Ruth Berkowitz, mother of five, has two manila folders stuffed with camp brochures, schedules and a pencil-drawn spreadsheet compiled of summer activities for her five children, including a column for each week.
This will be Camp JCA Shalom's first summer away from home. For the first time in its 54-year history, the Malibu camp is independent, having broken away from the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los Angeles (JCCGLA) in January.
Life after the centers crisis hasn't been easy for The Shalom Institute: Camp and Conference Center, and now officials are learning how to raise the bulk of the camp's $2.3 million budget.
"Everything is great but we need support," said Bill Kaplan, executive director of the Shalom Institute, which runs Camp JCA Shalom.
They are not scholarships but "camperships" in Jewish summer camp parlance. Of the 1,000 campers expected soon at Malibu's Camp JCA Shalom, which is supported by JCCGLA, about 200 parents applied for camperships.
"It's amazing, in the past few years, the income level of people who are requesting camperships," said Bill Kaplan, executive director of the Shalom Institute, which runs Camp JCA Shalom. Its campership aid this year will run about $130,000, $75,000 of which is general camp aid from The Federation. That is an increase from the $50,000 The Federation made available 2002, the boost due to the increase in cash-strapped families.