The mission of Camps Airy & Louise is to be the leading provider of an exceptional, fun-filled overnight camp experience for Jewish youth that inspires individuality, enhances skills, introduces new experiences, encourages social responsibility and builds lifelong friendships.
Camps Airy & Louise maintain the vision of its founders, Lillie and Aaron Straus, whose pioneering efforts endeavored to ensure that the values and character development provided by the camping experience would be available to Jewish children from all economic backgrounds.
Activities and interests run the gamut at Camps Airy & Louise, but all of them fall under the direction of these common goals we share while at camp:
- Foster an appreciation of the natural world.
- Create fun experiences for campers and staff.
- Inspire admiration for American and Jewish traditions.
- Encourage self-reflection and realization through new opportunities.
- Instill safe and healthy habits that last a lifetime.
- Spark lifelong friendships that deepen our community.
Camps Airy & Louise strive to create a meaningful, supportive Jewish community by encouraging our campers to share their own beliefs and practices, explore life’s questions and learn from and listen to one another. Through Shabbat celebration, Israel programming, community service and opportunities for personal growth, our campers learn and explore what Judaism means to them. We are proud to create an inclusive Jewish community that brings together campers and staff with a wide range of practice, knowledge and family make-up.
A note on Bar & Bat Mitzvahs:
If your camper is celebrating his or her Bar or Bat Mitzvah after camp and needs to practice, sign up on Drop-off Day for dedicated one-on-one practice time. Your camper will be paired with a knowledgeable staff member who will listen to your camper at a scheduled time once a week.
Shabbat offers an opportunity to slow down, to reflect on the prior week and to properly prepare for the week ahead. The spirit of our community enhances our Shabbat celebration as we gather together in nature to celebrate the start of Shabbat on Friday night with music, prayer and reflection. Shabbat continues on Saturday morning with a pluralistic observance followed by Oneg Shabbat (a delicious snack), special afternoon programming (such as History Day or special programing planned by our counselors in training), and concludes with a Havdallah service (recognizing the ending of Shabbat and welcoming the new week ahead of us).
Our community is motivated by the following Jewish ideals:
We are connected to all Jews across time and space with a familial bond based on shared heritage, history, language, rituals and culture. Based on this connection, we have a responsibility to care for one another. Here at Camps Airy & Louise we live this value by bringing together staff from around the globe, exposing our campers to different practices and beliefs and intentionally building a diverse Jewish community based on mutual respect and understanding for Judaism.
Judaism, through its imperative of working to heal the world, offers specific and relevant solutions to modern social and economic issues. As a Jewish camp community, we strive to inspire each person to make the world a better place. Individual actions around camp, from picking up litter to befriending a new camper are recognized as part of the larger whole. The community participates together in Tikkun Olam service initiatives that instill a sense of purpose extending beyond our gates.
Teaching appropriate behavior and values is an important part of developing the Jewish value of Tikkun Midot. At Camps Airy & Louise, we strive to identify these values and apply them to our daily lives. We are committed to providing a healthy, safe camp environment where relationships are characterized by dignity, respect and fair treatment.
The exploration of belief, prayer and life’s questions (big and small) is a central part of Jewish life. We realize that personal spirituality evolves throughout a person’s lifetime. At Camps Airy & Louise, we strive to give our community opportunities to explore and feel comfortable discussing their personal views and beliefs.