A successful summer wouldn’t be possible without the amazing GFC staff. Every summer more than 150 people from diverse backgrounds travel from near and far to spend the summer at Greene. While of course our first priority is caring for campers and ensuring they have a great summer, there are so many benefits to being on staff. Working at Greene isn’t just taking a summer job, it’s making a choice to be part of something bigger. It’s about ensuring that there are future Jewish leaders, it’s about personal growth and lifelong friendships. It’s about acting like a kid while still being the adult, it’s about finding God in unexpected places, and finding ourselves.
During the past couple Friday night services we’ve had staff members share their thoughts about their summers at Greene. Below you’ll find their words. Enjoy!
By Asaf Lubin
What is the most sought after commodity at camp? Is it triple-A batteries or maybe blueberry scones? Could it be guitar picks or possibly dodge balls? The answer is much, much simpler. The most sought after commodity at camp is blue tape. Think about it, blue tape surrounds us here at camp. From your bunk decorations to your door signs, blue tape is always there. Blue tape is there at meals and on the field. We can see blue tape in evening programs and during faculty education. One day it’s holding a sign for Drama Gadol, the next its helping the scouts on the campout. One morning it marks a zip lock bag for cooking class, the next it’s being used as a prop for team kachol during maccabiah. And here’s a secret, us Admin we l-o-v-e our blue tape. We guard it, praise it and beg for it. We consider it a camp treasure.
There is one other thing on camp and in our Jewish lives that is like blue tape, that is always there, that we guard and treasure and praise. That is the state of Israel.
Thousands of years ago god appeared before our father Abraham and presented him with a tangled task. God asked Abraham: “לך לך מארצך וממולדך ומבית אביך אל הארץ אשר אראך”, which translates to: “Get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred and from thy father’s house unto the land that I will show thee”. A few months ago, a different agent of the lord appeared before a group of nearly 40 Israelis and asked them to fulfill the same exact commandment. That agent was Loui Dobin and he too requested that we leave our country and our homes and travel to a far away land in order to do god’s willing. And so we followed, with no hesitations, just like Moses did in ancient times. We packed our bags and filed our visa applications and boarded the first flight to Bruceville, TX.
Once here we took the role of blue tape. We made sure that Israel was always there. Israel was there in your bunks for a night time ritual, and it was also there in your morning activities. Israel was there when you played soccer and it was there when you did drama. It was there on the campout or ropes course and it was also there for your evening programs. It was there for three minutes as a bussing song during a meal or it was there for a full hour as part of an educational program.
But just like with the blue tape at camp, we sometimes simply run out. Soon we will leave as the summer will end and the obligation to maintain and strengthen your individual connection to Israel will fall under your responsibility. So the question remains- Will you act as a roll of blue tape in your homes and congregations? Will you promise to guard and treasure and praise this far away land that Abraham once walked on? Will you keep a place in your hearts for this country and carry it with you to your schools and your clubs? Will you stay informed and educate others? Will you promise to visit, write us a letter, and keep us in touch? We hope that you do but understand that it’s not always easy. And so, even if you don’t, we will meet again, next year at summer camp.
By Madeline Waggoner
Carly, Anna, Becca, Dani, Taylor, Bayla, Jackie, Coco, Jessie, Britney, Sydney, Jennie, Sarah, Alexa, Kyra, Andrew, Benji, Joey, Joey, Ronnie, Richard, Eric, Ian, Jesse, Justin, Ashton, Sterling, Jeffrey, Evan, Noah: this is for all of you:
When I was seventeen, I was lucky enough to spend the entire summer with four people who would forever and always be my best friends. One from Austin, one from Houston, one from South Lake and one from Fort Worth with pit stops in Tuscon and Tulsa. Yes, we were from all over, and under normal circumstances we should never have all met, but we did… because of camp. But not just because of camp, but because that summer, in 2007, we were Avodah.
For the past four years I have come back to camp to be with those four best friends, to return to this magical place where eventually your “camp friends” simply become your “best friends”. Where the person you are here is the best version of yourself. Where you take risks and ask questions because of this unknown confidence that injects itself into you when you pass through that gate on opening day.
These are the same experiences I wanted my kids to have this summer. It’s the same experience I’ve always wanted for all of my campers, year after year. But this summer was different. Avodah was such a pivotal time in my life and I was determined to make this summer as special for you as it was for me. So I deemed my “avodah”, my work and my charge for the summer to help create an environment in which these same things could occur for you. To be there for you, to listen, to help, to do all these things to make up for everything that camp had given to me. I wanted to give you the opportunity to grow and change into these wonderful, strong and independent young adults that you are becoming.
At the start of this journey I thought my “avodah” was solely to keep you safe, to make sure you were having fun and to create an environment for you to thrive. But it turned out to be so much more. My “avodah” is to be there to listen to you. To give advice to you. My “avodah” is to cry with you. To laugh and dance with you. To be a friend to you. My “avodah” is you, all of you. All 15 boys and 15 girls of you.
I hope that I have done all those things, given you the tools and support you need to be the best you can be. But as a byproduct it turns out that while making an effort to help you grow and change for the better, you have changed me.
You, all thirty of you, have changed me. In a sense I suppose I have become your “avodah” without even realizing it.