About Camp Massad
Who we are
Camp Massad is a family. Still loyal to our founding charter, we are a Hebrew-speaking, Jewish and Zionist summer camp for campers aged 7-17 tucked away in the majestic Laurentian mountains. Since 1947, Machane Massad has represented the distinctive brand of Montreal pluralism founded in modern Orthodox practice but welcoming to children from all Jewish backgrounds. Our focus on experiential Jewish programming, centred on our core values, encourages each camper to gain independence and explore personal development within a nurturing and respectful environment. We offer Jewish youth an opportunity to experience the joy, substance and meaning of living a Jewish daily life in a way that equips them to embrace Jewish practice as they take their place within their community.
Our mission is to ensure that every camper enjoys a fun, safe, and nurturing summer through meaningful Jewish experiences rooted in a Shabbat observant and Zionist environment. Campers are embraced into our Massad family, all the while being enveloped by our רוח, and our מסורת מסד. Through our quality programs, our campers benefit from individualized attention, skill-development, and take pride in their accomplishments. In our inclusive community, campers and staff form lifelong friendships, and are inspired to live a Jewish life.
A Massad Summer
Campers of all different Jewish backgrounds are encouraged to explore their Jewish identity and connection to Israel, while participating in fun and engaging activities, developing new skills, and making lifelong friendships.
The observance and celebration of Shabbat and Mitzvot.
To continue and honour the Massad traditions and its rich, distinct atmosphere.
To strengthen the love and commitment to the land of Israel, Jewish culture and the Hebrew language.
To foster an environment where lifelong friendships are nurtured, and creating a sense of family and unity within the camp.
A commitment to creating quality programs that enrich and challenge participants to grow and excel, to strive for success and flourish, appreciating that we are creating tomorrow’s leaders.
75 Years of Rich History
- Camp Massad was foundedCamp Massad was founded in the mid 1940s under the leadership of Aron Horowitz and others, the Keren ha-Tarbut ha-Ivrit prepared to open a Hebrew-immersive summer camp in the Laurentians. The organization purchased a site along Lac Quenouille (dubbed "Agam Kana'i", 'Zealot's Lake') with funds donated by the camp's first president, Yitzchak Gold. In June 1947, Camp Massad was opened. It welcomed 150 campers by its second summer, and 250 campers by 1952.
- Names of the UnitsInspired by Jewish tradition, Zionism, and Hebrew culture, the names of the units at Massad were at first "Chalutzim" ('pioneers'), "Olim" ('ascenders'), "Bonim" ('builders'), and "Shomrim" ('watchmen'). In 1949, following the American Massad movement, they were renamed "Shoresh" ('root'), "Geza" ('trunk'), "Anaf" ('branch'), and "Tzameret" ('treetop').
- Himnon Ha-Machane was composedIn the same year, a camp-wide song-writing competition was held to establish that summer’s camp anthem. It was won by Emek Alef Banim and their staff with the song now known as Himnon ha-Machane. Though originally planned to used for just that year, it would eventually replace Bialik’s Birkat Am as the main anthem sung alongside Hatikvah daily, and continues to be sung to this day.
- Machon L'Madrichim opensWith the help of the Jewish Agency, Camp Massad opened the Machon l'Madrichim (or Malam) on June 28, 1955. The leadership training institution was set up to train counselors and youth leaders through practical instruction and study. By 1959 it had over seventy participants from ten communities in Canada and the United States, including campers from Massad Bet in Torrance, Ont. and Massad Gimmel in Gimli, Man. (established in 1950 and 1953, respectively).
- First Israel TripIn 1958 Camp Massad organized its first trip to Israel, becoming the first ever Hebrew-speaking youth group from the Diaspora to visit the country. The tour, sponsored partly by the Youth and Chalutziut Department of the Jewish Agency, was a resounding success, and was repeated a number of times in the years to come.
- Galil OpensTo accommodate the growing number of campers, Massad purchased a new campsite across the road from its original location. The site, called Galil, would house Massad's high school-age campers. For many years, Galil operated as its own independent camp, with its own chadar ochel, ulam, and facilities.
- Camp Massad's IndependentIn 1974, the Zionist Organization of Canada, which had officially absorbed the Keren ha-Tarbut a few years earlier, unexpectedly resolved to close Camp Massad, citing budgetary constraints. A group of former Massadniks, under leadership of David Finestone and Moe Bauman, incorporated Camp Massad as an independent company, preventing its closure by the ZOC.
- Pegishat Eidah was IntroducedIn 1997, Camp Massad introduced a new program where campers followed individualized daily schedules, attending activities of their own choosing. This has become a defining feature of Massad's curriculum year-to-year.
- Massad First Hosted Maccabi Sports FestivalIn the summer of 1998, Massad hosted, for the first time, the Maccabi Sports Festival. The annual festival brings together the Jewish summer camps in the Laurentians—Camp Massad, Camp Kinneret, Camp B’nai Brith, and the Y Country Camp— for a friendly competition in song and sport.
- Camp Massad Recorded its First CD - Massad ChaiIn 2000, Camp Massad released Massad Chai, a music album featuring the singing talent of its campers. It includes classic Israeli folk songs, popular Hebrew music, and songs written by Massadniks, some of which are still taught and sung each summer.
- New Wave of Capital Upgrades BeganThe newest wave of capital upgrades began with the construction of new accommodations at the site of the Old Marpe'ah in 2015, and a new Moadon Galil in 2017. In 2020, a Master Plan outlining six phases of future renovations and in support of it, a capital campaign was launched. As part of Phase 1 of this Master Plan, new docks at the Agam were built for use during the summer of 2021. That same year, a new bunk in Galil and a new maintenance garage were also built. Phase 2 of the Master Plan is set to be introduced for summer 2023!
Machane Massad's Founding
Our Board of Directors