Camp TOV FAQ

What do the campers do?

Each day starts with an icebreaker, a service-learning activity and explanation of that day's volunteer project. Daily hands-on projects range from visiting the elderly to making up food packages to working with the disabled and the environment. Later, campers get to talk about what they are doing, its significance, and how they reacted to it. And all day, every day, they interact with one another, making new friends and building new relationships.

Where is the camp located?

Camp TOV is a day camp on wheels. Some programming is held at JUF's headquarters at 30 South Wells Street, in downtown Chicago, but most of the time is spent at volunteer project sites throughout the greater Chicago area.

How old do teens have to be to participate?

The programming and projects are geared towards teens entering 7th through 12th grade for the upcoming school year.

How do you decide where the teens will volunteer?

Projects are picked because they are fun, meaningful and age-appropriate for teens. We also consider each agency's ability to accommodate a large group of teens, along with its location and age requirements.

What is the timing like for each day?

Depending upon which pick-up location is used, each day will start between 8am and 8:30am. Campers will be dropped back off at the same location around 3:30pm with the exception of the undernighter evening. The undernighter will take place during one day of each session; will start later between 9am and 9:30am and go until about 8:30pm so that campers will be able to serve dinner at community kitchens.

How many campers will there be?

We anticipate 40 teen campers each session.

Who is the staff of Camp TOV? Is there adult supervision?

Camp TOV is staffed full-time by a core group of veteran JUF professionals who are joined by other JUF staff, Jewish youth professionals and college-age counselors. Staff selections are based on experience and ability to work well with teens.

Can I meet the staff before my child goes to camp?

Yes! The lead professional staff definitely hopes to meet you before camp, at one of the two parent orientations held about a month before the sessions begin. We will provide dates as soon as possible and look forward to seeing you there. At least one parent or guardian for each child must attend one of the orientation sessions. We present a lot of information there, including the camp and transportation schedule, and encourage you to bring your questions.

Can my child participate in both weeks of Camp TOV?

No. Camp TOV offers the same volunteer experiences each week, and our goal is to accommodate as many teens as possible.

How do I register?

All registration is online. Fill out the online form for each camper you wish to register. Space is limited, and registration is first come, first served. Spots will not be held until online registration and full payment have been received. Registration is not complete, however, until the medical, code of conduct, and photo release forms have been submitted.

What is the cost of the program?

For Camp TOV: Early Bird: February 15-April 30: $300 // Regular: May 1-July 25: $335

The program cost includes transportation, two daily kosher (CRC certified) snacks, lunch for one day, one dinner during the evening program, two Camp TOV t-shirts and all programming and curriculum. $18 of the program cost will be donated to JUF's Annual Campaign.

For Mini Camp TOV: $125 

When are the final payment, medical forms, code of conduct, and photo release forms due?

Payment is due during online registration. The forms are due within two weeks of registration.

Does the health form have to be signed by a doctor?

No. But please provide up-to-date and complete medical information.

Can my teen participate with their friends?

Absolutely. While spots can't be held for friends, all they have to do is sign up online for the same week of Camp TOV. Everyone participates in the same large-group activities. But since we encourage branching out and meeting other teens, friends may not be together during some short, small-group activities.

Can campers with special needs attend Camp TOV?

Camp TOV accepts all teens who can handle hands-on volunteer projects and interact with other teens and specialized populations. If your child has special needs, please complete the registration form, medical form and camper information sheet so we can best serve him or her. Camp TOV has welcomed children with learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD and partial hearing loss.

What if I don't live near any transportation drop-off points?

Depending upon where each session's campers live, pick-up points will include Union Station and/or the Ogilvie Transportation Center, which are served by most Metra lines. For those living in the city, pick-ups from CTA L train stops can also be arranged.

What if my teen has a schedule conflict during one of the days of camp or needs to leave early?

We encourage full participation for all five days of Camp TOV, but understand there can be unavoidable conflicts. If this is the case, we can make special accommodations. Please call 312-444-2867 or email TOVTeen@juf.org to discuss arrangements. We ask that you please coordinate these special circumstances with Camp TOV staff before camp begins.

If your camper isn't traveling to or from the volunteer project with the group, parents must provide transportation to or from the volunteer site. This may require written approval. No refunds will be given for time missed.

How are meals handled?

Snacks are provided every day and lunch will be provided the first day for everyone. Dinner will also be provided for everyone during the undernighter. Campers should bring their own kosher style bagged lunch.  If your child has food allergies or restrictions, please include that information within your teen's medical forms and/or call 312-444-2867 or email TOVTeen@juf.org.

What should my child wear?

All campers will be given two Camp TOV T-shirts. Campers will be required to wear this T-shirt and closed-toe shoes every day. Campers can wear jeans, pants, shorts or skirts. Our community upholds respect and honor for each individual. To maintain this standard, please do not wear any clothing that is strapless, or reveals your midriff or undergarments. No clothing should display graphics of drugs, alcohol, profanity or violent acts. If a camper chooses to wear a skirt, it must come at least to the knees. Any special circumstances regarding the dress code will be discussed during the parent orientation.

Are scholarships available?

Limited, partial scholarships are available. Call 312-444-2867 or email TOVTeen@juf.org for details and an application.

What is the cancellation policy?

For Camp TOV: Prior to Friday, July 14th, your registration fee will be returned, minus a $50 processing fee. After July 14th, there will be no reimbursements for cancellation.

For Mini Camp TOV: Prior to Friday June 12th, your registration fee will be returned, minus a $25 processing fee. After June 12th, there will be no reimbursements for cancellation.