by Diana Abrahams
The first ingredient to a fantastic camp experience for campers is a happy, well-trained, cohesive staff community. As a returning counselor I was thrilled to arrive at the beautiful American Hebrew Academy campus and prepare for another summer at 6 Points Sports. Greeting old friends was great, but my new friends that have joined 6 Points community are what have made this a wonderful week. They have jumped in whole-heartedly .
Staff week involves many sessions about taking care of campers, how to address bullying (if need be), and safety around camp. But there are also times for the staff to get to know one another, as well as to learn some “back-pocket games” we can play with our campers during downtime. These times are my favorite; seeing who gets competitive, who likes to play games involving pairs or teamwork, and who has new games to bring to the table, this is how we create a community. Just as we will do when the campers arrive, we play games together to become comfortable, to include everyone, and of course, to have fun!
Last year, arriving at camp made me a little nervous. This summer those of us who are returning counselors made an extra effort to reach out, to sit with a variety of people during meals, to encourage our new friends, and to explain some of the camp traditions. This camp is a special place, each of us comes here with the intent to be a part of a strong and caring community, or Kehillah. Each staff member brings a particular set of skills, and has diverse personalities. It is this combination of skills and personalities that build the community. We are prepared to welcome and care for campers as they exert themselves on the field or court, and as they discover pieces of their Jewish identities.
As the staff shared our first Shabbat together we appreciated the work we had done in just a few short days. We have already formed strong connections with one another, and we all eagerly await the next Shabbat when there will be many campers to celebrate with us. Our Head Coaches have arrived, we are all excited about our sport majors, electives, and ready to begin coaching young Jewish athletes.
The excitement, the eagerness for camper arrival, is tangible as dorms are decorated and signs are made. In less than 24 hours the size of our community will grow, and this wonderful summer we have all anticipated will commence!