Camp Shalom was created in 1996 by Rhea and Louis Schwartz, who envisioned having a Jewish day camp in Tallahassee. Rhea and Louis saw it as a way to get the area’s Jewish children from elementary through high school together to enrich their Jewish experience and identity. Rhea was the vice president of the Tallahassee Jewish Federation at the time and received support from the federation to sponsor the camp. Two of their children, Patti Brownstein and Mimi Garcia, along with other members of the Jewish community from Temple Israel and Shomrei Torah, specifically Wendy Sokolow and Barbara Goldstein, carried out their vision. Camp Shalom had its first session during the Summer of 1997. Until her recent passing in 2019, Rhea sat at the front desk of Camp Shalom and greeted campers, parents, and staff while keeping a sharp eye on the comings and goings of all. She will be sorely missed.
In honor of Rhea’s vision and many years of service, the camp was renamed to The Rhea Schwartz Camp Shalom.
The Rhea Schwartz Camp Shalom is housed in a local temple. Children from the age of 5 to 11 enjoy a variety of activities each day. Children aged 12 and 13 go on daily field trips and engage in several service activities in the Tallahassee community. Counselors can be entering 9th grade – 12th grade. We also have college students as counselors and area coordinators. Infused in all of these activities is the appreciation and enjoyment of Jewish culture. Many of the children that started as campers are now counselors and year after year keep coming back to join another season of camp. We hope you will consider us for your kids and spread the word about the Rhea Schwartz Camp Shalom!
The story of our founders:
Both Rhea and Lou, born in New York, moved their family of six children down to Tallahassee, Florida in 1968. Lou worked at the Florida State University as a professor in Special Education. Rhea received her Doctorate Degree at FSU in Early Childhood Education and soon thereafter worked at FAMU as a professor in the field. Both were very active in the Jewish Community. Rhea served in many leadership roles, president of the Tallahassee Jewish Federation, Temple Israel Sisterhood (president at age 80) and president of the National Council of Jewish Woman. When they retired, they became certified Leon County Court Mediators as well as mediators for parents with special needs children with the Leon County Schools and Board. Both were avid readers and researchers and loved to travel. They attended as many simchas as they could for every child, grandchild, niece or nephew whether it be graduation, recital or any other special occasion. They also ensured that each of their children and grandchildren had an opportunity to attend an overnight Jewish Camp. The family has fond memories of many Shabbat dinners and Passover Seders together at their house.