Established in 1949, Shwayder Camp is the oldest Reform Jewish summer camp in the United States. Through the years campers look forward to returning to camp – their home away from home. Surrounded by friends and nature, campers can express themselves, explore new opportunities, develop their independence and have fun. Our community is a safe environment where all of our campers share a special bond with one another.
The mission of Shwayder Camp is to provide an environment that enables members of the camp community to create for themselves a meaningful Jewish life. By exemplifying Jewish values and traditions, we endeavor to build relationships, cultivate self-esteem, develop Jewish identity, inspire an appreciation for the wonder and beauty of the natural environment and promote the unique capabilities of each individual.
Our 242 acres of towering pine trees started as a fishing retreat owned by Maurice B. Shwayder, one of the founders of the Samsonite Luggage Company.
When he died in 1948, Shwayder’s widow, Ruth, donated the land to Temple Emanuel to be used specifically as a children’s summer camp. Her vision was to create a mountain enclave where children could live in nature, learn about Judaism and personalize the ideals of our Jewish community.
Since that time Shwayder Camp has had an impact on the lives of tens of thousands of Jewish youth from around the nation and the world. We have remained a small camp (our current capacity is 150 campers per session) where we can spend lots of time emphasizing our relationships – with ourselves, with our friends, and with God.