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About Camp Ben Frankel

Providing Lifelong Memories Since 1949



Camp Ben Frankel’s mission is to build a lifelong camp family for Jewish children from all backgrounds to explore their identities in an inclusive and welcoming environment, one amazing summer at a time.


At CBF we combine the wisdom of industry best-practices, decades of experienced leadership, strategic partnerships, and an open-minded approach to develop programs and activities that meet or exceed the high expectations of our campers, parents, and camp staff. Safety comes first and Camp Ben Frankel is proudly accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA).


In 2021 we reopened our in-person summer camp and ran successfully with zero cases of Covid. In 2020, CBF Online’s high-quality programming quickly captured attention around the globe and was featured in the Jewish Telegraph Agency, The Forward, The Telegraph (UK), the St. Louis Jewish Light, and eJewishPhilanthropy.

We work closely with strategic partners whose missions and values align with ours to help better serve our community. Partners include the Foundation For Jewish Camp, JCamp180, Jewish Camps USA, Life and Legacy, and Jewish Federations across the country. In October 2020, we were presented with the JCamp180 Outstanding Board Leadership Award. 

Core Values:

  • Prioritizing campers - We use training, experience, and good judgment as guides towards the primary responsibility of ensuring each camper’s physical and emotional safety. 


  • Enjoying good friendship, fun, and excitement - We endeavor to create an environment where every  camper makes friends through fun and joyful experiences.


  • Living Jewishly - We provide opportunities for each camper, from any Jewish background, to create meaningful Jewish experiences to ensure they feel positively connected with Judaism, tikkun olam, and Israel.


  • Promoting inclusivity - We support and celebrate each camper’s individual needs by valuing diversity, guided by the belief that every Jewish child deserves a welcoming Jewish community that supports their emotional, physical, and financial needs. 


  • Pursuing growth, learning, and exploration - We create an environment that welcomes curiosity and embraces innovation by supporting campers as they develop the skills of independence, responsibility, confidence, and resilience.


  • Creating immersive experiences - We encourage campers to feel immersed and present in camp’s rich experiences in order to appreciate the unique community and activities that camp offers.


  • Creating family - We aim to build a lifelong community of campers and staff who respect and support one another through open communication, respectful debate, and shared experiences.

Core Values

Camp Ben Frankel Overnight:

Located in Makanda, IL


Since 1949, our overnight camp has been the perfect place for children looking for a Jewish experience that is welcoming and fun. Campers rave about the high-quality counselors and the variety and quality of activities. Parents trust the professional leadership and love seeing the joy and growth that their children experience after a summer at CBF. 

In 2022, CBF Overnight offers 4-week and 2-week options for campers completing 2nd-11th grades for the 2021-2022 academic year.

CBF Overnight is located in Makanda, Illinois within easy driving distance of St. Louis, Chicago, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Memphis, & Nashville.

Overnight Camp

Health & Safety #1

Thank you for a Covid-free 2021!

In 2021 we enjoyed a Covid-free summer due to our comprehensive use of protocols as recommended by leading experts like the CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics, the Association of Camp Nurses, and the American Camp Association.

We will continue to follow recommendations from these same experts for the 2022 summer. Now that vaccinations are available for all of our camper age groups, all campers and staff members attending Camp Ben Frankel will be required to provide proof of full vaccination against Covid-19, as defined by the CDC, by the time they arrive at camp in 2022.

Health & Safety

The key to an amazing camp experience: THE CAMP STAFF

To play, press and hold the enter key. To stop, release the enter key.

We’re proud of the passion and talent of our amazing staff members. We strongly believe that the most important factor in ensuring that campers have a wonderful experience at camp is the quality of the summer camp staff. We go to great lengths to ensure our counselors are of the highest quality possible. 


Before working with campers, staff members at CBF Overnight must:

  • Pass an extensive, 2-4 interview process

  • Pass a thorough reference check

  • Pass a background check

  • Complete 15-20 hours of pre-camp online training (also eligible for college credit)

  • Complete two weeks of training on site


Our counselors and staff proudly participate in the following programs:

  • The Cornerstone Program by the Foundation For Jewish Camp

  • The Mental Health and Wellness Internship by the Foundation For Jewish Camp

  • Masa Leadership and Impact Center’s Jewish Camp Gap Year Track

  • The American Camp Association National Conference

  • The JCamp180 Annual Conference

  • Songleader Boot Camp

CBF Staff

Inclusive Judaics

Honor Heritage. Respect Tradition. Build Pride.

Camp Ben Frankel is an inclusive, pluralist Jewish community. We welcome campers from all Jewish backgrounds. We nurture a connection to Israel and impart the beauty, meaningfulness, and relevance of Judaism and Hebrew into our campers’ everyday lives.

Each morning, campers can choose from different options for services. Examples include a communal service in Hebrew, an English teaching service, guided meditation, nature exploration, a percussion service, a jogging service -- and more. The goals are to empower campers with the freedom to explore, learn, and find meaningfulness in a safe and encouraging atmosphere. Campers and staff who are interested are encouraged to learn how to lay tefillin, wear a tallis, and to daven.

We have a kosher kitchen and celebrate Shabbat and other Jewish holidays that fall during the session. Motzi and Birkat are recited at every meal.


Connection To Israel

We nurture a proud connection to Israel through special programs and daily activities that teach campers and staff about the religious, historical and cultural importance of Israel to the Jewish people. Our camp community includes Israeli campers and counselors from the Jewish Agency for Israel. 



At Camp Ben Frankel, we believe strongly in the inclusion of campers with special needs and varying ability levels. We believe that all campers should have access to a fun, challenging, vigorous and enjoyable camping experience, no matter the challenges that face them. 


To this end, we partner with Keshet, an internationally recognized leader in the field of inclusion. We also have staff with specific qualifications to assist in the inclusion of campers who might otherwise not be able to participate in or access overnight camp and its resources. 


Our Director of Camper Care and Inclusion is a licensed school social worker with over 15 years of experience working with students with special needs in various school and community settings and is well versed in inclusion programming. 


Additionally, we have Inclusion Counselors, trained to provide personalized inclusion services to any campers who need them. Inclusion Counselors are closely supervised by our Director of Camper Care and Inclusion and hired specifically to work with our special needs campers. These counselors follow specific education and inclusion plans to help make each special needs camper’s experience smooth and supported. 


We will do everything we can to accommodate every camper who wants to attend Camp Ben Frankel and we strive to individualize our approach to enhance each camper’s experience. We do thorough intakes of campers with special needs and work closely with parents, teachers and other key members of our campers’ communities to assure personalized care, while utilizing a person-in-environment approach.

Additionally, we closely review student IEPs and 504 plans to assure that we are supporting these plans and providing the continuity necessary to make the campers’ experience rewarding and all encompassing. At the end of the day, if your future camper has special needs and wants to come to camp, our goal is to help you rest assured that they will be included, loved and accepted as part of our camp.


Dates & Rates

2 Weeks

Rookie Session

June 25 - July 9, 2023

For first-time campers in 2nd-5th grade ('22-'23 academic year), live with 4-week campers. After a successful 1st week, parents may elect to extend their child to the 4-week session.


4 Weeks

Full Session

June 25 - July 23, 2023

Our premier, full camp experience offered for more than 70 years for current 2nd-10th graders.



Teen Leadership

June 25 - July 23, 2023

Our Teen Leadership programs provide training in essential skills to foster leadership and prepare participants to be camp counselors at CBF.

LIT: Leaders In Training for current 10th graders ('22-'23)

CIT: Counselors In Training for current 11th graders ('22-'23)


Dates & Rates
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