Why Camp Brings Out the Best in Us — Even the Grown Ups

  • There is something about summer camp that brings out the best in everyone. Maybe it’s the beautiful setting: lots of trees, beautiful green grass, serene lakefront, or the sky that somehow seems bluer when we’re at camp. Maybe it’s the dizzying array of real-life fun: waterskiing, photography, basketball, leather craft, Israeli dance, sailing, tennis…so many amazing things to choose from how can one help but smile from ear to ear every day. Or maybe it’s the cool counselors who embody everything we want to be when we grow up: somehow they manage to be big sister/brother, uber-coach, and best friend all wrapped into one bright, motivated, enthusiastic package who never seems to get tired.

    With so many great reasons, it’s really hard to say. In anticipation of my 21st summer here at Camp Tel Noar, I took some time to think about why each June I simply can’t wait to shed my winter office and get straight to work right here at camp. When I stroll around the property, every nook and cranny of camp conjures up a memory of my own carefree days here, while simultaneously overlaying more recent memories of watching our current campers and staff enjoy their successes, special moments, and victories in those very spots. To an outsider it’s just fields and buildings. But, to those who have lived it, we know it is the very fabric which weaves the generations together, builds communities, and forecasts the future of our Jewish people.

    Whether you are 8, 18 or 38 years old, you know something special when it surrounds you. You may not be able to describe it eloquently when you are a camper or even a counselor (you just had to be there). But what makes this experience incredibly sweet is that as an adult, I can see what is happening around me and appreciate it for exactly what it is– we “like” each other in person, we “chat” face to face, and we “share” among our very special special community that are right here next to us. When we can let go of all of those distractions that take us away from being true to who we are, we can finally sit back and just be — our very best self. Plain and simple. And how beautiful it is.

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