COVID-19 Information & FAQ


Testimonials from our CMC Families

My daughter has been RAVING about her 2 weeks. She hasn't stopped recounting story after story. The Embassy Game was the highlight for her. One of the first questions she asked on our way home was: Can I go back next year? The best testament for a wonderful time. She LOVED it - Camp Parent, San Diego

CMC's major strength is to allow my young teenager to explore and understand who he is in a safe and happy environment - Camp Parent, Phoenix

CMC gives my child a sense of confidence in herself - Camp Parent, Los Angeles

COVID-19 Information & FAQ

Date: 6/24/2020
Dear Camp Mountain Chai Community,

Camp Mountain Chai has been nourishing the hearts and souls of Jewish youth for 14 summers. This year, for the first time in our history, we will not hear the voices of our children singing Shabbat songs echoing across the mountain or see joyous hugs from reunited friends. Our camp family is heartbroken.

As has been the case for countless organizations and non-profits, the impact of COVID-19 has been profound for Camp Mountain Chai. We suspended our retreat business in early March and made the painful and difficult decision to cancel this summer’s camp season. Based on guidance from state and local health departments, we expect that it will still be months before we are able to gather again in-person in large numbers. As a result, we are suspending all in-person programs on our camp property until spring 2021.

We are projecting to lose over 90% of our program revenue for this fiscal year. Despite our best efforts to reduce expenses wherever possible, we were sadly unable to avoid the necessity of eliminating staff positions at Alpine Meadows Retreat Center, effective July 1st. These long-term staff represent more than 50 years of service to our community. Staff were offered a severance payment in recognition of their length of service. We also received support from the San Diego Jewish Community COVID-19 Emergency Fund to provide additional benefits coverage.

Additionally, to maintain our fiscal health, the Camp Mountain Chai team, except for Beth, will be furloughed for the month of July. As our Program Director, Beth will continue to provide meaningful virtual engagement experiences for our campers throughout the summer. We will continue to answer and reply to emails and voicemails.

We are exploring alternative options and locations for Women’s Weekend and Winter Camp. In advance of opening for camp, we are planning to resume retreats, including Family Camp, beginning April 2021. More information on all these events to follow in the coming weeks.

We are making every effort to preserve Camp Mountain Chai as a home-away-from-home for our children, and every donation will help. With your support we are confident that we will emerge from this unprecedented situation “CMC strong” and will continue to fulfill our mission of instilling the joy and community of Judaism in our next generation.


David Bark, Board President
Buddy Voit, Executive Director


Date: 5/7/2020

Dear Camp Mountain Chai Families, Staff and Community,

Over the past weeks and months, we have monitored the COVID-19 pandemic very closely, speaking regularly with public health experts including the CDC and San Bernardino Department of Public Health, to understand how it may impact our 2020 summer season. To prepare, we have put an incredible amount of effort into planning, modifying our operations, and taking every measure possible to ensure the health and safety of our camp community. We’ve known the situation would impact camp in some way, and we’ve spent countless hours each day talking through any option that would allow us to be together in-person this summer. In following the guidance of state and local health officials and in doing our part in keeping our camp community safe, we have made the painful and difficult decision to cancel this summer’s camp season.

The health and safety of everyone in our camp community is always our highest priority. This includes our professional and summer staff, the returning campers who love their summers spent at CMC, the new campers who were looking forward to their first overnight camp experience, their families at home, and others who are connected to us. Simply, we had to ask: “Can we keep you safe?” We just don’t know, and that’s not good enough. Our questions are many, and solutions are not expected in time for us to operate at our standard of safety this summer. We are heartbroken, of course, but this pandemic compels all of us to deal with forces beyond our control. We are thinking of each one of you in light of this disappointing news and we are here for you. We are all strongly and deeply devoted to the Camp Mountain Chai community — not just during the summer but throughout the year and especially at this challenging time.

Camp Mountain Chai builds community, and we do it by bringing people together. As wonderful as technology has been in connecting our community in recent weeks, we know that the power of camp is much greater. So many of the hallmarks of CMC that you and your kids know and love — inspiring a love of Jewish living, fostering a strong sense of responsibility and independence, and shaping memories that will last a lifetime — are predicated on cheering together at degel, celebrating Shabbat overlooking the tall green mountains, climbing high on the ropes course, singing siyum around the campfire, and playing with friends in the cabin. We’re already looking forward to creating the best-ever camp program for 2021, and we know that when we’re back together, we will pick up right where we left off!

In the meantime, Camp Mountain Chai never stops, and we are not waiting for 2021 to be our next time together. We will continue to provide regular online engagement opportunities, and, when appropriate, bring our community together in-person. While they are no substitutes for the real thing, these events will keep us all connected. We continue Saturday night, May 9th at 8pm PDT with our next CMC Virtual Havdallah. Please click here to register.

For those of you currently registered for Camp Mountain Chai, you will receive another email from us tomorrow morning regarding your registration. As promised, we will offer refunds for camp registration fees paid to date. Alternately, you may choose to donate fees paid to Camp Mountain Chai’s COVID-19 Response Fund and/or rollover the fees to a future program, including next summer. For more information, please visit the COVID-19 FAQ section of our website.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us. We’ll be happy to answer your questions as best we can at this time and in this era of so many unknowns. We appreciate your patience, partnership, and on-going support, and we look forward to being in touch again.

Stay healthy, stay safe, stay strong.


David Bark, Board President
Buddy Voit, Executive Director
Dan Baer, Camp Director

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

What happens to camp fees I’ve already paid?
We recognize these are difficult economic times. We want to remain financially sensitive and offer a range of options to meet the various needs of our community. Camp families will receive an email with a link to a form to indicate their preference.

Option #1: Pay it forward, if you are in a position to help.
Not only is this heartbreaking for our many camp families, it has a severe effect on our financial operations as our main source of income is gone. The heartache and disappointment of cancelling our summer season, outdoor education programs, and year-round retreats feels overwhelming. Please help if you can. By donating all or a part of your 2020 camp tuition, you can ensure that CMC will be there to provide life-changing camp experiences in 2021 and for many years to come.

Thanks to the generosity of the Rae and Ed (z”l) Samiljan Family Fund and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, every $1 of tuition donated will be matched with an additional $2 (for a total of $3 to CMC). These matched (tax deductible) donations will ensure that Camp Mountain Chai has incoming funds to reimburse families in need and enable the organization to continue its mission.

Option #2: Rollover payment to next summer or future CMC programs – we want you back!
Tuition paid will remain as a credit on your account for future programs. This option helps stabilize Camp Mountain Chai’s financial position and meet short-term cash flow needs. If your financial situation changes and you would prefer to request a refund, you can do so through October 31, 2020.

Option #3: Refund – these are difficult economic times.
Upon request, we will refund the full amount that you have paid toward enrollment for the summer of 2020. We will work our best to expedite your request; please recognize it may take 60-90 days to begin processing refunds. Refunds will be processed by paper check in order to save on the processing fees.

Option #4: Combination of the above – each option resonates.
In whatever way this feels most comfortable, please select a combination of Option #1, Option #2, and/or Option #3 (donate, roll over, refund). Please know that, prior to (and throughout) the COVID-19 crisis, CMC has incurred significant expenses in order to prepare for the summer; thus, any ability to roll over or donate (with matching funds) is greatly appreciated.

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If I choose to roll over my payments, for what programs can I use the credit?
Your credit may be used towards any CMC program between now and August 2022. This includes future summer sessions, Women’s Weekend, Winter Camp, Family Camp, and Grandparent’s Weekend. Your credit can be used for any member of your household/immediate family.

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What happens to my scholarship award?
We continue to strive to make camp accessible to all. We understand that as financial situations may change each year, we ask that you re-apply next year should you and your family need financial assistance. This summer’s scholarships will not be rolled over to any future years. Any scholarship amount that came from your synagogue or other sources, will be refunded directly back to those organizations from CMC.

**We will be in touch with Kavanah families about the Jewish Teen Initiative grant.

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What happens to my One Happy Camper grant?
One Happy Camper is a program supporting first time campers attending Jewish overnight summer camp. As a result of camp not happening for this summer, the grants will be canceled in order to maintain your eligibility for the future. You will not be penalized for applying this year, and you will be eligible to receive the grant next year. While we are still awaiting details from Foundation for Jewish Camp and One Happy Camper, you will likely need to reapply next year after your camper is enrolled.

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Will there be Grandparent’s Weekend (September)?
With many grandparents considered to be in the vulnerable population, we have decided to postpone this fall’s Grandparent’s Weekend. We will reschedule it for a future date.

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Will there be Women’s Weekend (October), Winter Camp (December), and/or Family Camp (Spring 2021)?
We are exploring alternative options and locations for Women’s Weekend and Winter Camp. In advance of opening for camp, we are planning to resume retreats, including Family Camp, beginning April 2021. More information on all these events to follow in the coming weeks.

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Are we planning any alternative programs for kids this summer, virtual or in-person?
Camp Mountain Chai never stops, and we are not waiting for 2021 to be our next time together. We will continue to provide regular online engagement opportunities, and when appropriate, bring our community together in-person. While there is no substitute for the real thing, they will keep us all connected. This continues Saturday night, May 9th, at 8pm with CMC Virtual Havdallah. Please see your email for registration instructions.

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Will my child still get their 3/5/10 year item?
Don’t worry, we have thought about you! We know that many of you were looking forward to receiving your 3-year shirt, 5-year jacket, or 10-year bag. If you return to Camp in 2021 or any other year, you will receive credit for that year, as well as 2020. So, if you were supposed to get a 3-year shirt this 2020 summer and you come back to Camp next summer for 2021, you’ll get your 3-year shirt AND also be credited as being at Camp for your fourth summer. If 2020 was supposed to be your fourth summer at CMC, you will still get your 5-year jacket in summer 2021! If 2020 was supposed to be your first summer at Camp Mountain Chai, and you keep coming back every year after this, you’ll get your 3-year shirt in 2022.

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This was supposed to be my 10th grade Atid summer. Can I come back next year instead?
We know that for this age group this news is especially disappointing. We hope you consider joining our Kavanah program for summer 2021, and we are considering a number of other options as well to ensure the pinnacle of your CMC experience is not lost. We plan to include you in the process and get your feedback in the coming weeks.

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Will I still be able to give my 10th grade Atid speech?
We have thought about you too! Yes, we are looking into different options for this, including virtual and in-person. We will get back to you in the coming weeks.

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My camper was not able to have their first CMC experience this summer, can my child attend a one-week session next summer, even if they are going to be entering 5th grade?
Yes. Our one-week Rishonim sessions will be available for campers entering 2nd through 5th grade in summer 2021.

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What happens to Kavanah
We have postponed the international portion of the trip with the hopes of running it over winter break or during summer 2021. Our priority is to accommodate those who are already registered for Kavanah. We are surveying those families to help us determine when the program will run. Should space be available, we will open both the summer and winter programs to those who weren’t already registered. We will keep you posted, but likely won’t have any information for a couple of weeks. We still plan to run the 2021 trip for rising 11th grade campers as well. Families enrolled in Kavanah can also choose from the above financial options.

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How can I support Camp Mountain Chai?
Camp Mountain Chai is a non-profit organization and we encourage you to take part in our big plans for the future and to support Camp Mountain Chai.  Click here to make a donation.

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Is my contribution to Camp Mountain Chai tax deductible?
Yes. Camp Mountain Chai is an IRS designated 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization. Donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

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