Camps Airy & Louise provide Jewish children in grades 2 through 12 from all economic backgrounds with opportunities for self-growth and life skills that enhance their Jewish identity in a single-gender environment, while creating friendships that last a lifetime.
Camps Airy & Louise were founded in 1924 and 1922 respectively by Lillie and Aaron Straus. Originally meant to be a place for Jewish girls to explore the countryside and take a break from factory work, the Strausses wished to provide the values and development of a camping experience to Jewish children from Baltimore and the surrounding area, regardless of their economic background. Aaron and Lillie’s dream was to make a camp that was inclusive and welcoming to all campers equally, whether they paid full price or received significant discounts. We are proud to continue their stance.
At Camps Airy & Louise, we aim for every activity to promote communication, teamwork or leadership skills. Our vision is to provide caring, challenging and creative activities for our campers to develop their own self-confidence, self-advocacy and self-expression.
Camps Airy & Louise provide an incredible range of activities that create a summer full of fun experiences for staff and campers alike. Beyond that, however, all our activities point towards a single set of values which underlie everything we do.
Self-growth: At Camps Airy & Louise we strengthen the natural ways that the freedom of summer camp releases children to discover their true selves and step beyond themselves to grow. We encourage children to develop their self-confidence, self-expression and self-advocacy through creative, challenging and safe risk-taking activities.
Single-gender: Camps Airy & Louise are single gender by deliberate choice. We offer boys and girls the unique advantages of learning from strong role models and being able to extend themselves beyond gender stereotyping.
Life skills: Our excellent camp staff turn every situation into a learning experience. As well as developing new talents and enjoying fun pursuits, our campers learn valuable life skills at every turn. At Camp Airy Louise, children develop their flexibility, conflict resolution abilities, teamwork, leadership capabilities and communication skills without even realizing it. The diversity of camp staff encourages campers and staff members to learn to interact with different people who might hold very different views.
Life-long friendships: Wonderful warm friendships that last a lifetime are one of the most important parts of a summer at Camps Airy & Louise. Bunk life encourages campers to develop their tolerance for difference. Campers learn to live together and accept each other’s quirks and personality traits. Often strong friendships spring up who on the surface may have had nothing in common.
Appreciation for the natural world: Camps Airy & Louise are strongly founded on an awareness of our responsibility to our environment and our obligations towards our surroundings. We promote a sense of commitment and a deeper understanding of our job of protecting the environment.
Jewish identity: Through Shabbat celebration, Israeli programming and community service, Camps Airy & Louise extend a warm, welcoming and inclusive Jewish community that is without judgement. By encouraging our campers to share their own beliefs and practices, we help them to explore what Judaism means to them. Through learning and listening to each other, boys and girls at Camps Airy & Louise achieve a mature and positive sense of Jewish identity that extends beyond school and into their wider life.
The ideals of Jewish peoplehood (klal yisrael), repairing our world (tikkun olam), improving our personal ethics (tikkun middot) and awareness of spirituality (ruach v’kavanah) permeate and motivate our community.
Shabbat offers an opportunity to reflect on the past week and to properly prepare for the week ahead. We gather together in nature to celebrate the start of Shabbat on Friday night with music, prayer and reflection. Shabbat continues on Saturday morning with an observance intended to be comfortable for everyone regardless of their background. After special afternoon programming, Shabbat concludes with a Havdallah service that recognizes the end of Shabbat and welcomes the new week ahead.