Dear Friends,

The warm welcome you and others have shown me in my first few weeks as Executive Director of Camp Tawonga has been heartwarming and deeply moving. Tawonga is fortunate to be so beloved, and I am grateful to be leading the agency in this exciting role.

For the past 15 years, I’ve seen young people at Tawonga discover their voices, develop a strong sense of self and connect deeply to our Jewish community and natural world. They are then inspired to carry these learnings and values home. It has been deeply moving to watch the transformational experiences you and your children have had at Tawonga.

I’m excited to share my vision for the organization as we move forward together. With your help, we can ensure Tawonga’s 92-year-old beautiful legacy endures through four main focus areas: continuing to cultivate meaningful experiences for youth at summer camp, expanding our programs in order to better serve you throughout the year, creating programs that are radically inclusive and preserving our site for years to come.

Summer Camp Excellence
You will experience continued excellence and care in every youth, teen and Family Camp program at our Tuolumne River site. Through ongoing comprehensive evaluation, planning and staffing of all aspects of our programming, you will benefit from Tawonga experiences that are continually innovated and renewed. These core programs for you and your family will continue to define Tawonga as a premier Jewish summer camp. 

Program Expansion
Over the last two years, through a listening tour, you and others shared the need to have more transformative “Tawonga moments” in your lives. We listened, and are now increasing access to Tawonga for all ages, throughout the calendar year, both up at Camp and locally Down the Mountain. Now, you not only can take Tawonga home in your heart, but in reality!

  • You will experience a growing number of weekend programs at Camp. From Family Camps to alumni weekends, there will be something for you.

  • You and your family will be able to participate in new programs to meet our community’s needs, like a Teen Leadership Institute.

  • You will have opportunities to join Tawonga Bay Area programs all year long for every age, including observances and celebrations of Jewish holidays, our Bar & Bat Mitzvah Program, volunteer opportunities and more. 

Radical Inclusivity
Tawonga will get stronger through a renewed dedication in our approach to diversity and inclusion. Like me, you have always known Tawonga to be a warm and welcoming place to all; it is one of my key priorities as executive director to extend this philosophy so that we are radically inclusive.

  • Differences will be celebrated, not merely tolerated. We will deepen our understanding of racial, socioeconomic, gender and sexual diversity in our community to ensure Tawonga is a safe, accessible and inclusive space for everyone.

  • Informed by your feedback, we will continue to innovate our programs with an awareness toward broader acceptance and validation; and we will cast a wider net to ensure that the diversity of our larger community is represented in the diversity of Camp.

  • The staff working with you and your family will participate in professional trainings in order to share tools for Tawongans to be effective agents of change.

Site Preservation and Restoration
We are committed to investing in the 160 acres we own along the Tuolumne River. You can rest assured that our collective home away from home in the Sierra mountains will thrive for the next 100 years.

  • We will steward, preserve and restore our property and facilities.

  • By winterizing our site, you will have access to an expanded program season at Camp that will accommodate more programs and individuals.

  • We will implement green infrastructure and manage our land sustainably for the benefit of future generations.

It is with great pride that I take on this role as Tawonga’s executive director, and I know that your wisdom and ideas are going to help make us even stronger. Please share your thoughts with me or any of our staff. Whether at a Tawonga Down the Mountain event, bus drop-off, or in our San Francisco office, I hope you connect with us soon!


Jamie Simon, Executive Director
/ 415.543.2267

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