Frequently asked questions

We are happy to answer all of your questions about the summer. If you don't see an answer to your question below, feel free to contact us directly at campyalla2020@gmail.com.

1. What time of the day will camp activities be offered?

The Camp Yalla team is based on the east coast, so programming will be catered toward Eastern Standard / Daylight Time. Campers on Central (Daylight) Time should have no problem joining in, as morning activities will not start before 9 AM EST. Once camper registration is complete, we'll be able to release a more detailed schedule so that you know the time of each bunk and elective activity.

If you're located in a different timezone from those listed above, please let us know by filling out our free trial sign up form. If we have enough campers around the same age on Pacific Time, for example, we will be able to run a bunk activity for those campers at a later hour each morning.

2. How much does it cost to register my child for Camp Yalla?

We could not be more excited to have your camper aboard! Each 2-week session is $315 per camper, and we offer a $50 discounts when campers register for all 6-weeks. Not sure if you’re sold? No worries! Camp Yalla will launch a free trial period on three Fridays in June (6/12, 6/19, and 6/26), so that parents can see whether their kids enjoy the format, and decide whether or not to register for the summer.

To register your campers, head to our "register" page and follow the instructions there. See you this summer!

3. My child feels burnt out after taking months of academic classes on Zoom. How will they stay engaged with Zoom camp activities?

While academic classes can often feel like a chore, the activities at Camp Yalla are geared toward fun and play. Campers opt-in to electives that suit their interests and give them a sense of ownership over their day. In addition, our Yalla counselors are all former camp counselors and campers themselves and are motivated, and quite eager, to cultivate the best summer experience for your children.

Our staff has been surveying and researching what has been successful educationally over Zoom so far, and we are excited to incorporate that into our camp, as well as re-evaluate the Zoom models that have been less successful.

4. How will you keep a group of campers under control over Zoom?

Thankfully, teachers have already learned a lot about virtual programming over the past few months in quarantine. Rather than start from scratch, we interviewed elementary and middle school teachers to better understand their challenges and success stories. Yalla applies all of the best practices gleaned from the experience of online teachers, and while this is a big experiment, we expect the online format to become smoother as campers and staff learn throughout the summer.

Our Zoom protocol includes a camp quiet signal, limited group sizes, and intensive staff training so that all counselors are familiar with the intricacies of video conferencing. In addition to the elective leader, there is also a general counselor in each elective activity to keep the peace, and help individual campers with any IT issues that may arise.

5. Why would I want my child to have more screen time?

When the COVID-19 pandemic made in-person social experiences nearly impossible, our team felt determined to create an innovative at-home solution for summer fun. Camp Yalla enables kids to form friendships and actively engage with a camp community despite their physical separation. Yalla activities require a screen, but our programming is much more interactive and social than other screen-based options.

During each summer session, campers are assigned pen pals their age, so they can exchange letters using fun fill-in-the-blank templates. Each camp day, we suggest break-time activities for campers to complete on their own time between Zoom activities. Through the pen pal and break-time activity programs, the Camp Yalla experience extends beyond the computer screen and provides campers with plenty of structured fun to fill the day.

6. What if we have summer plans and my child has to miss part of a session?

Luckily, Camp Yalla runs for three 2-week sessions from July 6th to August 14th. If there is a week or two during the summer when your child is unavailable, he/she can join the other summer sessions. Each 2-week session has a unique theme and different elective activities. We also document and share our activity playbook with registered camp families, so that parents of campers who miss an activity are able to recreate the activity at home.

7. How can I make sure that my child enjoys the virtual camp format before paying the registration fee?

We understand that Camp Yalla is a completely new format for interactive entertainment, and want to provide you with as much assurance as possible before the summer begins. We offer three Free Trial Fridays in June (6/12, 6/19, and 6/26) that can serve as opportunities for your children to experience an activity, and decide whether they want to be campers.

* Update: Due to popular demand, we are offering one last free trial on Tuesday 6/30. Sign up here!

8. Will I have to supervise my child during camp activities?

This depends on your child's familiarity with technology. We know that many 8-12 year old children are well-versed in Zoom video, as they've had some experience with online school. Since Yalla activities are run by high-energy counselors, capped at 90 minutes, and include movement breaks, they are intentionally crafted to keep the attention of young campers. We hope that parents use Camp Yalla's hours of programming as much-deserved chances to relax!

9. We are not very religious. What kind of Jewish programming will you offer and will it be optional?

Campers at Yalla come from a variety of religious backgrounds, so our non-denominational Jewish programming is less focused on religious traditions, and instead geared towards creating Jewish connection. Our optional Shabbat and Havdallah services are full of popular Jewish songs, and available to all camp families who want to experience the holiday with the rest of the Yalla community. Each week, you will receive a Camp Yalla newsletter with a kid-friendly blurb about the week's parsha, as well as other optional shabbat activities to keep your campers engaged. We will also use hebrew words to refer to certain full-camp traditions so that campers leave the summer with a better grasp on the language. For instance, the name of our camp includes the arabic word "yalla" which has been adopted by modern hebrew to mean "let's go!" or “let’s do this.”

Our hope is that these cultural Jewish elements will inspire campers to associate Judaism with fun. This is the conclusion we came to after attending Jewish sleepaway camp, and one reason why camp was such a meaningful part of our childhood.

10. How do you choose your staff members?

When recruiting counselors, we looked for people with limitless creativity, positive energy, a love of summer camp, the ability to thrive under pressure, infinite flexibility, and experience managing young kids. Camp Yalla counselors go through a rigorous interview process and multiple training sessions to ensure they are ready to roll when the summer begins.

11. My child already has camp friends and they would like to join a bunk together. Is that possible?

We are definitely considering this possibility, and will keep you updated as soon as we have a better count of campers signed up for summer sessions in each age group. When you fill out your post-registration survey for the summer, be sure to list the names of the rest of your child’s friends so that we can try to put them in a bunk together.

12. What types of elective activities will you offer?

We are still finalizing our elective programming, but plan to offer a wide variety of activities to cover the range of interests amongst our campers. Electives will be offered in subjects like dance, music production, no-bake baking, improv comedy, yoga, boxing, theatre, magic, and more. If your child has particular interests that you want to make sure we cover through electives, please let us know by sending an email to campyalla2020@gmail.com.

13. My child has special needs - is Camp Yalla the right environment for them?

Camp Yalla is committed to fostering a camp setting that is welcoming and engaging for all children, including those with disabilities. We strive to maintain an inclusive and diverse camp setting, and want to work with you and your child to ensure the best camp experience. Enrollment of campers with disabilities is made on an individual basis to ensure that we are meeting the needs of your camper, and guaranteeing a successful summer for all. Please contact campyalla2020@gmail.com so we can connect with you and your prospective camper and figure out whether Camp Yalla is the best fit.