Kallah Atid opened today to much fanfare and excitement. As the kids jumped off the bus or got out of their car with a nervous smile on their face, unknowing of the next five days ahead of them, of the experiences they will have and the people they will meet, there are things I wish that could be said to the campers, the counselors, and to the parents. And so, a letter to you…….
A letter to our campers:
I seriously cannot believe that camp is already almost over. It feels like just yesterday I was decorating the tzrifim and ohelim (tents and cabins) and making your name tag while anxiously thinking about who you were going to be, if you were going to like me, and just how the summer was going to go in general. As soon as I saw you in the kikar on opening day, all of my nerves disappeared and I couldn’t wait to get to know you.
Thank you for filling my days with laughter. You did some ridiculous things, and in the moment, I didn’t always know how to handle it, but I will laugh about you and all of the hilarious things you did for years to come. Even writing this now, a smile has spread across my face at these memories. Beyond the crazy happenings, we laughed more than I ever could have imagined was humanly possible. Whether singing and dancing at lunch, playing games, or catching up on the walk back from chugim (electives(, I could always count on you for a comedic time. Sometimes, all it even took was making eye contact and we both burst into laughter so hard that tears would stream down my cheeks.
Thank you, most of all, for making this one of the best summers of my life. Thank you for making me feel loved and appreciated when you would run into my arms at the end of a long day or give me a bracelet for something special. It’s always my pleasure to go above and beyond for your happiness, but knowing you notice the hard work I put in makes my heart full. I know it’s my job, but because of you I often would lay in bed at night and wonder how that was possible. How did I get lucky enough to get paid to spend my days running around having fun with you? Thank you for teaching me which boy band member is which, how to be patient when you’re driving me nuts, and how to be a better coach, counselor, role model, and person.
Although my time as your counselor has come to a close, that doesn’t mean anything will change. I’m still here for you day or night to give advice or just listen, to be your personal cheerleader, and beyond. You’re the little sister or brother I always dreamed of having, and I know you will continue make me proud every day.
I can’t wait to hear all about everything you accomplish in the coming year. See you next summer!
With much love,
(Written by our sister camp 6 Points Sports Camp Letter to Campers)
A letter to our parents:
Thank you. Thank you for trusting us with your whole world, because we know that’s what you’ve handed us — your whole world, and your trust along with it, and we’re grateful.
You should know, we think your kids are the coolest. The coolest. With all their quirks and their gifts and their challenges and their unique qualities, we think your kids are just the coolest, and we’re excited to be their friends. For the time we have them, your kids are our life.
We’re here because there’s no place we’d rather be this summer than with your kids. We’re here because we LOVE this. We train for this. We live for this. We work for it. We’re exhausted by it. We’re energized by it. Because we understand your kids are worth it. Every bit. Deeply, deeply worth our time and our interest and our effort… and our prayers and our hopes, too. Even now, even before we’ve met them, in the weeks we used to prepare for their arrival.
What we most want you to know, though, is this. You parents are our heroes. And your kids are amazing. Like, really, really great. Your children change us. They make us better. And we’re grateful.
Your Kids’ Summer Camp Counselors
(This letter was written by Beth Woolsey, Writer, humorist at the Five Kids Is A Lot of Kids blog)
A letter to our counselors:
“Who will care when I’m not there?” It’s every parent’s question when they leave their children in the hands of strangers. For me, it began following the birth of my first child. I was struck with the fear that no one would recognize and appreciate the daily develop. mental milestones my child was accomplishing. Who would support and celebrate each achievement with smiles and expressions of love?
When my boys started school, the haunting question surfaced again. I was concerned about their fragile self-esteem and how easily it could be promoted or damaged. Who would comfort yet teach at the same time? Who would care when I wasn’t there?
And now my boys are camp age. This time I am entrusting these children, my reason for existence, to you. Who will care when I’m not there? Who will understand that these messy and, at times, belligerent young boys are also the essence of our future? Who will take the time to appreciate basic child development knowledge, as well as the unique qualities of their personalities? Who will ensure that my children have fun and, at the same time, learn important life lessons? Who will help my children understand how they can work as a team, contributing and succeeding? Who will help my children understand the importance of a community and the responsibilities that lie within? Who will keep my children safe and guard their tender feelings while they are acting invincible? Who will care when I’m not there?
This time, the answer to my question is the camp counselor. You, with your spirit, energy, and hope for the future. You, who are offering my children the opportunity to explore, discover, and learn about the best things life has to offer. You, who are willing to laugh, talk, and cry with my children, creating an understanding of social bonding. You, who are aware of the situations and circumstances that on the surface appear harmless but can often turn dangerous. You, who are willing to care when I am not there.
I have said the camp experience is a win-win for everyone. As a parent, I win because my children grow and learn. My children win because they have fun and collect lifelong friends and memories. Society wins because the camp experience helps make healthy, productive adults. And you, the camp counselor, can win because there is no greater feeling than knowing that you have made a positive difference in a child’s life. Have a great summer.
(This letter was written in Camping Magazine, May-June, 1999 by Peg Smith)