Frequently Asked Questions
Life at Camp
Where will my child live? How are room and hall assignments made? Campers and staff live in dorms and are grouped into “halls” with rooms and halls based on grade and gender. Dorm buildings are divided up by units/grades. Counselors live on each hall to supervise, mentor and engage their campers throughout the day, both in the dorm and during activities. Each hall is staffed by counselors who live on the hall and travel with their campers to meals and other hall or dorm-based activities throughout the day. Rooms are mostly doubles or triples, with a few very large quad rooms. Roommate assignments are based on camper grades, mutual interests, and mutual roommate requests (if possible). Roommate assignments are made personally by our Camper Care team after thoroughly reviewing all camper documents, not by a machine!
My child is transgender/nonbinary/not cisgender. Where will they live? Our goal is to place every camper in housing that affirms their identities and/or allows them to experience a sense of belonging in our camp community. To that end, transgender and nonbinary campers and staff members are housed in the space that affirms their gender identity and/or where they feel most comfortable. There is space during the camper application to expand more around your camper’s gender regarding housing. Please reach out to the main office with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Can my child request to be with another camper? As long as they are in the same grade and dorm, we do our best to accommodate at least one mutual roommate request per camper. A housing info and roommate request form is included in the camper paperwork released in the spring, where you can put this request.
Will my child need lots of special STEM equipment from home? We will provide all equipment necessary for all camp activities, including STEM and recreational activities. Campers may bring non-electronic games and sports equipment (such as their tennis racket), but we encourage you to leave anything expensive at home. Please also see our Personal Technology Policy for more information on personal electronics at camp.
How can I get a 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy t-shirt for my child? All campers will receive a 6 Points Sci-Tech t-shirt at camp. Additional shirts and camp clothing and gear can be purchased at our online camp store.
How will my child’s laundry get done? Campers will have their laundry sent out to a local wash-and-fold service about halfway through each session. Campers staying multiple sessions will also have their laundry done during intersession. Please label each article of clothing to help ensure everything makes it home!
How’s the food? Amazing! The food service is provided by The Governor’s Academy in their air-conditioned dining hall. The dining services staff are year-round professional employees of the school who are highly skilled in preparing tasty, nutritious meals for kids. Most meals are served buffet-style with multiple options. For more information about food service, see our Facilities and Food page.
What if my child’s birthday occurs during camp? We love birthdays at camp! It is a special day for a camper, and we celebrate as a community by singing happy birthday in the dining hall and giving the camper a special birthday treat to enjoy with their hallmates. During the Boker Big Bang that morning, the camper participates in the morning experiment. Counselors make a camper’s birthday special by decorating their door or hall. Our birthday campers also get their own star named after them in the Sci-Tech Star Registry! We know that birthdays are a difficult time for campers to be away from their families, so we also schedule a special phone call so that you can wish them a happy birthday, too!
Health & Safety
My camper takes medications and/or over-the-counter medications/vitamins/supplements. How do I get those to camp? To ensure the best possible quality of care in our Health Center, we require all campers who take prescriptions, supplements, vitamins, melatonin, and/or over-the-counter medications (OTC’s) to enroll in our pre-packaged pharmacy service. We will not accept any medication, vitamins, supplements, or over-the-counter medications on Opening Day. For Summer 2024, we will use a pharmacy service to help pre-package all camper medications.
Enrolled families will receive a Camp Pharmacy FAQs packet in their CampInTouch accounts in the Spring closer to the beginning of camp.
What if my child has allergies? We strive to accommodate all allergies at camp so that all campers can participate in our program. Our professional dining services team has experience dealing with many allergies, like gluten/wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, sesame, and fish. We can accommodate most dietary needs – if your camper’s allergies are not on the list, please do not hesitate to inquire. Campers who need medication to manage environmental allergies will receive their medication from our nurses at mealtimes or before bed. We have Epi-pens in the dining hall and health center. Our entire staff is trained in the use of Epi-pens.
How do you select, train, and supervise your staff? What is the staff-to-camper ratio? Our counselors are more than supervisors – they are near-peer mentors and role models! Counselors are selected based on their experience working with children, their dedication to our Jewish values, and their passion for inspiring a love of science and technology. All staff members undergo a rigorous staff orientation before the first day of camp, which features child care and child development training, informal Jewish and scientific education, and camper safety. Our staff who run STEM programming begin prepping months ahead in partnership with our STEM advisors and education consultants! We maintain at least a 5-to-1 camper-to-staff ratio.
Will my child be safe while at camp? URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy complies with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health regulations and is licensed by the local board of health and certified by the American Camp Association.
Nothing is more important to us than the safety and well-being of your child, both physically and emotionally. The following mechanisms are in place to ensure that your child remains safe while at camp:
- The Governor’s Academy has a 24/7 professional security presence on campus. They regularly patrol the facility and work closely with us to ensure our safety.
- All our staff members undergo mandatory safety training, which includes procedures for various safety situations, such as medical and weather emergencies.
- All of our staff members are trained in First Aid and CPR. Leadership team members also carry cell phones or walkie-talkies to ensure a fast emergency response time.
We have camp nurses on campus and on-call 24/7 to respond to medical problems. We work with a local doctor, a local hospital, and an urgent care center to provide additional care when needed.
What kind of clothing should my child bring to camp? Campers at URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy will be outside and moving around for much of the day, so we recommend comfortable clothes such as shorts and t-shirts. Closed-toed shoes are required (no sandals, flip-flops, or Crocs). For Shabbat, many choose to dress a little nicer (such as khakis, polo shirts, and skirts), and we request that all campers wear a white top to bring our community together as one kehilah kedoshah (holy community). A full packing list is provided closer to the beginning of camp. If you’d like to see the packing list from previous years before registering, please reach out to the camp office.
What happens if my child gets sick while at camp? Our professional medical team, which includes nurses and local doctors, is here to help ensure your camper’s wellness! In most cases, sick campers stay in our Health Center until they can rejoin camp activities. In the event of an overnight stay, a hospital visit, or if our medical staff prescribes or changes any medication, the parents will be notified as soon as possible.
Where is the closest hospital? Anna Jacques Hospital, a full-service community hospital (including emergency medicine) in Newburyport, is less than 6 miles away.
Where can I find your Child Protection Policy? At the heart of our Reform Movement is our enduring commitment to shaping a more whole, just, and compassionate world. That holy work includes ensuring that each and every member of our camp community – especially our children – are protected and that their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health and safety is our highest priority. You can read more about the URJ’s official Child Protection Policy here.
What is the URJ Vaccination policy? The Union for Reform Judaism requires that all camp and travel program participants, staff, and faculty must be immunized. We provide an updated Vaccine Policy every year. This vaccination information will be available as part of your camper forms when they are available in the Spring. For reference, please read the URJ Policy Statement on Vaccine Status for 2023 (updated 8/29/23).
Who provides medical guidance and advice to the URJ? The URJ Medical Advisory Team (MAT) is an advisory body to the URJ staff and program leaders. The six outstanding members of this group are all deeply connected with and committed to the success of our movement and our youth programs and experiences. You can read more about them here.
Camper Readiness and Camp Visits
Is my child ready for overnight camp? We believe that all children are capable of having a rewarding overnight summer camp experience. Our two-week sessions are a great choice for families looking for a shorter experience. For young campers who are ready for overnight but not for the full two weeks, we also have a 5-day Taste of Camp program for rising 4th graders during the 3rd session! Our camp professionals are happy to discuss preparing your child for their first summer at camp to ensure it will be a successful experience!
Can we visit and tour the camp? Since Governor’s Academy operates year-round as a boarding school, we are not able to do regular tours. However, we will have an in-person open house sometime in March for prospective families! However, we still would love to meet you! Please visit our Virtual Info Session page for more information and to register today! Tour possibilities when camp is in session will be announced closer to the summer.
Can I talk directly with the camp directors? Absolutely! We’d love to connect. Please contact our camp office today to schedule a chat!
Personal Technology Policy
As a science and technology camp, we are keenly aware of the many positives and some of the negatives that come along with the electronics and technology equipment that inundate our world. Camp is an opportunity for campers to unplug from their lives back home and explore their interests, passions, and identity in a safe, intentional, and inclusive environment. Our goal in crafting a Personal Technology Policy is to build a community capable of fulfilling our mission and exemplifying our values, where we use technology to connect and pursue our passions while also embedding ourselves in the “camp bubble” experience that makes overnight camps so special!
Campers may not bring to camp any device capable of playing video or video games, accessing email or social media apps, making phone calls, sending text messages or DMs, or any other form of communication with the world outside of camp. Families should carefully investigate the ereaders and mp3 devices they send to camp to make sure the device does not have any of the capabilities listed above.
How are the different grades organized at camp? Grades at camp are determined by the grade a camper would be going into for the following school year (i.e. a camper who is currently in 4th grade would be a 5th grader at camp, also called a “rising” or “entering” 5th grader). Activities are generally divided into Upper Camp (grades 8-11) and Lower Camp (grades 4-7), by camp unit or grade, or by hall. Day-time activities, like Workshops, Chugim, Sababa, and Kinesthetic Sciences, are grouped by Upper Camp and Lower Camp. Meals and hall nights are grouped by dorm hall. Evening programs and special camp traditions/milestone moments are grouped by camp unit.
What are the different camp units? Our six units at camp are Kilobytes (Grades 5 – 6), Megabytes (Grade 7), Gigabytes (Grades 8 – 9), Terabytes (Grade 10), and two special 3rd session units: an 11th-grade unit called the Yottabytes and a 4th-grade “Taste of Camp” unit called Bytes. We also have a full-summer 12th-grade leadership and CIT program called Machon.
Do you have a shorter Taste of Camp Unit for young campers? Yes! We have a special, 3rd session-only Taste of Camp unit for rising 4th graders. Check out the Dates and Rates! This is called the BYTES. Bytes can only register for the Taste of Camp: Discovery Lab workshop, specifically designed to introduce young campers to the various workshops we offer at Sci-Tech. Outside the Discovery Lab workshop, Bytes participate in all other lower camp programming, including chugim and Sababa, and will experience a Shabbat at camp!
Is there an Israel trip specifically for Sci-Tech for rising 11th graders? Yes! There is a Sci-Tech Israel trip run by the Union for Judaism! It is run by Yallah! Israel. More information is available on their website!
Can 11th graders come to camp in Byfield, or can they only go on the Sci-Tech Israel trip? The Sci-Tech Israel program may not be accessible or desirable to everyone. We have a special, 3rd session-only unit specifically for rising 11th graders who are interested in other experiences outside of the Sci-Tech Israel trip. This is called the YOTTABYTES. Yottabytes must register for the Sci-Techkun Olam: Teen Leadership Incubator workshop, specifically designed for teens.
Can 11th graders who go on the Sci-Tech in Israel trip also come to camp as a Yottabyte during the 3rd session? Sometimes! The dates for Sci-Tech Israel (run by Yallah! Israel) sometimes don’t overlap with our third session. Depending on each individual year, it can be possible to attend both!
Can 12th graders who go on the Sci-Tech Israel trip attend the Machon Teen Leadership Program? No. Unfortunately, the Sci-Tech Israel trip overlaps with our Machon Teen Leadership program dates. Our Machon Program is a full-summer, immersive teen leadership experience, and it is impossible to start the program later in the summer.
Will my child be inside all day? We believe that active minds and active bodies are necessary for a complete camp experience. We design our programs specifically for the camp environment, which means they include active, outdoor learning experiences. Campers participate in recreation time each day (called Kinesthetic Sciences), where they can choose from a wide variety of activities. Campers can play games like gaga (Israeli dodgeball), explore our 450 wooded acres with their counselors, and engage with each other in outdoor sports and games of their choosing. We even have a walking club! Additionally, we gather in our beautiful outdoor sanctuary each morning for Boker Big Bang and for Shabbat services on Saturday morning.
What types of activities do you have at camp? We have four types of activities at camp:
- Workshops: Campers attend their workshops every day (except for Shabbat/Saturday) of the session for about 2½ to 3 hours a day. You register for their workshop when you register for camp (although we’re happy to switch before camp starts if they change their minds and if space allows!). Topics are the same for each session during the summer, but the projects change from summer to summer, so returning campers can return to explore their passion year after year. Most campers choose a workshop they already have a strong interest in or a workshop they want to learn more about. Due to the curriculum staying the same each session during a summer, campers who stay for multiple sessions must choose a different workshop per session enrolled per year. However, many campers take the same workshop each summer!
- Electives (chugim): Campers have two elective periods a day, and the electives change halfway through the session. Unlike workshops, campers select their chugim AT camp and not before. Campers select their electives throughout the session, and most campers use electives to explore new interests and subject areas or to connect with other campers who like the same things they do outside of their workshop. Chugim are STEM-based, movement/play-based, or connection/community-based.
- Sababa: Meaning “cool” in Hebrew, Sababa is our supervised free time at camp! Campers can hang out with their friends, play card games, make friendship bracelets, or read a book under one of the many beautiful trees! There is also various sports equipment available and a playground for campers to be more active during this time. Sababa also gives campers the chance to socialize with one another in an informal setting and get to know kids from other halls.
- Kinesthetic Sciences: During Kinesthetic Sciences, campers can select from several sports or outdoor activities each week, like soccer, basketball, walking club, LARP, or Gaga. This activity is led by our professionally trained staff, who help campers stay active and to understand the importance of a healthy body. The activities change each week and each summer based on the skills and passions of our counselors and the interests of our campers.
What do you do on rainy days? We are fortunate to have many indoor spaces, including:
- All science classrooms and laboratories on campus in our Technion Building
- The Kaiser Visual Arts Center, including its video lab and photo lab
- The hockey rink, which serves as a massive indoor area for sports or programs during the summer
- The gymnasium complex, which includes four basketball/volleyball courts and other all-purpose space
- An all-purpose activity room in the Frost Building
- The Performing Arts Center, with rooms for digital music production and dance
- Dorms and common rooms
Our program coordinators and activity specialists plan to ensure that all programs can be moved indoors if need be and that campers never miss an activity!
Who teaches the various activities? Workshops are taught by our lead instructors – professionals in the field, advanced undergraduate or graduate students, and/or educators with a deep passion for the field of study and for teaching children of camp age. Chugim (electives) are taught by counselors, typically young adults studying science, technology, education, or Jewish studies at universities with experience teaching and working with children.
What does 6 Points mean? Our name reflects the 6 Points of the Jewish star (Magen David). As our program is built upon a foundation of Jewish values, our name also signifies the important role that Jewish tradition, culture, history, and scholarship plays in our daily lives. It’s also the number of Core Values we have!
What do campers do in the evening? After a long day of experiments, workshops, and play, we spend our evenings in fun and relaxing activities planned and led by our counselors, instructors, and leadership team members. Some nights, each hall has an activity to help build community and connections among the campers and staff, such as board games or trivia. On other nights, we gather together by unit or as one camp for various fun activities, such as scavenger hunts around camp or special guest performances.
How will I stay in touch with my child? We strongly encourage parents and campers to be in touch throughout the session. We know how much campers love getting mail (and parents, too)! E-letters can be sent to campers via our CampInTouch service (and campers may respond through their electronic letter-writing service). Regular and electronic mail is delivered daily to campers during rest hours. Due to our short sessions, we strongly recommend using Campminder’s E-Letter system rather than regular postal mail.
Can parents/guardians call the camp to check on their children? We love hearing from families and love telling you about your child’s camp experience! Please contact us if you have any concerns or to check-in. We’ll check with your child’s counselors and tell you about their camp experience! Parents can also expect a letter from your camper’s instructors at the end of the session—we want you to know all the great stuff your camper is up to! You will not be able to call and talk to your child directly on the phone (unless it’s their birthday or they are staying in the health center overnight).
Can I visit my child while they are at camp? Families are encouraged to drop off and pick up their campers at the beginning and end of each session and see our wonderful camp facility. In between, however, camp is closed to families. This helps us to ensure a safe environment and a smooth program.
Are care packages allowed? We do not allow packages at camp. If during the summer your camper(s) has forgotten or lost an item of necessity that needs to be mailed to camp, please call our office to let us know so that we can expect this item and add it to our approved package list. We will only accept #10 size envelopes or smaller. Please do not send items in padded envelopes or anything larger than a #10 size envelope. All packages larger than #10 size envelope are opened before being delivered to your camper for safety an security purposes and to ensure that the item being delivered is on the approved package list.
How is Judaism infused into daily life at camp? The values of Reform Judaism are at the core of everything we do. They drive our work in science and technology, from the way we respect each other’s ideas, to the way we choose projects that will benefit our communities. See our Jewish values in action in our Jewish Life at Sci-Tech video created in Summer 2019! We also create an environment where it’s cool to be Jewish, highlighting famous Jewish scientists and innovators through our dorm names, singing in lively song sessions, and developing a connection to worldwide Judaism through programs and personal relationships with Israeli and other international staff. You can learn more about Jewish Life at camp on our Jewish Life page.
Does 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy have a religious affiliation? Yes, we are a Jewish camp part of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). In addition to representing 900 Reform congregations and their over 1 million members, the URJ operates 15 summer camps and several youth Israel programs. Last summer, over 10,000 campers attended our camps! We believe in a progressive, inclusive, egalitarian approach to Judaism and a vibrant, living Jewish community. URJ’s mission is to create a more whole, just, and compassionate world. At Sci-Tech, we accomplish that by supporting the next generation of scientists, inventors, digital creators, and innovators through our values-based STEM education approach!
B Mitzvah Practice
Many campers join us the summer before they become B Mitzvah, and we are happy to be able to provide support for their studies. While we do not teach new content, we can help campers practice and review what they’ve already learned. Please send your camper with photocopies of all relevant text (Torah reading, Haftarah reading, prayers, etc).
Please complete this form so that we may best support your child in maintaining their current knowledge and skills:
What are your COVID-19 policies?
Following the guidance of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC), and American Camp Association (ACA), the URJ has developed guidelines that prioritize the health and well-being of our camp and program communities. You can read more about the URJs wellness work, including our approach to COVID-19, at https://urj.org/what-we-do/engaging-youth-families-young-children/urj-immersive-youth-programs-wellness-protocols.