We Saved You A Seat


    hugsTake a seat! There’s a tradition in the Passover seder that engages guests in a discussion involving the four sons. Typically this is interpreted to represent the diversity of the Jewish community. Recently there has been a new interpretation highlighting the concept of the fifth son, the one who isn’t at the table. The one who wasn’t included or chose not to participate. At camp, we spend a lot of time thinking about how we can bring everyone together to build a camp community where everyone feels connected, inspired, and a part of something incredible. Welcoming the fifth son is what we are all about!

    The Hagaddah teaches us how to engage the four sons, and celebrate their seat at the table. Part of camp is recognizing the amazing relationships that already exist. The camper who shared a bunk bed with a best friend last summer, the parent who looks forward to opening day with the same excitement and anticipation as their kids, and the counselor returning for their 3rd summer. In the camp context, the fifth child represents so many new and future members of our community. A brand new staff member, our first-time campers, and the parents we welcome to our summer home each season. The fifth child also represents an opportunity to broaden, strengthen and welcome more diversity and character into the CTN community. Providing everyone with the foundation to continue to strengthen current relationships without limiting the potential for new ones requires us to strike an important balance and is what makes CTN so special.

    So how do we pull out the chair for our camp fifth son? Tel Noar Talks bring future families together thanks to the gracious IMG_8166hospitality of our returning campers. Our Winter Reunion provides us the opportunity to reconnect with our campers and staff from the past summer. New Camper Orientation in May, is the perfect chance for our newest families to meet us, our Senior Staff and the other new campers from CTN. Pop-Up Socials provide an informal opportunity for families to check in. Prospective Family Day is an afternoon for kids and parents to integrate into our camp community and experience camp for themselves. Every camper is a part of a “family” group with kids of all ages that act as a support system for one another. We play ice breakers that help push our campers out of their comfort zone and practice inclusivity. We offer tours. Camp families host our international staff on days off. We sit by mixed-age and mixed-gender tables. We have bunk campfires. We give high-fives. We give hugs. We celebrate each other and we celebrate together.

    The fifth son is not to be taken literally- that there is an individual child absent, or that there is one type of person that needs to be brought in, but instead, a mindset that there are always people waiting to be invited. The warmth and care of the CTN community that focuses on welcoming and including others is what makes Sunset Lake the best place on earth!

    Wishing you a fun, joyous, and spirited holiday for all those gathered at your table!


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