A Letter To Our Campers

  • Dear CTN Campers,

    Five weeks already…seriously, how is that possible? How’s the food? I haven’t seen a photo of you in two days, are you still there? Did you get a part in the Disney play? Are you still enjoying the new podcasting elective? Feels like just yesterday you arrived on that dark, rainy day and brought so much light and life to Tel Noar. Some of you were a bit nervous, others barely looked back as you broke free from the embrace of your parents’ arms, and now here we are, with just a couple weeks remaining, and there’s so much I want to say to you.

     

    I first want to say thank you. Thank you, Asher, for your unstoppable curiosity and questions. Your theory on when and why Color War will break is creative and incredibly intuitive. Thank you, Lauren, for your frequent hugs, you somehow have perfect timing and know just when I could use it. Thank you, Nathan, for showing me compassion as you gently encouraged and then successfully convinced me to go on a ride at Canobie Lake Park. Sam, for always asking me how my day is going when you see me around camp. Thank you, Alex, for demonstrating patience and commitment as you tried again and again before getting up on water skis – I’m so glad I was there to see it. Carly, for making me laugh harder than anyone else can. Seriously, you’ve got stand-up in your future. Thank you for saying “thank you” when you feel grateful and “sorry” when you make a mistake. Thank you to the three campers who very eagerly tracked me down in the office to show me the frog you had found for me, I hope my screams didn’t startle you…a thoughtful gesture, but please don’t do that again. Thank you for advocating for your bunk mates. Thank you Brooke, Bradley and Corey for taking initiative and coming early to Casino Night yesterday to help with the extensive set up. And thank you, Madelyn, for teaching me more about life, and resilience, and humor, than I could have ever expected from someone so young.

     

    I’m proud of you. There are so many of you that I’ve had the chance to watch grow up at camp. Whether it’s been over the last seven summers or just over the last five weeks, I’m proud of the people you have become. Tel Noar is better off because of campers like you. I’m proud of all of our first-timers. You have demonstrated tremendous courage in your first week away from home, you have made new friends, tried new activities and have done it all on your very own, that’s pretty special – and there’s so much more to come. I’m proud of you, Bunk 10 for spending an entire period on just one of the ropes course elements because of your unwavering commitment to helping a bunkmate succeed. You cheered, encouraged and assisted one another until the entire bunk was able to successfully finish as one group. I’m proud of our Jewish Arts Festival performers who visited Newbridge to perform for the residents and represented CTN so proudly. Ethan and Alex, I’m proud of you for walking around and offering popcorn to Hampstead residents who joined us at camp to cheer on their children in our Staff vs. Hampstead Rec basketball game. You did that all on your own, how cool is that? To our Senior Girls Basketball team, the most gracious hosts I’ve ever met. I’m proud of your response when I asked how we did. “Oh, we lost, but we had the most spirit and now we can go cheer on the other teams.” I’m proud of Will and Ben who dominated a step-ball game and celebrated their victory with a very cute embrace and very large smiles. It’s impossible for me to walk around camp and not stumble upon a moment that reminds me in some way why camp is the perfect place to grow, play and learn, and I’m proud of the simple fact that CTN nourishes that.

     

    I can’t wait to see you. Now I know, I’m lucky because I get to see you every day. No need to hit the refresh button to find your smiling faces or run out to the mailbox to see if I got a letter. Each day I get to walk out the Office door and be greeted by your excitement, your bright eyes, and your joyfulness. But I still can’t wait to see you. I can’t wait to watch you master that perfect dive in the deep end, and I can’t wait to watch you beam as your big brother gets named a Color War captain, and I can’t wait to see you with purple dripping down your face after a visit from the Kona Ice truck. I can’t wait for you to perform the JAF performance you have spent so much time mastering, and I can’t wait for you to experience the satisfaction and pride of your accomplishment as a group after the final performance.  I can’t wait to continue to watch you transform from a quiet 9 year-old to a bold, confident young adult, and I can’t to watch our CATs/CITs transform into incredible role models as they transition out of their time as a camper. I can’t wait to watch all you’ve learned here help you accomplish everything you want to out there.

     

    Now for some advice. It’s been a wild ride, so far, but it’s not over yet. You’ve done amazing things, made memories that you’ll file away for the months to come. You now have a collection of moments, emotions and a vault of memories that will only grow as you grow up here. Savor every minute, squeeze your friends a little bit tighter and walk a little bit slower. Take it all in, the sight of waking up each morning with a view of the lake, the sound of screen doors slamming as we run back during Clear the Area before evening activity, and the smell of coffee cake on a Saturday morning. At camp, even the small moments can have the most significance. Get in as much tetherball as you can, make another trip up to the pasta bar and have one more bowl of that sugary cereal you don’t get at home. Go to lunch in your pajamas, get a popsicle from the nurse just for the fun of it, roll down the Dell Hill during free play and don’t forget to thank your counselors for the time, energy and unparalleled effort they put into making this the best summer, every summer. For me, Camp Tel Noar is a magical place where I’ve spent seven summers. A circle of white framed bunks overlooking Sunset Lake where I’ve found my place and my people…a little piece of heaven on earth, and I am so glad that you love it here too.

     

    Enjoy every moment, and don’t forget to drink water, apply sunscreen and smile for the/my camera!

    Love,

    Your Very Grateful Assistant Director

3 responses to “A Letter To Our Campers”

  1. Joyce Krasner says:

    I am the grandmother of Jack and Carly Gladstein. About 3 years ago I was replaced as their second home by your camp! I am officially their third best home!
    You didn’t have to write the above letter to convince me that you’re doing something right!
    What a beautiful letter you wrote. I can tell this is your second home too❤️.

  2. Tricia Sherman says:

    Simply beautiful. Love these blogs and our snip it’s into camp life!!!

  3. Jennifer says:

    Your blogs are so wonderful Becca! You do such a good job of describing what is going on at camp, and always in a new, interesting, creative, meaningful way! Love reading them!

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