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.
Choose from 100+ each summer!
The Thrill of Athletics
Virtual Camp Activities
The Thrill of Athletics
Sports activities reimagined online including sports announcing and podcasting, fitness, dance, yoga, martial arts, fantasy sports and more!
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!
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
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.
Our cabins are air conditioned to ensure that our campers and counselors can get a healthy and comfortable amount of rest.
Boating, swimming, sports, and games on the beautiful sandy shores of Little Grassy Lake.
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.
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.
Arts and Crafts Studio
Basketball & Tennis Courts
Beach and Waterfront
High Ropes Course
Neshama Roash/Firefly Universe Fine Portrait Photography