Camp Kee Tov (Berkeley, CA)
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Camp Kee Tov
We are interested in potentially sending our son to Camp Kee Tov this summer
however we would like more information. It does not look at though anyone has
posted a review about Camp Kee Tov for the past couple of years and we are
interested in feedback about your experience. As far as we can tell most kids and
families love Camp Kee Tov. Our son is 6 years old, he will be entering 2nd grade
next year. He does not like to be too hot and is fearful of bees, although
recently he has not spoken too much about them so we are hoping this has
dissipated. He is a pretty social guy, loves math, and likes chess. Is the whole
camp split up into different age groups and as such they go to different parks? Do
the campers of varying ages come together as a whole at all during the day? What
happens on rainy days? What about extended care from 3:00 pm-6:00 pm where is
this located and what do they do? Thank you.
I was the Director of Kee Tov many years ago (my son is now a counselor there); it's a
There is extended day care, both in the morning and after camp.
Camp spirit (we call it RUACH!) is a major part of camp for all ages -- songs, cheers,
dancing, all of it.
Rainy days are rare, but the camp has the run of the temple on those days.
Kee Tov is the best day camp in the East Bay, without question. Feel free to contact me
for more in depth information.
Oh, bees and heat: camp makes those things tolerable by being prepared and
My kids, now in 9th and 7th grade, have been going to Camp KeeTov since the summer
before they entered kindergarten. KeeTov is summer to them. My daughter is applying to
be a CIT now. The kids are divided into age groups, one or two grades per group, and
the activities and locations are correlated to the age groups. The youngest group,
entering kindergarten, for example, mostly stays right at BethEl all day and the oldest
group is adventuring out in the world - from backpacking to volunteer service, river
rafting to mini-golf. The activities become more outward focussed as the kids get older
and are ready for it. The camp is very aware and sensitive to what activities are age
appropriate. Because the synagogue itself isn't much of location, the groups go out on
busses each day to a local park, the pool, etc. There is lots of singing and just sort
of simple, low-tech classic summer camp activities. Art and Crafts, games, pool,
campfire, cooking, drama, etc. My kids have only had amazing experiences though I do
know one or two kids for whom it was just not a fit - very quiet, solitary kids, older
kids who don't want any structure, etc - but for most it is a blast. Both Zach, the
director, and Emily, another administrator, I am sure would be more than happy to answer
any and all of your questions. There are bees, quite naturally, in the parks so that is
a personal decision for you. The counselors are wonderful with the kids and I am sure
would do all they could to address your child's fears and needs. Hot? Well, when it is
hot (how hot to Berkeley summers ever get?) it is hot. If your child doesn't want to run
around when its hot then he probably will choose to sit or do shady, low-key activities.
The camps does get together for all camp shabbat but, at least to my memory, the kids
are mostly in their own units. Hope that helps.
A KeeTov Mama
I didn't see the original post but about Kee Tov I've had two opposite
experiences, and like most things in parenting, it proves that one size
doesn't fit all. My extroverted, very social, loud, sporty son loved Kee Tov
and went happily. He made friends and loved the activities. My introverted,
socially somewhat awkward, artsy daughter hated it and never wants to go
back. She didn't like the loud cheering and loud singing (she is very
musical), and messy day freaked her out. So it really depends on your child.
Since most people/kids are somewhat extroverted most seem to love it! I was
sad that it didn't work for my daughter but we've found other, quieter camps
that do. We're lucky to have so many great options around here.
I'm considering sending my 8-year-old son to Camp Kee-Tov and noticed that there
aren't any recent reviews in the archives. If you have sent your child to Camp
Kee-Tov in recent years, I would love to hear about your experience -- the good
and the not-so-good. In addition to the regular camp day, I'd love to hear
about the extended care program and the bus service.
My daughter has attended Camp Kee Tov for two summers now, and will return this
summer. It is hands-down her favorite camp. She adores the counselors and clearly has
a great deal of fun. It is the most camp-y of the day camps we have tried. She is
singing songs in Hebrew all the way to Christmas and beyond (and we're not Jewish).
The camp is extremely well-run. We use the bus service in the morning, which has gone
very smoothly, and we use the after-care program, which she loves. When I pick her up
in the afternoon, she is happy (and often dirty).
Kee Tov provides a fun, energetic and playful environment
that can't be matched! My son has been going to Camp Kee Tov
since Kindergarten. He is now in 6th grade and won't miss
it. (In fact, we tend to plan our summer vacations around
the Kee Tov schedule.) He has made friendships every year
since he started Kee Tov that have endured over the years
even when they don't go to the same school. Even kids who
have not attended the prior years are welcomed and fit right
in. The counselors and directors are what make this
possible! The kids love the counselors who are amazing role
models. (They are all college-bound and energetic. It's
amazing that Kee Tov can find such great counselors year
after year.) "Family Night" takes place the last evening of
each session and is always a fabulous way to close the
session. Parents get to see first-hand why the kids want to
keep coming back. It's always a little bittersweet as the
kids are just so sad that such a great time has to come to a
close. Many hugs are exchanged and tears shed as kids go
back to school and the counselors are off to college. I
can't recommend this camp more highly --it's one of the great
things about living in the East Bay.
Starting Camp Kee Tov before K
We are thinking of sending our son to Kee Tov for the first time
this summer. He is entering kindergarten but won't be 5 until
Sept. He didn't go to Beth El for preschool. Is he too young
for it? Is it too big, esp if he doesn't know anyone starting
with him? Any recommended alternatives if so?
Want a happy camper
My Sept birthday son attended Kee Tov the summer before starting
had a wonderful experience. He didn't know anyone before he started and
made friends. It was a great transition from preschool to K. The camp
is still always at
the top of his list for the summer.
Kee Tov Mom
Re: Looking for a Great Camp
To the Berkeley area parent looking for a great camp:
I would encourage you to check out Camp Kee Tov. It is a GREAT
camp and still has a few openings for this summer.
It is an ''imagination-oriented'' day camp, which (to me) means
that the kids spend the bulk of their time doing good old-
fashioned summertime fun things like: sing songs, play games,
do crafts, swim, hike, play sports, make up and perform skits
and plays, and generally have fun and be silly with their
friends. Many of the counselors were campers there themselves
and it has a very warm ''family'' feeling that the kids love.
Check out their website: http://www.campkeetov.org/
very happy Mom of 8-year-old camper
I've just heard from a reliable source that the fabulous, much
sought-after Camp Kee Tov still has a few open spots for this
summer. My son has been going to this camp for the past three
years and absolutely loves it! It is an ''imagination-based''
camp that relies on good old-fashioned fun things like skits,
arts and crafts, swimming and outdoor games. One of the best
things about the camp is the staff: a great group of positive
energetic fun-loving teenagers and young adults, many of whom
went to the camp for many years themselves. If you don't
already know about this wonderful, warm community, check out
their website at www.campkeetov.org.
I checked the archives and was surprised to see absolutely
nothing posted about Camp Kee Tov. I know that it is a very big
and popular camp, but I'm wondering if I can get any more info.
from anybody out there. My son is going into first grade. He
is a bit shy and takes a while to observe before jumping into
things. He's energetic and likes to run around, but also
enjoys and needs quiet down time. I'm wondering if he'll feel
overwhelmed by a big camp, the long days and bus rides. Does
anybody have any experience they can share?
Our son went to Camp Kee Tov a few years ago. It was a bit of a
tear jerker seeing him get onto the big yellow school bus at
the North Berkeley Library for the first time, but a very
convenient place to drop him off and pick him up! He enjoyed
the camp very much and we had a big family picnic at the end
for everyone to celebrate. It seemed like standard camp fun
fare. The only thing I personally disliked was ''Messy Day.'' He
came home with purple dye and shaving cream in his hair and it
took weeks to get all the purple out!!
My daughter, now in the second grade, will return to Camp Kee
Tov for her third summer this year and it has been great for
her. It is very well organized, there are lots of activities,
a reasonable amount of free time and terrific -- really, really
terrific -- counselors. My son, who is in kindergarten now, is
looking forward to his first summer and I'm sure that he will
love it. I will say that neither of my kids are particularly
shy, but I think that Kee Tov works for a wide range of
personalities, because the staff is so good.
It has been many years since my then 6 year old went to Camp Kee Tov.
I knew it was a very popular camp, had heard great things about it,
knew friends whose kids loved it, but it was not a good fit for my
child at this age. She, too, was quiet and shy. She didn't attend
Beth El preschool, so didn't know too many of the kids. She had a
hard time breaking into the social mix, and found the non-stop
activities too much for her. She had not experienced an all-day child
care type situation, and found the days much too long (I know it's
only 9-3, but her preschool had ended at noon, and kindergarten also
was only half day, so this was the longest time she was in a group
situation at that age). She found the bus rides interminible, the
activities were just not her thing, and while one of the counselors
was wonderful and really tried to engage her in activities, the rest
were quite busy with the other kids, and didn't have much time for
her. After a very long week and a half we pulled her out and chalked
it up to experience. It certainly soured her on day camps for many
My daughter who is pretty shy tried Kee Tov the summer after
kindergarten and hated it. But I have to say that almost all
the other kids that I know who went there (which is quite a few)
absolutely loved it and some of them are a bit on the shy side.
Most kids have a lot of fun. They keep them very busy and
active. My daughter found it to be too rowdy and too noisy on
the bus--they sing alot, but my daughter found it too loud. My
daughter, I learned much prefers the quieter camps focused on
arts and music or a single sport. It would probably help alot
if your son went with a friend (regardless of which camp he goes
to). The counselors and the director are all very nice and
accomodating but they agreed it probably wasn't the right camp
for my daughter, mostly because she wasn't happy there.
Hello, my name is Adam Schwartz, Director of Camp Kee Tov. I'm
happy to answer specific any questions about camp via email
(info at campkeetov.org) or phone (510-848-2372), and here is a
blurb for everyone:
Camp Kee Tov is celebrating its 40th summer this year with
another action packed and nature-filled calendar. We are an
''imagination-oriented'' Jewish summer day camp, spending much of
our time in the beautiful Tilden Park in Berkeley. Our camp is
for everyone - grades K-10 and all backgrounds. Kee Tov is based
on ''Ruach'' - the energetic spirit that our campers and
counselors share. Each summer we sing songs, play games,
overnight in the parks, swim, hike, play sports, perform skits
and plays, enjoy imaginative theme days, and have fun together.
This year, we have a beautiful new home in Berkeley and a new
program for 9th and 10th graders. This is one of the most
wonderful camps in the area, with a strong reputation and a
caring staff with outstanding camper-counselor ratios. This kind
of positivity and excitement is a rare experience for kids!
Camp Kee Tov has a before and after-camp care, a scholarship
fund, and a wide variety of programs.
info at campkeetov.org | 510-848-2372 | www.campkeetov.org
I was both a camper and counselor at Kee Tov. I am a quiet
person, more inclined towards sitting under a tree and drawing
than participating in high energy games. I even sometimes liked
running around, just not while my team cheered loudly for me to
reach the finish line. I'm also a slow adjuster to new
situations. As a six year old, Kee Tov was overwhelming - so
many kids, so many loud sing alongs on buses, so many different
activities - it was like a caucophany. My mother reports that I
fell asleep each night at 6 pm. I just remember feeling very
small. As a counselor, I had a fantastic time. I was old
enough to handle the high energy level. I also observed many
children who did not share my quiet, artistic temperment and for
whom Kee Tov was just pure FUN. It's a strong community with
much affection and joy but it's definately very energetic and
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