised of college students, rabbinic/graduate students, and professionals in various fields. Others join us from across the country and Israel. All staff members bring their own special gifts to share.
How are GUCI staff trained to care for campers?
Our staff has been carefully selected and intensely trained by our camp directors to keep our campers safe, happy and instill our values.
Before our campers arrive, all staff members participate in an intensive training program. This on-site training includes workshops led by our camp directors, outside professionals, and industry experts and cover a variety of topics including safety and security, mental health, child development, conflict revolution, inclusion and more.
Our staff have ample time to train, get certified by outside professionals when appropriate, and set up their activity areas. When Opening Day arrives, our entire staff is confident, energized, excited, and ready to meet our campers.