Tipping At Day Camp

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    I don’t understand why after paying more than $2,000 for 2 children to go to daycamp (one in preschool) that I have to shell out more than $240 in tips between the Rebbe, Morah, counselors, JC’s, bus driver and bus monitor. I understand that you need to show appreciation for giving our children such a wonderful summer experience but that’s alot of money. It really adds up especially when a family has more than 2 children in daycamp and sleepaway camp! Can anyone in the coffee room give some advice on what to do– to tip or not to tip?!? Is writing a thoughtful card enough?


    Writing a thoughtful card WITH your tip is a nicer thing to do. The counselors are not paid enough, and though that is not your fault, like a waiter or waitress, they depend on these tips for parnassah.Give what you can afford, but give SOMETHING. If you can afford to send your kids to camp and sleepaway camp also, the tips should be cheshboned into the cost, and you could perhaps put aside some money each week just towards that purpose, all year long. JMO.


    I understand where you are coming from and coming from a large family I understand. But, being a teenager who has been exposed to the daycamp world, the counslers really rely on those tips and it is just not fair not to tip them. The whole question of whether or not they should exist is a different question but considering that they do exist-please, for the counsler/jc’s etc. sake, it really makes a difference when you tip.

    Also, when you add in a note-even just a thank you for such a great summer-it makes the tip so much more meaningful and I’ve seen the diffference! It makes the recipient of the tip feel so much more accomplished after working with 20 annoying kids all summer (im not implying that all kids are annoying but rather that a lot of them can get whiny throughout a day at daycamp! Just imagine 20 of your kid the way he or she behaves when he/she is cranky! )


    While I agree with you about the tipping, considering you just spent a small fortune for camp, you just should realize that running a daycamp costs a lot of money. If you figure the costs to run all those buses, insurance, snacks, drinks, costs for art supplies, renting out places to go swimming, etc… you will realize that it really does cost a lot of money. I don’t work for a camp, but I was trying to figure out where all the money is going to. I truly believe the Rebbes and staff don’t make too much out of the whole deal. I understand money is tight for everyone. Give what you can. I always send a nice litte note along with the tip, thanking them for their hard work and giving my children a fantastic time.


    forsure write a nice note but the counslers need the money cuz the camp really doesnt pay well. it is not that much and you dont have to give the exact emount but u most definitly should give them some money


    Tipping by its very definition is a gift. Webster defines it as:

    “a gift or a sum of money tendered for a service performed or anticipated”. The formal word for “tip” is Gratuity, which Websters defines as “something given voluntarily or beyond obligation usually for some service”.

    Gifts, voluntary, show of gratitude are things that can not be mandated. Nobody should be expected to give a gift that they can not afford. nobody can be forced to show gratitude either. Give what you feel appropriate and give what you can afford. The numbers provided by the camp are a guide. It is not mandated.

    For those who argue “they dont get paid much by the camp”, that is not the fault of the parents. As a parent, I am mochel the trips that cost the camp (tens of?) thousands of dollars and dont mind if instead use that money to pay the staff. Charge an extra $100 a kid and use that money to cover tips if necessary.

    Tip the bus driver? Dont we PAY for bus service? When was the last time you tipped a city bys driver? If the bus driver goes out if their way to provide a service that you otherwise would not get, then show your gratitude. Lifeguard? S/He is hired to watch your child at the pool. If s/he spends time with your son a show of gratitude is in order.


    Yes, but don’t you (I hope) also tip the cab driver, waiter, bell boy, porter, doorman, barber, shoe shiner, baby sitter? Please include those who tend to your precious jewels.


    it really is a tremendous amount to pay after paying for a whole summer of camp, even for one child.

    However, being that that is the excepted thing, the excepted way to show gratitude, maybe if you told yourself

    “i am spending $2000 + $240 which is a total of $2240 on camp this summer”

    as apposed to noting them as two separate costs, it might make it easier.

    As a side note, as a counselor myself for many years, the staff really does appreciate your tips. But just as equal, or maybe even more so, a proper note of thanks being the

    “My son/ daughter had a great time this summer”


    I would say to give whatever you feel you can, and if it goes the opposite, meaning you feel you can tip above the amount- this will make up for those who tipped less, you should too, however, take the moment to write a small note of thanks.

    We are not tipping the counselors because their paycheck is small, we are tipping the counselors because are Hakaras Hatov is big…


    Cherry. I tip those who do something above and beyond what they are paid to do. a Waiter is paid to bring the food to your table. If he does it with a lousy attitude and the social graces of a giraffe, I will not tip him. Same for a barber, taci driver or a camp counselor.

    This summer in camp, we tipped one counselor and did not tip another. We simply had zero hakaras hatov to the counselor we gave nothihng to, because he did absolutely nothing for our son. The counselor was paid by the camp to show up every day, I dont have to tip him for doing so. The other counselor made it his business ot ensure all boys, including my son had a good time in camp, for that we are grateful and tipped him what we could.


    Cheey: Have you tipped the YWN Moderators?

    Dr. Pepper

    “The counselors are not paid enough, and though that is not your fault, like a waiter or waitress, they depend on these tips for parnassah.”

    Counselors, waiters, lifeguards… especially the younger ones who are still in high school, have less expenses and usually depend on their parents, not a summer job, for parnassah. In many cases the camp is doing them and their parents a favor by keeping them busy during the summer.

    I personally feel that there should be one all inclusive fee for camps (which include appropriate salaries for the staff) and tipping should not be allowed. Let’s see if any camps have a hard time finding staff members.

    Feif Un

    I worked in a well known day camp in Brooklyn for many years, and can provide some insight on this.

    Day camps really pay their counselors next to nothing. Many are paid even less than minimum wage, and could probably file a complaint against the camp for it. They are told by the administration that they will get plenty in tips. In the camp I worked in, there were certain groups of kids who were known not to tip. The counselors who had those kids would get a bonus from the camp after the summer if they got tips below a certain level.

    You can complain about the extra cost all you want. If parents stopped tipping, the camps would have to pay the counselors more money. That, in turn, would make the camp charge you more to send your kids there.

    From personal experience, I can tell you that yes, there are parents who have a hard time tipping. I’ve had many times where I didn’t receive even close to the suggested tip (which, by the way, hasn’t gone up in close to 15 years – while the cost of camp has more than doubled.) However, I often received a nice note together with the tip. I didn’t mind those at all. There were some kids who didn’t tip at all, with no note. They were usually the kids who didn’t behave all summer, and gave everyone a hard time. I really held it against those parents, and still do, to this day.


    I remember witnessing a father of a boy giving his counselor a 500 DOLLAR TIP!!

    This happned about 30 years ago in Camp Monk….


    Perhaps I’m missing something here. What does it cost to take 350 kids to a water park such as Lake Compounce in Ct? According to their website “special summer 2009 group rates” for groups up to 500 are $19.50 a head. Factor in (a ridiculously low) cost of $100 a bus to get there (350 kids probably means 8 buses) and your looking at $7500 for the trip. Take that $7500 and give it to 25 counselors and suddenly each counselor got a $300 raise. There are 2 major trips each summer, thats $300 raises for 50 counselors or $600 raises for 25 (or some combination). As a parent, I am moichel the major trip that costs the camp so much.


    I worked for many years in a camp where tipping was against camp policy. The fees paid to camp covered everything, including staff compensation and trips they may have taken the kids on.


    I don’t like the whole concept of tipping. I would rather pay the restaurant or camp or taxi the extra amount in the principal payment. The whole thing began as a way to show appreciation for EXTRA service given. It has now become institutionalized and standardized. I don’t like it.

    Be Happy

    B”H we don’t tip our counselors. Here in Britain to be a counselor (we call it leader) is a privilege.

    YW Moderator-42

    There is a standard tipping suggestion for each moderator of 26 times the moderator number multiplied by the number of months they have been moderating multiplied by the number of your posts they have approved.


    minus 100 times the number of posts they have deleted 😉

    fine… and 1000 times the number of posts that they edited so as to be able to be published :o)


    jphone- your kids would have no problem forgoing the long awaited trip to Lake Compounce?? Maybe don’t have other small little trips, but to take away major trip?

    also, for me to rent ONE mini coach bus there, the estimated cost was from $500 to $750.

    and a school bus for an hours drive, from a cheap company was $475…

    so i guess your right, if they would cut out major trip they would save ALOT of money 😉


    Lets see…..

    That will be about 45 cents for Mod 42.


    A camp that i worked in in my area does something that i think is really smart, and beautiful.

    They send out a letter at the end of the summer saying “please show your hakaras hatov…


    meaning that if you can, tip. howmuch? how ever much you feel, however much you can afford.

    In reality, this works well for the parents, as well as the counslors. Becuase, because their is no suggested amount, the parents that are used to paying more, payed more, and the parents that could pay alot, sisn’t but the counslor ended up getting pretty much the same amounts- suggested or not, and this way no one feels bad if they can’t pay alot, no one knows.

    Once again, my counslors have mixed feelings on this subject, but on thing they agree on is-

    whatever you are tipping (or not tipping) a word of thanks goes a l-o-n-g way!

    I remeber one of my counslors was a little hurt when she got from a kids mother- whom she spend alot of time working with and became close to the child, “Thank you for a great summer”


    Ambush. I’m not sure if that question was serious or a joke. On the off chance it was a serious question. No, they do not look foward to the summer so that they can shlep 4 hours each way on a hot school bus to spend 2 hours at a water park.


    “I remeber one of my counslors was a little hurt when she got from a kids mother- whom she spend alot of time working with and became close to the child, “Thank you for a great summer”

    Let me guess, 50 bucks in the envelope would have mitigated that hurt.


    Thank you all for your suggestions and advice. Maybe I should better rephrase my question: I havent finished paying up the camp fees so is it better to finish paying the camp or tip all the counselors… I can’t do both. Also, if I can’t tip should I write a nice thank you card anyways ?


    Tip and then finish paying the camp.


    I was a counselor for a number of years in 2 different camps and i havent gotten paid from EITHER one yet. The camp claimed that they were short in money bla bla bla and that they hope to pay by chanuka… whatever the story i didnt get paid so i was sort of relying on the tips ( which by the way i got very very little and i had the hardest bunk)

    On the other side of the coin– My mother has k”h a lot of children in camp and she always complains how hard it is to tip so many counselors and rebbis she feels it never ends. I appreciated getting even 7 dollars with a nice note. it makes a difference.


    is it better to finish paying the camp or tip all the counselors.

    actually not a simple shailah

    i suspect it would depend on whether, Halachically, you have a chiuv to tip the counselors.

    i would think paying the tuition comes first but you really should ask a Rav


    you could argue the same for camp bichlal, should kids be going if parents aren’t paying full tuition. I guess the answer is, we see that camp is crucial, usually. So should parents tip proportionately to school?

    Our question is – and we never tipped for day camp, hadn’t heard it was necessary – one of our kids is in a sleepaway camp that pushes tipping. She’s working part time in the camp, giving us a deep discount on the camp. So it is ok if we don’t do the full recommended tip?


    I worked hard as a preschool day camp counselor for several years, and I noticed something interesting about which parents tipped. Practically all the girls who came from poorer families, with out-of-style hand me down clothing brought in tips. The few who didn’t sent a thank you card. The girls who came from families who were better off, and were always dressed in brand name clothing, gave nothing. As an aside, those were the ones who were more difficult. As a general rule, good middos in the children were inversely proportional to financial status.


    jewishsoul: Good observation.


    <disclaimer: I didn’t read most comments on this thread>

    I worked in a very well known camp for several years, as did my siblings. I personally would prefer to tip the counselors for their service based on the fact that the kids who tip are treated much better than the kids who dont, OR, the kids whose parents send in a thank you note.

    I remember one of my siblings once worked in a day camp, got paid next to nothing, and got no tips from the parents. My mother called up the camp, horrified, and they said, “we send home a tipping letter, but it’s completely up to the parents.”



    kapusta, Don’t the tips come at the end of the season? So how would the counselor know which child to mistreat due to a lack of tip?


    The word TIP means “to insure promptness”. (acronym)

    I have been a counselor in a camp and was paid almost nothing. I was told when I got my paycheck that I shouldn’t show it to others because I was paid more as I was older…They paid according to the counselor’s grade in school/age. If I was paid that little, I would hate to see what the younger counselors were paid. Yes, some were much younger, more like junior counselors, but some were high school-age and they should be receiving decent pay. I wonder what the adults in charge were paid… From my personal experience, I see that tipping is important. But I had a family where they gave a small gift instead of payment. Yes, money would be more appreciated after a summer of work, the gift showed that they cared and wanted to show their appreciation. One family- it looked like the kids picked something out for their counselors. It was cute and I wouldn’t really use it or need it, but it showed that they cared. Sometimes, that is what is important.


    Joseph- sometimes tips are given at visiting day or when the parents mail the kid the money (if sleep away).

    A note to add- camps should make sure that all jobs be given a salary or be a “tipping job” at least. There are those camps out there where certain jobs dont get a paycheck but they do get tips. That is known before the staff works there. I had a job once at a sleep away camp and I didnt get a tipping job. I felt like the camp forgot about me when I worked the whole summer, got no tips and no paycheck. I was told that they would give money in tips/appreciation (from camp and not from parents if need be) but I wasnt given anything. Some jobs are automatically tipping jobs: waitress, counselor or JC. what about lifeguards, office staff, nurses’s assistants (camps have them), activity-heads (arts and crafts, boating, ect)??? The camp I went to did not pay me and I forgive them at this point but wish camps were more attuned to their staff.


    jewishsoul, very true!

    Joseph, IMO the majority of parents tip at the end of each half because many counselors leave at the end of July. Also, the kids weren’t specifically treated badly, just that they were served after the other kids. Thats just the way I found it to be, but the kids really did no wrong.



    i dont agree with everyone here. i was a counselor for 4 year old boys 2 years ago and the hardest kid in the bunks mother gave me 1 extra dollar and i still rememeber it. i think it showed alot- it was the mothers sign of appreciation. and this year i had an extremely hard bunk of 4th graders, and i think that if you write a nice note with it , it makes all the difference. i rememeber that we were going on a trip and 1 girl wasnt there. so i decided that its not the kids type to not go , so i called her mom to see whats the issue, and her mom said she just overslept and didnt know about the trip! bh” the girl got to the trip on time.

    but the point of this story is that when she came to tip me she gave a very nice note on a full piece of paper thanking me for calling her daughter on the day of the trip. and many others in my bunk who couldnt afford to tip $15 gave me a very nice thank you card. good luck to you!


    Full disclosure. I was a counselor for almost ten years in a sleepaway camp that did NOT allow tipping. Tipping was against camp policy (although I dont know of anyone that actually turned away money offered by a parent – a small percentage always wanted to give something) and all mailings home to parents reiterated this point. Going into the summer, we knew exactly what our salary was from the camp, and those were our expectations. Moreover, during staff orientation, one thing that was stressed again, and again was that the staff was in camp to ensure the campers had a wonderful summer. Of course we were allowed to enjoy ourselves too, but that was not the reason we were in the camp and it was not our priority. The fun and well being of the campers was responsibility and priority number 1, 2 and 3. We knew this going in and we took the job under these conditions.

    As a parent of boys in camp things seem to have changed. Counselors appear to have their own fun, emjoyment and relaxation as their summer priority and their campers are but a means to get thenselves into camp. Those same campers are also their “meal tickets” to “TIPS”, and those that they feel will not result in TIPS get the short end of the stick.

    Back when I was a counselor, there was no such thing as boys sitting around and watching a “staff game” in the afternoon. All staff activities happened at night, after lights out. There were no such thing as 2 day trips to Niagra (just an example, dont even know for sure if camps go to Niagra, I do know that there are overnight trips) or similar activities. There were a full schedule of activities and campers attended them. It was the responsibility of the counselor to ensure all campers were at all activities and participated in them. Now, if kids want to attend an activity, they do, if not, there is nobody encouraging them to do so.

    Priorities seem to have gotten all mixed up with TIPS being the focal point of everyones summer. The staff in receiving them and the parents worrying about what to give to who and how much. Lets get back to basics, where the focus of the summer is the camper and his/her growth. Camps should adequately compensate staff and not hope for “TIPS” as their compensation. The staff should understand their role and realize they accepted a responsibility in return for specific compensation. I cant imagine ANY camp guarantees any amount to any staff member when it comes to TIPS. that would be misleading at best, and wrong at the worst. TO be continued……

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