Please use our Coronavirus FAQs (below) to find answers to commonly asked questions. We will continue to update this page and our FAQs as more information becomes available.

 

Update: 25 May 2020

As of now 96% of the camps that JCUSA works with have made the unfortunate decision to cancel their in-person Summer 2020 programs. We would love you to have the incredible experience of camp, so you can defer your application to Summer 2021 with ease and no extra cost, so we hope to see you at camp next summer.

If your camp has cancelled then your options will have been emailed to you when your camp announced this by the JCUSA team.

This is the last Coronavirus update for Summer 2020, however the FAQ’s will be continuously monitored and updated. Has JCUSA currently has reduced levels of staff, will be in touch via email regarding possible refunds throughout the first week of June. You can read our refund policy further down this page in the FAQ section.

Again, we really appreciate your understanding at this difficult time for us all.

 

Update: 3 May 2020

The hardest and most difficult decision any camp will ever have to make is to cancel camp. We are heartbroken and so upset that camps now begin to cancel camp but this pandemic compels all of us to deal with forces beyond our control.

There is nothing more that we want to do than to provide a meaningful and safe Jewish camp experience.

Camps will have made this decision with the health, safety, and well-being of its campers and staff as top priority. We would never have imagined having to write this as we love camp, our staff and the whole JCUSA community. We wish more than ever for you to experience the magic of camp but the decisions have been made carefully, thoughtfully and in the best interests for you. We pray and hope that together you will be at camp and back home in your happy place soon but until then here is the JCUSA cancellation policy.

Q: What should I do if camp cancels my position for this summer?

A: The hardest and most difficult decision any camp will ever have to make is to cancel camp. We are heartbroken and so upset that camp has been cancelled but this pandemic compels all of us to deal with forces beyond our control.

There is nothing more that we want to do than to provide a meaningful and safe Jewish camp experience. Camps will have made this decision with the health, safety, and well-being of its campers and staff as top priority. We would never have imagined having to write this as we love camp, our staff and the whole JCUSA community.  We wish more than ever for you to experience the magic of camp but the decisions have been made carefully, thoughtfully and in the best interests for you. We hope and pray that you will be at camp soon and until then here is the JCUSA cancellation policy.

If you have been affected by a camp cancellation our team will be in touch directly with you to discuss how you would like to proceed. If you have not been affected by a camp cancellation then your standard program agreement terms and conditions apply.

We believe in supporting our community during this difficult time and will offer four options for those affected by camp cancellations or the situation where travel bans are not lifted:

1. Find an alternative camp for summer 2020

If you are still interested in going to camp this year we will do our best to find you an alternative camp. However, it’s important to know that with the challenging and changing nature of coronavirus this may take longer than expected or may not be possible. If an alternative position is not possible you will still be eligible for the other options.

2. Defer to summer 2021

If you wish to defer your application to next summer we will transfer your application and the fees you have paid to summer 2021. If you want to go to the same camp, we will make sure you can have your position secured for summer 2021.

3. Donation towards Jewish Camps USA

At this horrific time, more than ever, we rely on our family and community for us to be able to continue to provide Jewish people around the world with the most life-changing and meaningful experience ever.

You can choose to donate some or all of your fees towards Jewish Camps USA. This will provide campers and staff with the opportunity to go to camp for future years and make a difference to the world which we live in. Your generosity and thought will not go unnoticed and everyone at Jewish Camps USA will be forever grateful for you playing a part in our future in providing communities with the chance to fulfil dreams, inspire future generations and give back to the world.

If you can donate, this will never be forgotten and you will be able to know that together we have done everything possible in our situation to continue to impact future staff and strengthen our community. You will impact lives in which we will owe so much to our participants, alumni and families. Thank you for all that you have done for the organisation in the past, present and for the future. Together we will come through these uncertain times and be stronger than ever and continue to thrive.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

4. See your refund options

The long-standing policy within our program agreement has always been, no refunds if there are cancellations due to events that are out of our control. These include natural disasters, sickness or quarantine or governmental restrictions and regulations.

However, we will review your options for a refund and this will be done on a case-by-case basis. Please note that this will not be a full refund and the amount you receive will be based on the services you have received, where you are up to on the program and how much you have paid. While the timing is difficult to know, we will work through these requests as quickly as possible.

Please be prepared that this process is not easy and due to the pandemic we are operating with reduced levels of staff. Refunds could take up to 2 months, we will be in touch soon with more details if this option is chosen but please know that we can only pay back to the account that was used to originally pay.

If we don’t hear back from you within 30 days of the email that you receive outlining these options, you will unfortunately no longer be eligible for a refund, but you can still transfer to Summer 2021.

 

Update: 27 April 2020

We are currently prioritising those who have an upcoming start date in May, and then we will move on to June start dates.

The ever-changing nature of this situation means that a lot remains uncertain as we face the coming weeks and months. At this point, we wanted to try and provide you with some certainty around a few key areas:

  • We are awaiting for an update from the U.S. Department of State in regards to the current suspension of the Exchange Visitor Program (issued on March 13th until May 11th). We expect to receive this update early May and will update you shortly afterwards.
  • We will not facilitate travel if it is unsafe to do so – this will be determined by government and public health authorities, the U.S. Department of State and visa sponsors. Your safety is our highest priority.
  • We will only suspend the Jewish Camps USA program in the instance where it is unsafe to travel or travel is not logistically possible (e.g air travel is suspended). We remain optimistic for the summer.
  • Departure dates at any point in May are extremely unlikely based on embassy closures and the Exchange Visitor Program suspension. Please be prepared for all departure dates to be moved into June or July. We will be in touch to confirm any departure date changes.
  • None of our camps have cancelled their summer programs. All of our amazing camps are making the appropriate preparations for this summer including amending their start date to later in the summer, and the implementation of new safety measures for those attending camp. We are communicating with camps every week for updates.
  • Non-immigrant visa appointments at the U.S Embassy are still suspended – we expect appointments to resume soon after your government lifts the stay at home measures. Once we receive more information from your home country embassy we will update you.
  • We do not believe President Trump’s recent statement will directly affect our program as his statement refers to immigrant visas. The J1 Exchange Visitor Program is a non-immigrant cultural exchange program. This program is currently suspended until May 11th at which point the U.S. Department of State will review the situation.
  • If you hear anything from your camp please email us at info@jewishcampsusa.com.

 

Update: 11 April 2020

At Jewish Camps USA, the current global situation we all face is challenging every aspect of our day-to-day lives.

It is difficult for us to witness the world on lockdown, with social distancing and travel bans in place, we believe in the measures being taken to ensure the safety and well-being of individuals, families and communities.

At this point, we wanted to take the time to update you on what is happening behind the scenes at Jewish Camps USA:

  • We are working remotely from our homes and are continuing to work alongside the American visa sponsors and our camps to prepare for the upcoming summer. Our value of providing a life changing summer experience through inspiring impact and people has not changed, and our camps remain excited to welcome international staff.
  • Currently none of our partner camps have cancelled their summer program. We are still preparing for this summer and we continue to work closely with our partners in the U.S. to ensure everything will be ready when the time comes.
  • Your start dates, travel arrangements, visa appointments and length of time at camp, may change over the coming days and weeks as we navigate our way through this situation. Please continue to remain as positive, open and flexible as possible.
  • Our priority is the safety of our participants, staff, and partners, and we will only move forward with everything if it is safe. We are following the advice and information from the U.S Department of State, local government authorities, and our partner visa sponsors and camps.

The situation is evolving daily and like many other organisations we are taking each day as it comes, usually with more challenges we never thought we would have to face.

We recently held a Zoom call with our first time UK staff to speak to them about the current situation. Understandably, lots of you are wondering what happens if travel bans are not lifted or social distancing continues. Whilst we know people are searching for answers, we do believe the best approach is for us to work with the information we have available now whilst also monitoring the situation, following guidance from the U.S. Department of State and making decisions with your safety as our utmost priority.

The coming days, weeks and months will no doubt be very challenging for us and for the camp community as a whole but together we remain committed to our values of inspiring impact and inspiring people on their camp journey.

 

 

Date: 16 March 2020

As you may be aware, on top of the current 30 day travel ban for certain countries to the USA, there is currently a temporary suspension on J1 visa arrivals to the USA due to COVID-19.  This pause runs from now until May 11, 2020.

We wanted to assure you that Jewish Camps USA and your visa sponsor are here to assist you in getting to camp.  At the same time your health, safety and welfare are our priorities.

Please email us with any other questions or clarification and we will do all we can to answer as soon as possible. The current situation changes daily and is extremely fast moving and after speaking to many camp directors today they are remaining positive and optimistic.

We strongly believe in the value of Jewish camping, in particular the transformative experience that camp brings to you.

 

 

Date: 12 March 2020

On March 11th President Trump signed a Presidential Proclamation which suspends the entry of most foreign nationals who have been in certain European countries at any point during the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival to the United States. This proclamation is expected to last 30 days and applies to the countries located in the Schengen area. Travel remains unaffected at this point, provided you have not travelled in a Schengen area in the last 14 days. At Jewish Camps USA we will continue to work towards our May and June departures. If you are currently in one of the areas affected and/or have a departure date that falls before the 11th April 2020 our team will be directly in touch with you.

We understand you may have questions or concerns. Jewish Camps USA are monitoring updates from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization and the U.S. Department of State. Currently there are no changes to the programme and all camps are remaining open and plan to run as normal. We are relying on only official sources as well as the professional guidance offered by the American Camp Association and J1 visa agency sponsors.

We are aware that the situation is changing daily. If you are not due to travel in the near future we recommend that you wait and we will update you with new information when it comes available.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Important: as this situation develops, these frequently asked questions may contain information that is no longer valid. We will update this page as we receive more information about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.

Updated: 27 April 2020

Q: Is the Jewish Camps USA program happening this summer?

A: Yes, as of now none of the camps that Jewish Camps USA work with have cancelled their summer, shortened their sessions or requested international staff not to attend camp.

Q: What should I do if camp cancels my position for this summer?

A: The hardest and most difficult decision any camp will ever have to make is to cancel camp. We are heartbroken and so upset that camp has been cancelled but this pandemic compels all of us to deal with forces beyond our control.

There is nothing more that we want to do than to provide a meaningful and safe Jewish camp experience. Camps will have made this decision with the health, safety, and well-being of its campers and staff as top priority. We would never have imagined having to write this as we love camp, our staff and the whole JCUSA community.  We wish more than ever for you to experience the magic of camp but the decisions have been made carefully, thoughtfully and in the best interests for you. We hope and pray that you will be at camp soon and until then here is the JCUSA cancellation policy.

If you have been affected by a camp cancellation our team will be in touch directly with you to discuss how you would like to proceed. If you have not been affected by a camp cancellation then your standard program agreement terms and conditions apply.

We believe in supporting our community during this difficult time and will offer four options for those affected by camp cancellations or the situation where travel bans are not lifted:

1. Find an alternative camp for summer 2020

If you are still interested in going to camp this year we will do our best to find you an alternative camp. However, it’s important to know that with the challenging and changing nature of coronavirus this may take longer than expected or may not be possible. If an alternative position is not possible you will still be eligible for the other options.

2. Defer to summer 2021

If you wish to defer your application to next summer we will transfer your application and the fees you have paid to summer 2021. If you want to go to the same camp, we will make sure you can have your position secured for summer 2021.

3. Donation towards Jewish Camps USA

At this horrific time, more than ever, we rely on our family and community for us to be able to continue to provide Jewish people around the world with the most life-changing and meaningful experience ever.

You can choose to donate some or all of your fees towards Jewish Camps USA. This will provide campers and staff with the opportunity to go to camp for future years and make a difference to the world which we live in. Your generosity and thought will not go unnoticed and everyone at Jewish Camps USA will be forever grateful for you playing a part in our future in providing communities with the chance to fulfil dreams, inspire future generations and give back to the world.

If you can donate, this will never be forgotten and you will be able to know that together we have done everything possible in our situation to continue to impact future staff and strengthen our community. You will impact lives in which we will owe so much to our participants, alumni and families. Thank you for all that you have done for the organisation in the past, present and for the future. Together we will come through these uncertain times and be stronger than ever and continue to thrive.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

4. See your refund options

The long-standing policy within our program agreement has always been, no refunds if there are cancellations due to events that are out of our control. These include natural disasters, sickness or quarantine or governmental restrictions and regulations.

However, we will review your options for a refund and this will be done on a case-by-case basis. Please note that this will not be a full refund and the amount you receive will be based on the services you have received, where you are up to on the program and how much you have paid. While the timing is difficult to know, we will work through these requests as quickly as possible.

Please be prepared that this process is not easy and due to the pandemic we are operating with reduced levels of staff. Refunds could take up to 2 months but please know that we can only pay back to the account that was used to originally pay. If we don’t hear back from you within 30 days of the email that we send to you following your camp cancellation, you will unfortunately no longer be eligible for a refund, but you can still transfer to Summer 2021.

Q: How are Jewish Camps USA making decisions about camp this?

A: We are staying informed on the latest recommendations made by relevant government, health, and travel agencies. These include:

  • The World Health Organization
  • The American and Canadian Governments and the U.S. Department of State
  • Each US State governors and health officials
  • The Foreign Office and Public Health authority of each participant’s home country
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines
  • The American Camp Association and Foundation for Jewish Camping

We are also relying on the experience of dedicated visa sponsors and camps.

Q: Can I withdraw from the program due to Coronavirus?

A: As the program is still going ahead this summer the standard terms and conditions of your programme agreement apply, including any eligibility for a refund. We highly recommend that you continue with your application. The long-standing policy within our program agreement has always been, no refunds if there are cancellations due to events that are out of our control. These include natural disasters, sickness or quarantine or governmental restrictions and regulations. However, we believe in supporting our community and the Jewish world and will review everyone on a case by case basis.

Q: I have not yet got my DS2019 (visa supporting documents) what should I do?
A: We can’t stress enough with a matter of urgency please send and submit all the documents Jewish Camps USA have requested so that we can process this ASAP.

Q: I have not yet gone to the Embassy to apply for my visa, what should I do?
A: Non-immigrant visa appointments at the U.S Embassy remain suspended – we expect appointments to resume soon after your home country government lifts the stay at home measures. Once we receive more information from the embassies we will update you.

Q:  My flights are booked and I have an arrival date scheduled on or before May 11, what should I do?
A: We suggest you wait for information about your new arrival date at camp prior to making any changes with your flight, airlines are very busy at the moment.

Q: My flight is not booked yet and I have an arrival date scheduled up to May 31, what should I do?
A: We suggest that you wait for information about your new arrival date at camp prior to booking any flights.

Q. Should I book my flights?
A. Our honest and transparent answer for now is to wait until further notice when we will be able to review and assess the latest information from the American and Canadian Governments and U.S. Department of State.

Q: My flights are booked prior to May 31, 2020 and I have a scheduled arrival date at camp on or after June 1.
A: Contact your airlines and find out their position on flight changes and if able to at the present time, change your flight to June 1 or later.

Q: What if I or someone else contracts the virus during the program?

All medical issues at camp will use the camp’s well-being guidelines. Each camp’s guidelines will be different, but will typically include access to the camp’s health center, medical professionals, and the support of local health authorities.

Q: If I contract Coronavirus whilst at camp, will I be covered by the medical insurance?
A: Yes, you will receive regular insurance coverage, provided you were not diagnosed with Coronavirus before starting your trip. The coverage is based on the Schedule of Benefits as outlined in the policy, and COVID-19 will be treated as any other illness or injury. If you are experiencing any symptoms of illness before departure, we ask that you follow your local health authority’s guidance.

Q: What should I do if I can’t get my medical form signed which camp has asked me to get?

A: Most practices around the world have advised people that they cannot provide a signed form due to the current circumstances.

Q: My lifeguard course was cancelled that I was meant to complete before I went to camp. What should I do?

A: Make sure you inform us and camp of this situation, but they will be understanding, so don’t worry.

Q: Is summer camp likely to happen?

A: The majority of our camps are still very excited to welcome international staff this summer, and are working on preparations for the summer ahead. Due to the unprecedented circumstances, it is highly likely that some camp programs will change and/or cancel. This may affect the length, the type of activities that run, or the amount of children at camp. We ask that you remain open minded and flexible in your approach to your camp and the summer.

Q: I still have JCUSA payments to make, should I pay it now or wait?

A: We understand that in the current climate, people may be anxious to pay, or want to wait until closer to the summer.

Q: What should I do now?

A: Based on the information we have you should proceed with your application and the process as normal.