About Camp Ben Frankel

Providing Lifelong Memories Since 1949

FOR EVERY JEWISH CHILD, A PLACE TO BELONG

Camp Ben Frankel has been creating lifetime friendships and Jewish connections for more than 70 years. In a typical summer Camp Ben Frankel is a Jewish overnight camp located in Southern Illinois. Originally established as a program of the Jewish Federation of Southern Illinois, Southeast Missouri, and Western Kentucky, CBF was founded to ensure that children from small towns could come together and join a Jewish community.

SUMMER 2020: FROM OVERNIGHT TO ONLINE

In 2020, CBF's overnight camp was cancelled as a result of Covid-19. However, CBF continued to provide an amazing summer experience through the launch of Camp Ben Frankel Online, a groundbreaking virtual camp experience. Children attended CBF Online from across the country and built lifelong friendships, had wholesome fun, and learned valuable life skills. Children from all Jewish backgrounds were welcomed to CBF’s inclusive and pluralist environment.

A REPUTATION FOR HIGH-QUALITY

Camp Ben Frankel was named to Chicago Parent Magazine's top ten camps list for 2019. CBF Online ensured a high-quality experience through partnerships with the Foundation For Jewish Camp, JCamp180, Jewish Camps USA, and Jewish Federations across the country. Year over year, surveys from parents, campers, and staff rate their experiences with CBF highly, a trend that continued after the summer of 2020.

In October 2020, Camp Ben Frankel was presented with the JCamp180 Outstanding Board Leadership Award. 

CBF Online was also featured in the Jewish Telegraph Agency, The Forward, The Telegraph (UK), and eJewishPhilanthropy.

ONLINE PROGRAMMING EXPANDED DURING COVID

In the Fall of 2020, CBF Online expanded its programming and began offering weekly programming, including Kabbalat Shabbat services and camp reunions as well as a winter version of camp, CBF Online: Winter Edition.

Camp Activities

Choose from 100+ each summer!

Sports

Adventure

Waterfront

The Arts

The Thrill of Athletics

Virtual Camp Activities

Sports

The Thrill of Athletics

Sports activities reimagined online including sports announcing and podcasting, fitness, dance, yoga, martial arts, fantasy sports and more!

Gaming

Ready, Set, Go!

The perfect way to laugh and build friendships in highly interactive and collaborative activities like Dungeons and Dragons, group party games, strategy games, Magic The Gathering, and escape the breakout room. 

Music & Media

Sing, Play, Create

Score your own musical composition - just like in the movies, write and record your own song, create music videos, design your own apparel, or produce a weekly online camp newspaper!

The Arts

Find Your Inner Artist

Visual and culinary arts include cooking show challenges, painting with Bob Ross, drawing, crafting, sculpture, upcycling and jewelry making.

Theater arts include improv, voiceover, screenwriting, acting, and musical theater!

From Our Overnight Camp

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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. 

Location & Facilities

Camp Ben Frankel has partnered with Southern Illinois University Carbondale for more than 40 years to host camp at the Touch of Nature Environmental Center.

Our camp facilities include climate-controlled cabins, shower houses, a dining hall and multipurpose performance center, infirmary, basketball and tennis courts, athletic fields, and private beach. We are nestled within a 3,100 acre forest complete with a high ropes course, a team building course, and horseback riding.

Air Conditioned

Cabins

Our cabins are air conditioned to ensure that our campers and counselors can get a healthy and comfortable amount of rest.

Waterfront

& Beach

Boating, swimming, sports, and games on the beautiful sandy shores of Little Grassy Lake.

3,100

Stuning Acres

Our site at the Touch of Nature facility includes 3,100 acres of rolling hills and lush forests which provide the perfect atmosphere for outdoor education and adventure.

Multi-Purpose

Dining Room

Our dining hall houses our kosher kitchen and is the center of our community. It's our Shabbat destination, the stage for performances and concerts, and home to our raucous song sessions.

Facilities Include:

  • Archery Range

  • Arts and Crafts Studio

  • Athletic Fields 

  • Basketball & Tennis Courts

  • Hiking Trails

  • Nine Square

  • Performance Venues

  • Rock Climbing

  • Beach and Waterfront

  • Gaga Court

  • Horseback Stables

  • High Ropes Course

  • Running Track 

  • Teams Course

  • Volleyball Court

  • And more

Neshama Roash/Firefly Universe Fine Portrait Photography

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618-235-1614

3419 W. Main St., Belleville, IL 62226