First-Time Campers

After "Get Your Feet Wet," I saw my child in a completely different way: much more capable, adventurous and open to new things.

– SLC Parent

First-Time Campers

SLC offers different ways for first-time campers to join in and feel at home! Families, we’re always glad to chat with you by video, phone, or in-person about camp, your child, your priorities, and any questions you have about our approach, tuition assistance, and more. Options include:

Tours, Zoom & Home Visits

We are happy to schedule tours of camp, a phone call, or zoom with one of our directors.  We will also meet with your child to answer any questions they may have and get to know each other.

We suggest you watch our  camp video with your child before me meet.


Choose Your Ideal Session

Dive in! Give your child all that Surprise Lake Camp offers. In 5, 3 or 8 weeks, your child can fully settle into camp life—and make deep friendships that enrich your child’s sense of community all year.

Staff are fully trained in how to support both first-time and long-time campers, integrating everyone fully into the unit, group and bunk from the first moments of camp.

Sessions - Dates and Tuition

2022 Dates

Full SummerTuesday, June 28 – Sunday, August 21
Session OneTuesday, June 28 – Sunday, July 31
Session TwoTuesday, August 2 – Sunday August 21
Get Your Feet Wet • K-4th gradersWednesday, August 24 - Sunday, August 28
Rookie Day • K-5th gradersSunday, August 14th


Regular TuitionNew Family Discount
Full Summer
Session One
Session Two
Get Your Feet Wet
Rookie Day

*SLC will apply this entire amount toward future tuition—making Get Your Feet Wet effectively free—if you choose to re-enroll your camper in a Summer 2023 session by August 31, 2022!

Get Your Feet Wet: 5 Days

For current K-4th graders • August 24 – 28, 2022

Wrap up your current K-4th grader’s summer with Get Your Feet Wet. This mini-adventure helps your child dip their toe into the magic of sleepaway camp. Campers will experience a hike, a Shabbat program, a campfire and s’mores, daily swims in our lake or pool, an ice cream sundae party, singing, ballfield activities, boating, arts & crafts, drama, and much more!  

Get Your Feet Wet is staffed by dedicated volunteer alumni and hand-picked summer staff members who bring with them electric energy! Aquatics are supervised by certified lifeguards and a nurse is present at all times. Spirit, caring, and outstanding supervision are guaranteed.

Questions about Get Your Feet Wet? Email us or call 845-265-3616.

If your child loves SLC, then Get Your Feet Wet can be effectively free: Families who take part in Get Your Feet Wet and then register their camper(s) for the following summer will receive their entire Get Your Feet Wet tuition as a credit toward the following summer.

Rookie Day

Try camp for a day!  Our Rookies will get to experience the magic of Surprise Lake Camp as they participate in a typical day of activities, while traveling with their own camp group (lunch will be provided).

After checking in your child and waving a quick goodbye, we invite all parents to take a tour of camp with plenty of time included for Q&A with our Directors.  We will then send you on your way into Cold Spring to enjoy a beautiful afternoon.

This camper experience runs Sunday, August 14,  10:00am – 4:00pm; check in begins at 9:30am

To register please login or create an account through  CampInTouch.

Please reach out to Dena Stevenson with any questions at  [email protected]  or 845-265-3616.

First Time Camper Discounts

First-time campers may qualify for an additional grant through the Foundation for Jewish Camp One Happy Camper program. Eligibility and grant amounts are determined by your local sponsoring organization in coordination with FJC. For more information and to find out your eligibility, visit

PJ Goes to Camp offers limited grants for a first-time overnight Jewish camp experience. You may also wish to contact your synagogue and/or local Jewish Federation to inquire about scholarship. opportunities for Jewish summer camp

The American Camp Association (ACA) also offers resources for families interested in pursuing tuition assistance. Click here to learn more about their resources.

Sibling Discount

Keep camp in the family and save! Your oldest, longest-staying camper attends at regular tuition. All your additional campers attending SLC at the same time receive a reduced rate of $200 off each session, or $400 for the full season. You may combine this discount with the Summer or Early Bird Discounts, for further savings!

Tuition Policies

Tuition Deposit

A completed application requires a $250 deposit (applied to the total charge) per camper per session.

The $250 deposit (per session, per camper) is non-refundable. We request that an application be submitted when families are ready to commit to taking a spot. This will help us reduce the number of campers being placed on a waiting list.

If you are unable to complete enrollment based on the level of assistance we can provide, a full refund of your deposit will be given.

Payment Schedule

You may choose to make equal monthly payments through April, or pay 50% by January 14, 2022 and the balance by April 1, 2022. All camper summer tuition must be paid in full by April 1, 2022 and is not refundable after that date.

Tuition Refunds

We will provide a full refund when your camper is on a Waiting List for your desired camp session if at any time you choose to be removed from the list or if SLC is unable to place your child in that session.

You will receive a prorated refund if your camper must withdraw from camp due to a documented medical issue.

When No Refunds Will Be Issued

No refunds will be issued if a camper is withdrawn for any non-medical issues including, but not limited to: camper’s homesickness; camper’s refusal to participate in normal camp activities; camper’s violation of any rules, regulations or policies at camp for which the camper has been provided notice and/or as described in our other written policies.

Tuition Assistance

Surprise Lake Camp is a non-profit organization committed to affordability for families. We believe that no child should miss out on the power of Jewish camp because of ability to pay. Thanks to many generous donors, SLC offers extensive tuition assistance to camp families who qualify.

Experienced, Caring Leadership

Enroll your camper with confidence. You can trust the leadership of Surprise Lake Camp to make sure your child is safe, well cared for, and having a successful first summer here. We’re always glad to talk with parents, too.