Frequently Asked Questions
Camp Seneca Lake is located in Penn Yan, NY in the Finger Lakes Region of upstate New York. It is about an hour from Rochester NY, 1 ½ hours from Syracuse NY, and about 2 hours from Buffalo, NY. CSL is situated right on the shorefront of the beautiful Seneca Lake.
The camp season operates for 8 weeks. There are two core sessions. Session 1 is 4 weeks and session 2 is 3 weeks. First time campers can also choose to attend a 1 week session called Taste of Camp. Campers are welcome to extend their stay, space permitting. For more information about our dates and rates, please click here.
Camp Seneca Lake proudly partners with WOLfoods for food service. WOLfoods utilizes professionally trained chefs. Our mission, in partnership with WOLfoods, is to deliver excellent, healthy and delicious meals prepared by expert chefs and classically trained professionals certified in nutrition and sanitation.
Food at camp is an integral part of the CSL experience. After all, we eat three meals a day at camp! Our camp is a kosher-style facility. While we do not maintain a supervised Kosher kitchen, we do not mix meat and dairy at meals. Our kitchen only serves products with an approved kosher marking (hechsher), and is peanut, tree-nut, and sesame free. Our carefully prepared menus are “kid-friendly” and varied. There is always something healthy and delicious to eat.
We will work with you and your family to ensure that your child’s dietary needs are met. We are prepared to fully accommodate vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, and other dietary restrictions if properly noted on registration and medical forms. For more information about health and nutrition at CSL, please click here.
Every child is different. Our youngest campers are entering third grade in the fall after their first summer at camp. Some indications that your child may be ready include: are they looking forward to going to camp? Do they have successful sleepovers with friends at their house and their friend’s houses? Our Camp Director is happy to speak with you about your concerns in order to make the best decision for you and your child.
Camp Seneca Lake prides ourselves on selecting mature, well-trained staff professionals. Many of our staff were campers themselves and are dedicated to creating the positive and impactful camp experience they had for the next generation of CSL campers. We personally interview every single staff member and require strong references, positive experiences working with children and a dedication to camp and their camper’s well-being. All staff hold at least a high school diploma or equivalent.
Our cabin placements are based on the grade the camper will be entering in the fall. Living with their peers, allows campers to grow together as a group during their summer at CSL.
When we are making cabin assignments, we work hard to get to know your camper as a whole person. We do this by listening and reading what you tell us about your child on their forms required before camp. We want to make sure we are creating the best environment possible for our campers so detailed, completed forms help us do this. You also have the opportunity to request your child be bunked with up to three bunkmates. Although we do our best to honor these requests, they cannot be guaranteed.
Friday morning follows our standard day-to-day schedule. We have an extended shower-hour to prepare camp and our campers for Shabbat. The entire camp community participates in a special Friday night service and then enjoys a delicious and traditional Shabbat meal. After dinner, our camp celebrates Shabbat at our lakeside fire circle.
On Saturday our campers get to sleep in and enjoy a family style breakfast. Shabbat services take place after breakfast in “Golden View” overlooking Seneca Lake. Saturday afternoon is highlighted by special activities called Shabbat Choice where campers can choose from a variety of special program options. After dinner, Shabbat concludes with a beautiful and meaningful Havdalah ceremony in which the entire camp community participates.
Camp Seneca Lake welcomes all children and teens, regardless of religious affiliation or education. Our campers range from those with Jewish day school education to those for whom CSL is the only exposure to Judaism. Campers are encouraged to explore their cultural, traditional and religious heritage in a warm and supportive environment. For more information on Judaism at CSL, please click here.
Chaperoned bussing is offered on the first and last day of each core session from the Rochester JCC and the Buffalo JCC. Transportation to and from surrounding cities may be added depending based on enrollment numbers from each city. Families may also drop off their camper on the first day of the session at CSL. If arriving by air, please contact the camp office directly to facilitate travel to camp.
The CSL Health Center is staffed by trained medical professionals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
For everyday incidents such as minor cuts, scrapes, and illnesses or if your child is given over the counter medications which you have previously approved, you will not be notified. In the event that your child is dealing with one of these issues when it is time to leave camp, we will be sure to inform you.
The Medical Staff will be available during the week immediately before camp to discuss any medical concerns you may have. For more information, please click here.
Camp Seneca Lake seeks to promote healthy self-images, individual expression, and promote the Jewish value of modesty. All members of the CSL community are always expected to be appropriately dressed to both represent the camp values and participate fully in all scheduled camp activities. Campers and staff wear comfortable & casual clothing like t-shirts and shorts while at camp. A complete list of recommended clothing and items can be found on our 2023 Packing List.
Laundry will be done once per 3-week session and once during intersession for those campers staying at camp. Every effort is made to ensure careful handling, however, please avoid sending articles of clothing that are delicate or may require special handling and care. Please label everything!
Going beyond the daily blogs and photos you receive, we encourage families to be in communication with your camper. CSL uses a system called Campanion where campers can receive emails from their families which are printed and delivered daily. Campers are able to write back by hand using specially barcoded forms which allow you to get a response within 24 hours.
Don’t count out the value of real mail or snail mail! Campers love receiving post cards and letters from loved ones. Send your camper with pre-addressed/stamped envelopes to making writing home a breeze. Or, use this as a learning opportunity to teach your camper how to mail a letter at home before they come to camp
Yes! At CSL we work hard to maintain an accessible and open line of communication with our parents. If you have questions or concerns, please contact us.
Parents and other relatives are not allowed to visit their children while they are campers. You are welcome to drop off your camper at the beginning of the session or to pick up your camper at the end of the session to tour camp. For Senior Campers, we offer a visiting day on the last day of Session 1.
Please call our office with any questions or to speak with our Camp Director. We can be reached at 315-536-9981 or by emailing [email protected].
Yes. As part of the JCC of Greater Rochester, Camp Seneca Lake is a non-profit organization. Donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. Our tax ID number is 16-0743060.