Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Creating Camp Mommy

Riki Goldstein

Some creative moms turn their homes into camp — and say that the experience is worth every ounce of energy.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Photo: Shutterstock

When Rivka Lichtman of Yerushalayim had to work through her kids’ summer break, she was flummoxed — what would that mean for her sons?

“Finding the right camps for our kids was getting so complicated. Then my husband shocked me by offering to do something with our older boys.”

Rivka remembers being incredulous. “ ‘Are you actually volunteering to spend a summer entertaining your own children?!’ I said. It was completely out of character — he was not the type to be so hands-on with the kids — but that summer opened up a new world.” 

At first, Rivka and her husband thought it would make sense for him to entertain their two oldest boys, plus some friends, while she found another arrangement for the little ones. “But eventually, we decided to stick with just our own — all of them. I planned tons of activities, some of them around my work, and some he could carry out when I wasn’t around, and so Camp Lichtman was born.” 

Rivka’s camp has now been running for six consecutive summers, spanning the 21 days of her boys’ vacation. Her two oldest campers are now 15 and 13, while her younger bunch range between ages two and nine.

Photo: Shuterstock

In Beitar Illit, American Karen Thaler has been running her family’s camp for five years. “I have my teenage boys, aged 14 to 19, a daughter of 11, and younger ones too. We used to travel to the States as a family in the summer, but stopped ten years ago. Camp options are limited where we live, and I wanted to create an enjoyable summer experience for everyone.” 

Several teenaged boys of different temperaments on vacation under one roof sounds challenging… and noisy. Imagine several different opinions about music, entertainment, belongings, and activities — not to mention what the little ones want. But these intrepid mothers say that their camp programs minimize arguing and prevent the kids from getting on each other’s nerves. 

“To have everyone home together is challenging. Yet I wanted them to be happy being home together. I wanted to build family togetherness. When kids are bored, they fight. But if you create a full schedule of fun activities, with healthy teamwork and competition, the kids enjoy each other,” says Karen. 

A memorable summer casts its glow over the whole year. For the Lichtmans, the anticipation and memories are almost as much fun as camp itself. “The kids talk about camp the whole year. After the summer is over, we create a beautiful album, which they show to whoever comes into the house,” says Rivka. “Making the album and looking at it lets us relive the memories.”

Related Stories

The Accidental Camp Mommy

R.C. Steif

The Camp Mommy idea grows on me. Maybe I really should keep her home?

A Summer of Chesed

Julie Hauser

There comes a lull in the summer when there are no appointments, no day camp, and not a whole lot of...

Family Fiction: The Screen Door

Raizy Isaacs

If Fraidy brushed off comments with vague rejoinders, well, there was a new Infiniti in the driveway...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"