by Erin Boxt, URJ Camp Coleman alum and Rabbinic candidate
In January, 1985, my life changed drastically. I was hit by a car, lost 4 pints of blood, broke my left femur and sustained substantial head trauma. I lost 98% of my episodic memory (memories of situations)…and thank God I retained all of my semantic knowledge. Any teachers out there? Well, you know that in those first 8+ years of a child’s life, there is a lot of information and knowledge to gain/learn. This is the first real memory I have of God being a major player in my life. I believed then and I still believe that it was at that moment that God saved my life in order to make a real difference in the Jewish world, and in the greater world community.
That summer, the summer of 1985, my congregation, Tree of Life in Columbia, SC, sent my brother and me to URJ Camp Coleman. That summer was one of the cornerstone memories of my life. 27 years later, Camp Coleman remains incredibly important to me and my family. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons why I am so excited to be starting at Temple Kol Emeth in Marietta is the proximity to Camp Coleman. I will have the great honor of working for a week or two at Camp Coleman every summer as a rabbi. And….another dream of mine is possible – my daughter to continue the Camp Coleman tradition of the Boxt family!
What made and continues to make Camp Coleman so special to me is that I have family from Camp that I have known almost my whole life. Yes, I made many memories at Camp Coleman, and my life has been enriched by those experiences in so many way. However, it is the people that made those memories what they are. When I think of home, I always think of Camp Coleman and the many amazing times I have spent there. I am so excited for the future experiences and opportunities that will come! When I think of Camp Coleman, I think of Nellie, David Israel, Malka Altman, Grace Sherman, Adam Tabachnikoff, Jo-Ellen Unger, Steve Zielonka, Bobby Harris, Lauren Zeichner and so many more wonderful staff members that were and are a part of my life.
One of the fondest memories I have of camp was running into the Ulam Katan (now the Ulam Elisheva) holding Kristin Barker’s (Barkerbear) hand as we made our entrance into the play, “Story Theater.” I will always remember playing the “little grey man,” and even today joke about that role with camp friends. The amount of friends and family I have accumulated over the years…oh my, no way I can count that high! I end this blog with a quote that has remained so dear to my heart for so many years, “You can take a kid out of Coleman, but you can’t take Coleman out of that kid!”
C-O-L-E-M-A-N, Coleman is our name, huh!