Readers’ Matzav: Abolish Visiting Day


camp-Dear Editor,

Here we go again. Visiting day in summer camps. The issue seems to get new life every year, with the battle of the proponents and opponents getting more and more fierce. 

I largely find that men are in favor of abolishing visiting day, while mothers and grandmothers are up in arms at even suggesting something as horrible as not visiting their children.

Firstly, with increased traffic, traveling to the Mountains and back home involves at least six hours on the road, depending on where you live, and possibly more if there is traffic. Also, if you have to visit more than one camp, the trip is that much longer.

By the time a typical family arrives in the mountains, all the father wants is a place where he can rest for an hour or two. Then the family has to go on a trip to the pizza shop for lunch or supper before the dreadful trip home.

Last but not least, the trip to and from the mountains requires filling one’s car with about $40-50 worth of gas, and that is in addition to the money that the campers ask for, the cost of taking everyone out to lunch, etc.

Tipping is a whole different issue, but let me just say that it would alleviate many problems if the tips would simply be added to the registration fee at the beginning of the summer.

It is time, once and for all, to abolish visiting day.

Dovid Y.

Brooklyn, NY


  1. when my kids went to sleep away camp, it was always on the condition that we would not come up for visiting day, I mailed in tip checks, and would arrange to send up/bring up supplies (water, drinks, snacks, etc.) at some point during the summer. They loved it, there was always something fun happening for the kids that didn’t get visitors

  2. Dovid Y. If you’re concerned about wating money, then why not propose that the entire camp thing should be abolished? (along with seminary in Israel)

  3. Dovid,

    I feel so bad for you that you have listed only the reasons to abolish such a beautiful day. As a father of 8 children who has had and still has children in camp for 9 years now, I LOVE visiting day. My attitude is rather then complain about all the hardships, I work around the challenges and make it happen. Yes there are glitches but spending a few hours with my children is worth every ounce, minute or whatever you want to call it. I miss my kids and am so happy they are off the streets of the city and in a Frum enviornment and I look forward to the day with them.

    Get some good rest over Shabbos so you don’t need to lay down and be so grouchy on Sunday. If your kids in camp see how frustrated you are that you had to come visit them I am sure they won’t appreciate what you have done for them. Your kids don’t want you to be upset with them – especially for something they did not arrange – and even more so that you are bothered that you had to spend time with them. Sheesh – I feel bad for your kids if thats your attitude.(and I feel bad for your wife who probably has to deal with your immaturity)

    My kids know that our family makes the effort to spend the day with them even if there are obstacles and they apprciate that so much more. They have such huge smiles when they see us with the packages we bring and the excitement we have that the picture is worth everything. My home is a happy home I hope yours is as well.

    Allow me to help you get through this Tzara you seem to have. First of all, why not find a family or friend that will have you for Shabbos. This will avoid your Sunday morning travel problem. Maybe take a day off of work on Monday so you avoid the Sunday night drive. Wouldn’t a day off with your family be so much fun?

    No need to go out for pizza as almost every camp provides a delicious lunch in an air conditioned dining room for you to enjoy – FOR FREE!

    Fill up in Jersey it’s cheaper. If you take the BQE to the FDR to the George Washington bridge to the Pallisades to the 6 to the 17 you pay $0 in tolls. On the way back take the Jersey 17 to the 3 to the NJ Turnpike to the Goethals and over the Verazano and all you pay is the Goethals and a small Turnpike toll. See I just saved you more Money for tips.

    It’s all in your attitude my friend. Live it and love it and you will reap the benefit. Hate it and qvetch and you will sleep in the bed you made.

    I don’t have all the answers and i don’t know your situation but if all else fails then please stay home. But – PLEASE do not ruin it for the rest of us.

    PS – Do you tip your waiter when you eat out? cab driver? the delivery guy when he brings over your groceries, medicines, pizza etc? so enjoy tipping the people who take care of your children and learn with them. They deserve it. Leave the camp out of it. When you decided to spend the money for camp back in January then in your mind add the tips then to your final cost and wala!! it won’t bother you on Sunday. (and if you really want then when you pay for camp send in extra money then for the canteen and tips and the camp will take care of it for you.

    I hope you enjoy your Sunday. We all know who you are since you will be the one probably honking your horn swerving from lane to lane, speeding, double parking at camp because G-D forbid you should walk. We will all take a picture on our phones of you so when it comes to Shidduchim we can remind ourself about what type of a person you are. Thanx for the heads-up.

  4. How about this – Have the parents go up on buses on visiting day (as most campers do) instead of going in private vehicles.

    Another idea – visiting via video conferencing.

  5. Your letter alone proves that your parenting leaves much to be desired. That being said, who said you need to go out for lunch or supper? Bring sandwiches from home. Who said you need to give your children money? Establish before the summer exactly how much you are giving him/her to spend in total. Finally, your children should be worth the time you are spending. If they are not, nobody is forcing you to go. Other parents enjoy seeing their children and are happy to make the trip.

  6. I agree with the article! visiting day becomes an overwhelming driving experience and while its truly nice that parents want to visit their child, I think it would be a better idea if the camps can organize busses for the parents to hop on, go visit the child, maybe do s/t fun/an activity with them at the camp, and then back on the bus home. This will be better than filling up car with lots of gas, sitting in traffic, and feeling the need to take the kids out of the camp, spend more $ etc etc..

  7. camps should have a studio with a web cam as a vurtual visit . with a studio in their city office as well. or we can use the yearound security screens that already exist.

  8. Visiting day is known as “Palm-Sunday”. The only reason for the Rishis of forcing visiting on everyone is to grease the palms aka TIPS.

    The camps should pay their personell a living wage so they don’t have to rely on tips.

  9. You do not want to go so don”t – why inhibit others ( I am a father and I drive that distance). I know how I feel and my children feel when we see each other. It is worth it.

  10. If you don’t like visiting day, or the $$ associated with it, just don’t go. Better yet, don’t send your child to camp.

    Remember, sleep away camp is a luxury, not an obligation. (I don’t want to hear about the peer pressure, or “what should I do with my kids in the city”, its all your choice!)

    This constant kvetching about everything – certainly things that are under your own control – is really disturbing.

  11. I went to a Catskills camp that did not allow visitors. Policies changed, and my kids did have visiting day. The out of town kids managed just fine without visitors.
    There are still camps without visiting day, and they send out letters to the parents with a list of whom to tip, suggested amounts, and the addresses.

  12. How about not sending to sleep away camp in the first place? I pay full tuition and therefore cannot afford any vacation or sleep away camp. If you don’t pay full tuition, you shouldn’t be sending to sleep away camp or going on vacations. Send to day camp instead. A lot of money and aggravation could be saved that way.

  13. if you dont feel that it is worth it for you you to go, stay home!!! it will mean one less car on the road!! it is that simple!!

  14. I couldn’t agree with you more. I’m only going this year because our family was invited up to a friend for Shabbos in the Catskills. My son told me it’s better if we don’t come, this way the camp takes them on a special trip.
    The shlepping up back and forth in one day is a total waste of time & money. If a child is not mature enough to be in camp for 4 lousy weeks without having to see Momee & Totty, then the kid shouldn’t be going to sleep away camp in the first place! Sleepaway camp is not for babies!
    The tipping is pure and simple genaiva, ON THE CAMPS PART! I don’t blaim the staff, some of whom do actualy work hard, for wanting some compensation. It’s the Camp administration’s achraiyus to take care of that. We parents pay more than enough for camp tuition!

  15. why do you even post this crazy comments?
    if this writer does not want to see whats doing with his child let him stay home!

  16. And add to the mix, that this year Visiting Day is on Erev Rosh Chodesh (Erev 9 days). Finishing the laundry will be a nightmare for most moms…

  17. I agree with all your points aside from the one about mother’s and grandmothers being pro visiting day. Visiting day is for the camps. It allows them to market to their existing customers and to continue to profit handsomely by having tips amount to a large percentage of their staff costs. It’s never going to go away but I for one think that if I’ve paid $2000 to have my child be away for not quite four weeks I should be spared the disaster of visiting day.

    Here’s some other things we should abolish when it comes to camp:

    1) Camps should not allow any packages unless they contain things like medication etc.
    2) Camps should not sell food – they should feed the kids and counselors eatable food
    3) Camps should forbid kids from bringing nosh -see feed the kids above

    Frustrated mother

  18. I agree – abolish it. Waste of time and money.

    1) The problem is that there is very large Silent Majority that doesn’t speak up. Why is it on the week of visiting day, so many people that i speak to are not loking forward to visitng day but when they are asked to respond to a poll, it is all quiet?
    2) You will see – add tips to cost of tuition and counselers would not care if you came.
    3) to all those that are in favor, i would like to hear what you have to say on the day after you came back from a visitng day! No big deal to vote yes 6 months before camp starts and from your plush chair in your living room! How about voting from your car in the middle of traffic on Route 17 at 9pm.
    4) Maybe if the mothers would have to drive, they might change their minds!

  19. True, I added up the cost of one visiting day and it came to around $200, which this summer I can not afford.

    So relieved am I that my daughter is a staffer and not available this Sunday to see me!

    How about this — a visiting day for kids who spend two months, and it should fall right in the middle of first and second sessions.

  20. Most parents would pay an extra 25 or 50 dollars to have their child(ren) bused back to the city. I know that I would prefer that over travelling to the Catskills.

  21. Typically men who agree to abolish many family gatherings. Have the women drive up to the countries, which ever children r uninterested can stay with dad,, and call it a day.

  22. Our children are our most important assets. Period. We should show them we care enough to visit them once or twice a summer regardless if it costs a few dollars, traffic, headaches or inconveniences. Call Bonei Olam or A TIME and ask them how many people would do anything to have this so called hassle that you describe. DO IT, AND DO IT WITH A SMILE!

  23. as a young woman, I agree!

    i have been in camp as a camper and as married staff, and i can tell you that visiting day is a waste!

    first of all, as a camper, i was an out-of-towner, and a lot of OOT’s did not have visitors! Camp took us to the mall and for pizza, but it was not a particularly fun day.
    When my parents did come to visit me, it was so, so hard to say goodbye, and any homesickness that I had overcome from the first week of camp was back.

    As a married staffer, I saw how many campers had family in the country. there were some children whose parents visited them every friday to drop off kugel and do their laundry. the running joke was that every friday was visiting day.

    do OOTs need visiting day? No.
    do kids with family in the mountain need visiting day? No.
    do fathers need visiting day? No.
    do homesick children need visiting day? No.

    honestly, do children who are going to see their parents in 10 days need to make them schlep up and spend extra money on them? NO!

    visiting day is overrated.

  24. The answer is not to abolish visiting day but to find ways to make it easier. The suggestion of incorporating tipping into the registration of the camp is a positive one. You could send your kids to one camp, that way its one trip. If Co-ed camps are forbidden than have boys and girls camps on opposite ends of the same country road. Whatever you decide to do, don’t let yourchildren see you frustrated. They are looking forward to seeing you. I hope you would want to see them.

  25. I was in Yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel 30 years ago for 4 years, came home once and my parents came once.
    Abolish visiting day.

  26. I do not understand your problem. Is it worth it to see your children, or would you rather not see them for 2 months straight. And even if you dont want to see them, you dont have to come. {One more thing ,I am a man}

  27. I do not understand your problem. Is it worth it to see your children, or would you rather not see them for 2 months. And If you think its not worth it, then dont come.

  28. Your kids are in camp for 8 weeks. What is wrong with giving up one day of your “busy life” for them? Stop all this complaining and spend the day happily with your family!

  29. oy vey I know you are trying to sound like this great father but it seems you are not with the program.Going to camp on visiting day is no let me repeat no indication of your love or excitement or parenting values towards your children.Let’s face many children are very apprehensive of visiting day.They have finally got acclimated to camp and the whole process of leaving the family begins again.After visiting day many well adjusted children get homesick.
    I also find your lack of understanding of someone else’s difficulties appalling.Just because you don’t find the drive difficult and taxing on kochas and pocketbook have some feeling for those that do.
    I also wonder if you do spend quality time with your children during the whole year.

  30. Our children are our most precious assets so next time they keep you up at night stay up with a smile otherwise we might think you don’t love them or appreciate this wonderful gift HASHEM BESTOWED ON YOU


  32. Camp Ma Na Vu (hi Rabbi Klein) has changed their policy as of this summer. There are no more 4 week intervals at camp. Only 6 weeks or 8 weeks. Visiting Day is one time only in middle of the summer. That’s it! You gotta love it.

  33. Imagine you live in Eretz Yisroel and your parents live in America and you haven’t seen them in 25 years. Now imagine that they tell you that instead of coming to visit you this year, they will wait another 25 years. … this is what it feels like to a child! Everything that happens to a child is heightened and you should not underestimate the needs of a child and the needs for children to see their family and to feel that their family wants to see them!…Look at how lonely the kids who have to go on the bowling trips (because their family didn’t come up for visiting day) look.
    If you takeh don’t have enough money to splurge an extra $100 on taking a day to see your kids, then you should explain that to your kids in a way that they’ll understand.

    Shalom Al Yisrael and we should be able to see Mashiach B’korov!

  34. I personally think that the camps have nerve to pay soooooooooooo little, and expect the paying parents to tip. A tip should be something you give because you WANT to, as a measure of hakoras hatov, which a counselor certianly deserves, and not because the camp nebech jips these kids!

  35. #46 – IY”H when you have children of your own let us know if you still feel the same way.

    I was a camp head staff member for 13 years and the number of children who were worse off after visiting day was so minuscule yet the ruach and re-freshness of the kids after having a day with their parents was amazing.

    Please visit a parent who lost a child, visit parents with a child who is not well, talk to parents that have no children – they would all Chalish for a visiting day. HKB”H blesses someone with healthy living children and you complain about having to visit them for 1 day over 4 weeks??? It is not important to you that you see them for 1 day in 4 weeks??? If you don’t appreciate what you have Hashem will take it from you. If something Hashem gives you is now a burden he will be happy to take away the burden.

    Bottom line is if you don’t want to go then don’t but how dare you try to take this special day away from the most of us who do want it!

    8 kids = 16 nights out a month in my house. each kid gets 1 on 1 time with Tatty and 1 on 1 time with Mommy once a month for 1 undisturbed hour. Try it! It’s amazing 🙂

  36. 51, I appreciate your trying to put it on a kid’s level, but honestly, if the kid can’t handle four weeks maybe s/he isn’t old enough to go.

    I just read a comment elsewhere from a Lakewood mom who’s trying to figure out how she’s going to get laundry done. All I could think is, why is she going???

  37. It’s time for YOU to grow up and stop acting like a baby! You are spoiling your kids and they will grow up to be brats! Wait till the shadchanim find out.
    This visiting day is becoming like making a simcha. There is peer pressure. Look Avi’s parents brought a case of soda. Shevy’s brought the double pack of pringles. Chaim’s went to a pizza shop & bowling. Zev’s had all of the above plus a grand barbeque!
    My son & daughter had none of the above. How are they supposed to feel? I see you are very concerned about the FEELINGS of children. Nu?

  38. To #56:

    Oy Vey is SPOILING his children??? On the contrary, his children will IY”H grow up to be well-adjusted young adults, with the right values, because he and his wife take the time to just sit and shmooz with all of them. Visiting day is not about peer pressure. Trust me, Oy Vey’s kids know exactly how much their parents love them, regardless of the amount of Pringles they bring on visiting day.

    I agree that in some ways, the world has become too “nice” to kids. But the parents who davka try to go the other way, and show that they are different, are not doing their kids any favors either. I don’t know what your son and daughter feel. I do hope, however, that they feel close to their parents and know that they love them (although perhaps it is better for them not to know that you are critical of everyone else’s parenting methods – just a thought).

    Keep it up, Oy Vey – the world needs more parents that take the time to get to know their kids.

  39. Who’s the child here? You’re an adult and a parent. The world doesn’t revolve around you, your needs and your opinions. You’re not the abolishing sheriff, and the world doesn’t abolish things because you don’t like them. You want to visit your brats, visit…You don’t want to visit, don’t visit. But pipe down, and let people decide what works for themselves and their families.

  40. To Oy Vey: I have been a teacher for 38 years B’H, and I wish more parents would be like you to show such caring, love, consideration and friendship. Your children will grow up to be the best adults, and hopefully the best parents to their children I’YH. In these very difficult financial times, it is wonderful that you give over 16 hours a month to your precious kinderlach. We sent our boys to camp in NY and we lived abroad and my Parent’s Z’TL (elderly Holocaust survivors), used to go up on visiting day, (they never had a car in their lives!), and our children never forgot the effort made and the enormous love shown to eineklach.
    May we all be zocher to have children I’YH. We have too many friends unfortunately, who are cholishing to have their turn to visit in camp or otherwise. If we don’t make the effort to visit children, we wonder why so many go off the derrech. Get up at 5:00 a.m. and start going up then. No traffic, no fuss. Share the driving with the wife. Make a minyan in camp or in some shul. Relax and then go to visit. Enjoy what you have when you have it, the children grow up too soon and leave the nest.
    I do believe that the camps should charge for the tipping with the fee of the camp, and pass on to whoever it is intended.

    May we all be zocher to the geulah shelamah be karov, in good health, with much needed achdus between all the Yidden.