Growing up as a camper and staff member at OSRUI, the best day of the year was when I’d pass through the gates on the first day of camp. I have vivid memories of reuniting with old friends and meeting new people who quickly felt like family. That day held all the powerful memories of previous summers and the excitement of the summer ahead. When I drove through those gates, I always knew I had come home.
Today, on my first day as director, I am deeply appreciative of the many people who built this community that so many call home. I am honored to follow Jerry Kaye, who has so thoughtfully guided OSRUI since 1970. I hope you will join us throughout the coming year as we honor Jerry and Paula and commemorate their 48 years of service to camp. In addition to Jerry, OSRUI is fortunate to have an exceptional professional staff team, many of whom have been a part of the community for years. I am looking forward to working with, and learning from, this incredible group.
I am excited to connect with today’s camp community, honor the traditions that have made OSRUI special, and work to lead camp forward into its 67th summer and beyond. OSRUI families are the heart of this community. I am excited to see familiar faces and meet many of you for the first time. I value open communication and transparency, and believe that by partnering with our community we will continue to move camp forward. I hope you will not hesitate to reach out to me with ideas or suggestions in the future, and I look forward to sharing my ideas with you.
In 2017, summer camp is more important than ever before. It offers a rare opportunity for young people to be present, unplug from technology, and explore who they are as people and as Jews. I am committed to maintaining an atmosphere where staff and campers are supported and challenged, and to ensuring our community is welcoming and inclusive. I am also committed to providing opportunities for camp and staff alumni to stay connected to camp throughout the year. There are many lessons to learn from camp at all ages and stages of life, and I look forward to creating experiences that bring OSRUI beyond the summer for the wider community.
To so many of us, OSRUI is not just a place, it is a feeling. As I arrived at the camp office this morning I knew I was not just showing up for work, I was coming home. Thank you for your support as we start to write the next chapter of OSRUI’s history together and continue to make camp a home for so many people.