If your child could make a list of everything that his/her dream summer camp would have, JCC Elaine Frank Apachi Day Camp would have it all and then some. Hey, it even makes me kind of wish I was a kid so I could go there! Situated on 40-acres of land in the Long Grove/ Lake Zurich area, the camp is truly a hidden gem of the area. With their two heated pools, nature trail, swim lessons, field trips, climbing wall, zip line, and even their own science museum, the Apachi Day camp is a magical place for kids age 3-years old to 10th grade to spend their summer days.
The JCC Elaine Frank Apachi Day camp meets five days a week from 9:30 am – 3:15pm. If you work full-time and your child needs longer days, before and after camp care is offered as early as 7 am to as late as 6pm. There are three options for sessions for the camp as well. The first option is an 8-week full summer session running from June 22–August 14. If you are planning on going on vacation or have a lot going on, then you might rather sign up for one of the four-week sessions. Session 1 runs from June 22–July 17 and Session 2 is July 20–Aug 14. Something unique about this camp is also that they have a professional bus service pick up the kids and drop them off at camp.
I recently had an opportunity to speak with the director of the camp, Jennifer Zislis. As a parent of a three-year old who I want to sign up for a summer camp this summer, I had a lot of questions. Jennifer Zislis gave me a better insight on JCC Apachi Day Camp as well as answers to many of the questions parents (like myself) may have when finding a summer camp for their child.
What makes the Apachi Day Camp so special? What sets it apart from other camp experiences?
JCC Elaine Frank Apachi is magical and transformative for a child and family. We are a traditional Jewish camp with amazing facilities, staff and programming. Campers are part of a community where they can try new things, make new friends and build confidence.
Do you welcome children of different faiths and backgrounds into your camp?
Yes, we welcome campers from all faiths and backgrounds. We are value-based in our programming and these values are universal. We discuss making good choices, how to be a good friend, sportsmanship, taking care of the environment, etc.
Describe a typical day at the camp.
Each age group follows a specific schedule. The younger campers are able to experience all of the programs we offer while the oldest campers will self select some of their specialty choices giving them an opportunity to be independent .
All campers swim twice a day: lessons in the AM and free swim in the PM. We have endless activities and each day is different other than the swimming and lunch times. Activities last 30-45 minutes and include archery, arts and crafts, artist in residences, basketball, baseball, biking, challenge adventure area, cooking, dance, floor hockey, ga-ga, Garoon Gateway to Science, gymnastics, Israel experience, music, nature, sand volleyball, soccer, softball and Tae Kwon Do. We also celebrate Shabbat on Fridays and host a special event day each week.
What activity is the most popular with the kids?
One of the biggest highlights we have on the camp grounds is a 2-acre hands on outdoor science museum. The Garoon Gateway to Science is a favorite among campers. It is 8 courts of science with elements bigger than life to explore and experience. Every camper loves it from the biology area with live snakes, turtles and lizards to the water area with a water rainbow and bubble wands. The Garoon Gateway is an accredited museum and campers/staff enjoy it ages 3-years old to Adult.
In addition we have a challenge adventure area with a four-sided climbing wall, high ropes and zip line course, archery, dance, poms, gymnastics, art, floor hockey, outdoor cooking, special events and more!
Are there any field trips?
Depending on the age of the camper yes. We feel that the camp site is a field trip everyday with a lot of great activities. For our 3-5 year olds we do not have field trips. Our campers entering first grade have one field trip per summer. Second graders have two, third graders have three and our oldest grades (4th-7th) trip between 1-3 times a week depending on their age.
What kind of training does the staff receive?
The director interviews all of the candidates and screens them prior to hiring. The staff attend a full week of orientation which we call Apachi University prior to the start of camp. It is a 40-50 hour week engaging staff in conversations relating to the health and well being of the campers. In addition the staff come early and stay late everyday to meet with their supervisor and we hold a weekly meeting at night to continue our training. Our lifeguards and pool staff are all American Red Cross Certified, we hire a full time nurse and our supervisory staff are all educators, social workers and staff in the education field. Our busses are driven by professional bus drivers.
Are lunch and snacks provided or do kids bring their own?
Lunch is provided twice a week, pizza lunch on Tuesday and Friday is a hot dog cookout. Snacks are provided daily and it is included in the cost of camp.
How do you handle allergies, special needs, etc. ?
We set a plan with the family depending on the needs of the child. If it is an allergy they meet with one of our nurses and a plan is made to keep their child healthy and safe with whatever their allergies might be.
Depending on the child with special needs we partner with Keshet who will work with the families to provide a one-on-one experience for the child and we also work with Firefly who works with campers to provide social / emotional support. Campers who need these services enroll directly with these agencies.
You are able to call and register for the camp at anytime at 847.726.0800
JCC Elaine Frank Apachi Day Camp
23280 North Old McHenry Road
Lake Zurich, IL 60047
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Disclosure: JCC is a Little Lake County paid advertising partner.