By: Zach Paul
It has been a fun and unique experience returning to Camp George this summer. I am here as a faculty spouse, which is a vastly different experience than any I have had before at camp. This is my first summer not working at Camp George or any other camp. I have been a Counselor, Swim Instructor, Head of Waterfront, Head Specialist, CIT Director and Program Director over the years. Now, returning with no defined role, I am experiencing camp for the first time as an outsider. I now get the strange, yet exciting job of looking in on the ‘camp bubble’ and seeing all of the wonderful experiences that Camp George creates for its campers. This must be what friends and family experience during Visitor’s Day, but on a larger scale as I now get to experience camp for a week. These are the things that I have seen and learned about camp during my week.
1. Camp is a welcoming community.
There are many new faces here at camp. Though I was here last summer, there are still many campers and staff members that I do not know because they started their camp careers this summer. All of these people are fully integrated into the camp community – it is as if they attended camp for more time than me.
2. Shabbat still brings the ruach (spirit).
There is so much energy during camp’s ‘Super Spesh Song Sesh’ for Shabbat. It shows that this camp is special not only for the social connections that are made, but also because of the Jewish spirit that is infused into daily programming.
3. The staff members care a lot.
I have observed so many moments where staff members have gone out of their way to help a camper to learn. I have seen ski staff give kind words of encouragement to help a camper get up on skis for the first time. I have watched staff give the last piece of dessert to a camper who needed a bit of encouragement. The staff members here help to make their campers’ experiences the best possible experiences.
4. Camp continues to grow and innovate.
This summer has brought many new ideas and programs into fruition. The new cabins are beautiful and show the camp’s desire to improve facilities. I have also seen many new program ideas that will make camp a great place for campers to continue to grow and thrive for years to come. This includes that new camp radio station that was purchased this summer. This is a great way to continue to unify the camp as now every activity area and cabin can share in the same unique radio programming that can only be offered at Camp George.
5. Camp continues to be the best place in the world.
The energy here is still palpable. Campers continue to have the best summer ever while learning new skills at activity areas and making friends that will last a lifetime.
This week has been special for me. It is great that I have the opportunity to see camp even after I have retired from working here during the summer. My time here will always be special to me, but what is more special is that fact that I know that camp will continue to grow and develop while maintaining the values that I care so much about. Though I miss being ‘in the loop,’ and I know that my time here was incredible, I am happier to know that Camp George continues its tradition of excellence. I cannot think of a better place to spend a week or a summer.