Mission / History
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 family was amazed at John’s enthusiastic embracement of his Jewish identity at this camp. He told us that it was his best experience in a Jewish educational setting. He left the camp with a very positive attitude about his Jewish heritage. After his Bar Mitzvah, he had shown the typical lack of interest in Jewish educational activities and we were surprised when he told us he wanted to go to Shwayder Camp. At the camp he made some “great” friends and he is now talking about traveling to Israel with them with Birthright. This has been a pivotal experience in his life.” — 2013 Camper Parent
Magic at 10,200 feet!
Shwayder is one of the oldest Reform Jewish summer camps in the United States. 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. For five generations, the community of Shwayder Camp has provided, “A Summer to Build Your Life On.”
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. All of our activities exist within the framework of building a community where everyone is valued, everyone is loved, and everyone has the chance to excel.
The deep connection my children feel to their own Judaism-being proud of, exploring, and embracing it-will stay with them long after the last game of GaGa has been played!”
— Susie, Denver, parent of two happy campers