About Camp Ben Frankel

Providing lifelong memories since 1949

Camp Ben Frankel is a coed, overnight, summer camp for Jewish children and teens located in Carbondale, IL. Since 1949, our campers have developed lifelong friendships and deep connections to Judaism and Israel. With enrollment limited to only 100 campers, children enjoy a small, personal community with lots of individual attention.

Established as a program of The Jewish Federation of Southern Illinois, Southeast Missouri and Western Kentucky, for 70 years Camp Ben Frankel has touched the lives of thousands of Jewish children.

Camp Activities

Choose from 100+ each summer!


The Thrill Of Athletics

Sports on our fields and courts form the athletic heart of CBF, including: baseball, basketball, soccer, ultimate frisbee, gaga, tennis, volleyball, fitness, flag football, track and field, running club, and more


Ready, Set, Go

With access to 3,100 acres of forest, fields, hills, and lakes campers can enjoy horseback riding, climbing, high ropes, camping, hiking, archery, fire building, science, nature, and more


Splash In Paradise 

Our sandy beachfront on Little Grassy Lake is the perfect setting for aqua park, stand up paddleboarding, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, beachfront, and more

The Arts

Find Your Inner Artist

CBF has a rich tradition of performing and creative arts that include dance, drama, cooking, singing, guitar, ukelele, rock band, percussion, arts and crafts, creative writing, book club, and much more


Choice Is the Name of the Game!

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Honor Heritage. Respect Tradition. Build Pride.

Inclusive Judaics

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. 


A Typical Day

7:00 – Boker Tov (Wake up)

Get ready for the day!

8:00 – Haramat Degel (Flag Raising)

8:10 – T’fila Options (Morning Services)

Campers can choose from several different options each morning

such as a communal service in Hebrew, a music service,

a guided meditation service, a jogging service, and much more.

8:30 – Aruchat Boker (Breakfast)

Choices include a hot entree, a cereal bar, fruit,

and diet and allergy accommodations.

9:30 – Limud (Judaic Elective)

Campers choose a different Judaic activity each week. Examples

include Hebrew, Torah study, Bar or Bat Mitzvah tutoring,

Israeli dance, art and prayer, and other engaging options.  

10:00 – Pe'ulah (Cabin Activity)

Daily rotating activity together with the other campers

in your group. This could might be any of our 100+ different

daily activities including sports, the arts, waterfront, adventure, and more.

11:20 - Chug Aleph (Camper Choice Activity #1)

Camp Ben Frankel's signature daily activity: Each camper chooses 

their own custom schedule from an enormous and exciting

variety of activities -- more than 100 options available each summer! 

12:45 – Aruchat Tzohorayim (Lunch)

Our menu balances nutrition and kid-friendly appeal. Most importantly:

options abound! There is always a well-stocked salad bar

a peanut-free sandwich option, and we accommodate diets and allergies. 

1:25 – M’nucha and Mail (Rest Hour)

Time for campers to rest and relax in our air-conditioned cabins before

jumping in to the rest of the action-packed day

2:35 - Chug Bet (Camper Choice Activity #2)

Campers enjoy their second elective activity, picking from

sports, the arts, adventure, waterfront, and more. 

3:45 - Afternoon Snack

Healthy snacks are available to help refuel before

heading into the next activity period.

3:55 – Chug Gimel (Camper Choice Activity #3)

The final daily elective activity period.

5:10 - Pe'ulah (Afternoon Cabin Activity)

Campers enjoy more quality time together with the counselors

and other campers in the cabin. 

5:50 - Shower Time

Time to clean up after a long day full of activities

6:40 – Aruchat Erev (Dinner)

7:30 – Horadat Degel (Flag Lowering)

7:40 – Evening Program

Each night is a different magical experience as planned by our talented

and creative staff. Campers might be treated to a performance, an interactive

game show, a scavenger hunt, a hayride, a camp dance, and more.

9:00 - Evening Snack

9:15 – Medura (campfire) and Friendship Circle

Each night (except Shabbat), all of our campers and staff gather around the campfire

and beneath the gorgeous starry sky for a closing circle. This is consistently rated

as one of the top highlights of camp!​ 

9:45 – Chalutzim Laila Tov (Lights out for grades 2-6)

Our staff run special nightly activities for their groups in order to help

wind down and rest up for the following day.  

10:00 – Giborim Laila Tov (Lights out for grades 7-10)

Teen campers enjoy many special privileges. One of the most important: 

weekly Teen Late Nights. These special teen-only activities might include

a movie night, s'mores on the beach, or a teens-only dance.

10:30 – CIT Laila Tov (Lights out for grade 11)

Location and 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 and Beach

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

Facilities Include

- Archery Range
- Arts and Crafts Studio

- Athletic Fields
- Basketball & Tennis Courts

- Beach and Waterfront

- Gaga Court

- Horseback Stables

- High Ropes Course

- Hiking Trails

- Nine Square
- Performance Venues

- Rock Climbing

- Running Track 

- Teams Course

- Volleyball Court
- And more

3,100 Stunning 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.

Multipurpose Dining Hall

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.

Check out our FAQs or reach out to us for more info!

Have More Questions?


Office Address:

3419 W. Main St

Belleville, IL 62226

©2020 by Camp Ben Frankel. 

Photo Credit: Neshama Roash/Firefly Universe Fine Portrait Photography