Camp Tawonga

Outside the Bay Area
Ages: 
School-Aged, Preteens, Teens, Adults
Capacity: 
300 participants
Affiliation: 
Jewish
Editors' Notes: 

Located near Groveland, CA

Camp Tawonga runs summer programs for children entering grades 2 through 12. Our weekend programs are open to singles, couples, and families.

Parent Q&A

  • Camp Tawonga family camp with a 3yo?

    (2 replies)

    We have friends that just told us about Camp Tawonga. We are considering going but wondering if going with a 3 year old child is not age appropriate. He is very clingy to us and not as independent as some toddlers. Has anyone had experience taking a very young toddler and how old and well trained are the counselors. Thanks ahead of time for you responses

    I've taken infants, toddlers and bigger kids to Tawonga for Family Camp.  All the staff is at least 18 years old and is  very well trained.  A three year old will have a blast!  I hope you get to go.

    We’ve been going since our older kid was an infant and love it. The counselors are wonderful, mature, and love babies. The camp is set up really nicely for young kids and I wouldn’t consider 3 that young. The biggest challenge for us has been that our little one, one was just 1 at the time, had a really hard time with separation last year, but he had a one to one counselor assigned to him who basically strollered him around until he fell asleep and then he woke up and she took him to do music, crafts, etc with his older brothers group of 3 year olds. Our older son thinks he owns the place! Last year our friends came for the first time and he was giving them tours!

Parent Reviews

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Camp Tawonga has "all gender cabins" for certain sessions. It's a Jewish camp near Yosemite. My non-binary teen went there before there were all gender cabins and felt very safe and supported. Some staff is trans or non-binary.  

You may want to check out the gender neutral cabin at Camp Tawonga. My kids have had wonderful experiences at Tawonga. 
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/22/us/summer-camp-gender-transgender.html 

Hello,

If your child would like a specifically trans/non-binary kids' camp, just in case you don't know about it, Camp Aranu'Tiq https://www.camparanutiq.org/camp-news/ is a camp in New Hampshire specifically for non-binary and trans kids up to age 13. Perhaps they would be a good resource to find other similar or inclusive camps.

More locally, Camp Tawonga is leading the way on this type of inclusion.  They have an all-gender cabin in at least one of their sessions.  It is a Jewish camp, but non-Jews are welcome and Jewish religion is not intense or expected (many of the Jewish kids are secular). My kids have gone there for years and it's a truly wonderful camp, extremely well-run, very fun, and holds the kids very well.  Their COVID practices sound very good too. They may be filled up for this summer, but perhaps they could recommend other camps that do well with this.  They may have room specifically in the all-gender cabin, so I would call their phone number to find out.  (Also feel free to ask the moderator to contact me about this camp.)

I've heard that Trackers is welcoming to non-binary kids, but I've just heard this second-hand.

Best of luck for a safe and affirming summer for your kid!

RE: Jewish Sleepaway Camp ()

Hello! I've heard wonderful things about Camp Tawonga from former counselors and campers. The camp is very welcoming, not super religious, and offers financial aid. Because the camp is right outside Yosemite, there's a big emphasis on the outdoors, with opportunities for backpacking and daily hikes. It sounds like a great place to spend a summer!

RE: Jewish Sleepaway Camp ()

My girls attended Camp Tawonga and really loved it. The cost is pretty comparable to the others and there are a number of financial aid options (as there are for all the Jewish camps, I think.) They have 1, 2, and 3 week sessions. A Taste of Camp (Session I) is a good way to start. It is only 5 days (Sun - Fri). If she's been away from home for a week or more already, you might want to do the 2 week session (Session II).

You can also get more info on ALL the Jewish camps at https://www.jewishcamp.org/one-happy-camper/

Camp Tawonga runs a Bar/Bat Mitzvah program.  According to their web page, "By incorporating nature, community building, social justice, and experiential Jewish learning into our program, we ensure this important milestone is individualized and accessible for each and every child."  We recently attended a Bat Mitzvah of a girl who did the program, and the family "story" seems similar to what you describe.  It was a lovely and positive Bat Mitzvah, both for the guests and (as far as we could tell) the participants.  Their web page is: https://tawonga.org/programs/bnai-mitzvah-program/

Archived Q&A and Reviews


    Feb 2007

    Re: Berkeley Family Camp v. Camp It Up?
    I haven't heard anything about Berkeley Family Camp or Camp It Up, but I do know of a great LGBT Family Camp program. Camp Tawonga, a Jewish Summer Camp, offers a few different Family Camp Weekend and last year their LGBT one was great! Even if you are not Jewish it is a very welcoming environment, plus it's just outside Yosemite so there is the great location too. The weekend is called Keshet and this year it's over Labor Day Weekend, check it out at http://www.tawonga.org/weekend-programs/keshet.php. Hope this helps.... Kenna


    Jan 2003

    Re: Sleepaway camp for 10-year-old
    Camp Tawonga is a great sleepaway camp in the Sierra's, a few miles north of Groveland. It's a Jewish camp, but not terribly religious. My almost 12 year old son went for 2 weeks last year and will go for 3 weeks this year. The first thing he said to me when he got off the bus last year to come home was ''Next year I want to go for 3 weeks''. They have an office in SF.Good luck, June