by Liz Denmark, First Session 2012 Bunk1 Photographer (and Mother of a First Time Camper)
So… you decided to send your child to URJ Camp Coleman in the beautiful mountains of Cleveland, GA for the summer. If you are anything like me, you’ve probably spent some sleepless nights asking yourself if you made the right decision.
Rest assured, you did!!
Why do I say this? Besides being the mom of a 1st time camper in the Bonim Unit, I am also a new staff member – the Bunk 1 photographer. The past few days I have been attending staff week at Camp Coleman. I had no idea that the week was going to cover so many important topics besides the usual policies and procedures. I am happy to see that it is much, much more than that. I am so impressed with the in-depth training – it is truly fabulous. It has blown me away. It is obvious that an enormous amount of time and effort has gone into planning this week to prepare the counselors for situations that may arise at camp.
It is clear that the safety and well being of the children comes first. Some of the many topics included helping the campers make new friends, comforting campers if they have moments of sadness (homesickness), helping them with applying sunscreen, and even bigger concerns on topics like inclusiveness and diversity.
Rabbi Michael Mellen facilitated a wonderful program on reinforcing positive behaviors, being a good role model, tips for better communication and teaching children how to feel good about themselves.
Wendi, one of the First Session inclusion coordinators, led a fabulous workshop on bullying. There was also a fire safety and security training where staff learned how to use a fire extinguisher and a program about working with children who have special needs, which was run by Harriet, one of the Second Session inclusion coordinators.
Bobby Harris and his leadership staff certainly have a method to the madness even with the daily hustle and bustle that goes on behind the scenes. From the Assistant Directors, Unit Heads, staff specialists, office staff, nursing staff, and kitchen crew, to the drivers that pick up our children from the airport, there are many people collaborating to ensure that our children have an amazing summer! I also want to mention that I was pleasantly surprised to see such a large number of returning and dedicated staff members that return to camp year after year after year.
I have met so many wonderful people this week- people who are ready and waiting to give your child, and mine the best summer ever! As a parent, I feel confident knowing that the counselors and leadership staff have been given the necessary tools to assure that our children have a safe, fun, positive, educational, meaningful and spiritual summer. There is a time for everything at Camp Coleman- time to be serious, time to pray, time to sing, time to rest, time to eat, time to learn, time to have fun, and time to make new friends that will last a lifetime!
I know it is going to be a wonderful summer, complete with lots of smiles and fun for everyone here at URJ Camp Coleman!