Below you will find a list of FAQ’S we have compiled many of which will help you learn more about this amazing summer experience. Feel free to reach out to us with any further questions you may have.
WHAT ARE THE TRAVEL DATES?
July 8 - 26, 2019. We will arrive in Colorado on the 8th and depart California on the 25th, arriving back to the East Coast either late July 25th or early morning July 26th, depending on the flight schedule. Trip begins from Denver, Colorado (DEN) and departs from Los Angeles (LAX) or San Diego (SAN). Participants will be notified of suggested flights, arrival and departure times. Should you have any specific travel needs please be in touch with our office.
WHAT AGE GROUP IS THIS CAMP FOR?
Over the Top is geared for Jewish boys & girls, ages 13-17.
HOW MUCH DOES THIS TRIP COST?
Please refer to our pricing page for fee schedule. We do accept payment plans and allow for multiple payments over several months. Full payment must be complete by the time of travel. Airfare is not included.
ARE THERE ANY SUBSIDIES AVAILABLE?
We do our best to price this trip as low as possible, while providing the highest valued experience. Our trip is priced at less than half the advertised rate of comparable programs. As a non-profit organization our goal is to provide an enriching Jewish experience for all Jewish teens. Please contact your local UJA Federation and/or synagogue to find out if they have summer bursaries to which you can apply for financial assistance. They can also provide information directing you to local organizations in your community that make such grants available. If you need any further assistance or information to complete these forms, feel free to contact us.
CAN I BRING MY FRIENDS?
Sharing high-impact experiences with friends always makes the best memories, so feel free to bring along a buddy or two.
IS THIS CAMP COED?
Yes, both boys and girls are welcome on Over The Top. As this trip is run by JYN, our guidelines are set forth by our Rabbinical Advisory. There will be certain activities which will be non coed, such as sleeping arrangements in hotels and tents, and all water related activities (swimming, rafting, surfing, chilling on the beach etc.) Our staff is also coed, ensuring that our campers will be properly supervised during these activities by their respective staff.
WHAT IS THIS YEAR'S DETAILED ITINERARY INFORMATION?
Each year we finesse and alter the itinerary just a bit. Detailed day-to-day itineraries and all hotel/lodging/contact information will be forwarded to parents via email one month prior to departure. Please note that confirmed itineraries are subject to last-minute changes as the trip progresses. We will do our best to notify parents in advance if changes are necessary. We will be posting pictures online throughout the trip on JYN facebook and instagram.
WHAT IS THE CAMP POLICY FOR CELL PHONES/LAPTOPS/MOBILE DEVICES?
We encourage teens to take time away from their screens and embrace their surroundings. Cell phones and data devices are not permitted on the trip. While this may be an adjustment from campers' usual routines, our cell phone policy fosters independence, enables maximum impact for this once-in-a-lifetime experience and supports a positive social environment. Trip leaders will provide a 24 hour emergency contact number. Additionally, campers will participate in daily updates to our trip journal which parents and family will have full access to. Campers are encouraged to bring along a camera for photographs. Staff photos will also be made available to campers and parents.
WHERE DO WE STAY?
Over The Top will be lodging at a variety of hotels, Jewish centres and camping facilities. Generally, we do 11 nights of camping, 3 nights in a hotel and 3 nights stay at a Chabad community centre.
HOW RELIGIOUS IS THIS CAMP?
JYN is a Chabad organization, and as such, our philosophy is to give the participants an awe-inspiring trip as well as a Jewish experience all wrapped up in one. While we are fully accepting of each participant and the many different family backgrounds and affiliations, this camp is is held to a Chabad standard which means: we do tefillah each day (in the most magnificent natural surroundings!), all food and snacks are strictly Kosher and Chalav Yisroel, we all keep two Shabbats together and visit Chabad synagogues in Boulder Colorado, Flagstaff Arizona and California for services.
HOW MUCH SPENDING MONEY WILL MY CHILD NEED?
Sleeping accommodations, meals, in-trip transportation and all program activities are covered by the core program fee. The only spending that is up to your teen’s discretion may be snacks, souvenirs and gifts. We estimate that $50/week is more than sufficient to cover all such expenses.
HOW WILL I KNOW WHAT TO BRING AND PACK?
A very detailed packing list, including waivers, and health and safety protocol documents will be emailed to you following the registration process.
WHAT IS THE FOOD LIKE?
All food on Over the Top is Kosher. Meals vary depending on location and activity. We have cookouts, get to dine at local restaurants and have plenty of snacks throughout the day. Food is all inclusive (though campers occasionally have opportunities to purchase supplementary food). We can accommodate some allergies and special dietary needs upon request.
A sample menu from Over the Top would be:
Breakfast: Bagels & Cream Cheese, Cereal, Milk & OJ. Snack: Fresh Fruit
Lunch: Deli Sandwiches and Potato Bourekas Snack: Granola Bars and Slurpees
Dinner: BBQ Cookout, Burgers, Chicken Breast & Salami. Desert: Variety of Rogelach (Chocolate/cinnamon danishes)
HOW DO YOU LOOK AFTER HEALTH/SAFETY AS YOU TRAVEL?
The health and safety of our campers is our number one priority. All staff are enrolled in a first aid refresher course yearly. Prior to departure, campers will be briefed on water, sun and trip safety.
HOW MUCH HIKING DO WE DO?
We have various days of hiking, from the Colorado Rockies to the Narrows of Zion, the sand dunes and other incredible spots in California. All hikes are moderate to easy, such that on our routes we frequently see elderly people and children hiking as well.
WHO IS THE RABBI WHO LEADS THE TRAVEL CAMP?
Rabbi Shmuli Nachlas is the Executive Director and founder of JYN - Jewish Youth Network. Rabbi Shmuli has made it his life's mission to inspire Jewish youth and instill a sense of pride and Jewish identity in each and every teen he comes in contact with. Every year, Rabbi Shmuli leads hundreds of teens on his trademark trips around North America. Rabbi Shmuli will infuse this amazing life experience into every one of his campers, with an added dose of Jewish flavour that will make it all the more meaningful and life changing. To learn more about Rabbi Shmuli and JYN please visit our JYN website.
HOW MANY STAFF DO YOU HAVE?
We always have a 1/5 staff / camper ratio. Our staff are hand selected and come with extensive camping and outdoors experience.
WHERE CAN I SEE PICTURES OF PAST YEARS CAMP?
We have posted several photo galleries over the years on our facebook page--please take a moment to browse through them and they will help you get a sense of the type of activities, atmosphere and energy of this camp.
WILL THE CAMPERS BE DOING ANY COMMUNITY SERVICE?
Part of the philosophy on the trip is to encourage our campers to feel a sense of social responsibility. Campers will participate in 10 hours of community service (which can be counted towards high school volunteer hours). Community involvement includes activities such as: creating a community garden, painting a public mural, participating in a beach and campsite cleanup as well as other and opportunities.
WHAT IS YOUR REFUND / CANCELLATION POLICY?
Please note that once a spot is booked on West Coast Summer, reservations are promptly made for attractions, sites etc. As such, JYN is unable to offer any refunds for deposits and camp fees already submitted. If a payment plan was selected, it is expected that the balance will be paid in full to cover the spot taken. The only exception to this policy would occur if the camper is able to find a suitable and equal replacement, providing he or she meets the approval of our staff. With regards to flight reimbursement, this must be dealt with directly with the airlines.
DO I NEED TRAVEL / HEALTH INSURANCE?
“Over the Top” does not offer any refunds in case of cancellation. We understand that at times last minute situations may arise and we therefore advise you to speak to your insurance provider to purchase travel insurance if you deem necessary. We advise parents to obtain their own travel health insurance for their teens. Often this can be purchased at the bank or through your current provider. We will administer any health care needed for your teen in the event of a medical emergency, accident or health problem. We will make every effort to expeditiously contact the parent of the participant. Any associated costs will be paid by JYN and reimbursed by the parents.