This past August I was fortunate enough to work with URJ Camp Chazak for the second year in a row. It was amazing to sit with the campers during the first evening’s cookout as they effortlessly remembered our names and asked each of us how our year was! I was so delighted to see faces that I recognized from last year as well as meet new individuals who would be experiencing this wonderful program for the first time. I found my love for Camp Chazak last year when NFTY-NE and the campers worked together on the task of making tzadakah boxes and it was an honor to be able to spend more time with them this summer.
One example of our collaboration occurred when six NFTYites including myself signed up to work with Marisa Frankel to create a bondfire service with the campers. There, we had a T’filah service, sang songs together and of course, made s’mores. It was incredibly special to me to be a part of their evening, an evening that I hope the campers will remember for the rest of their lives. I know I will!
To close our few days together, the Chazak campers and a few NFTY participants were able to swim in the pool together. Whether via playing ball or jumping in with our hands joined, that activity proved the culminating point of our relationship together. It was remarkable to see the kids come out of their shell, singing in front of everyone in the dining hall or coming up to me when in another program to talk about their day.
Unfortunately, next summer I will be college bound and no longer a participant in NFTY . However, the bond between Camp Chazak and NFTY-NE will endure. I know that next year and the years to come NFTY and Camp Chazak will continue to come together to forge long lasting friendships and create the sense of community that I loved for the past two years.
Susan Klau is a devoted member of the Eisner and Crane Lake community as well as President of Scooby, TYG at Temple Sinai, Brookline, MA.