This month Camp Harlam was privileged to host a Caravan of representatives from the URJ North American Camping (NAC) Committee. The NAC is the committee of lay leaders providing direction and governance for all 13 URJ Camp and Israel Programs. We were excited to be the first stop on a four-day tour which would continue on to Kutz, Eisner and Crane Lake Camps.
Our “host committee” of lay leaders, including Rosanne Selfon, Dan Pliskin, and Mark Landis joined Aaron and Harlam’s Professional Staff in welcoming the visitors from our sister camps across North America. In our short time together we had an extensive tour of camp and discussed the new master plan and vision for Camp Harlam. Our visit also included a chance for our guests to become an active part of the camp community and sample the extraordinary ruach (spirit) that exists at Harlam.
We asked Rosanne, Dan and Marc to each share with you more about their Caravan experiences:
10 Takeaways from my visits to our sister URJ Camps
Rosanne Selfon – Chair, Camp Commission
I had the privilege of participating in the first-ever NAC Caravan of the URJ Camp and Israel Programs earlier this month. The NAC is the North American Camp Committee of the URJ, bringing together the lay and professional leadership of all 13 URJ Camps. I want to share just a few highlights of our experiences. What I learned was that the more we are unique camp-to-camp, the more we are the same. Sure, facilities vary (greatly), but our intent and mission remains consistent: developing mensches who have Jewish pride and knowledge at their core. Here are some of the wonderful pieces I personally took away… these are my top 10!
Harlam Council member sees L’dor V’dor everywhere on URJ Camps tour
Dan Pliskin – Vice Chair, Camp Harlam Council
In early August, a group of lay and professional leaders of these URJ camps took a road trip to visit four of the 13 camps: Harlam, Kutz (Warwick, NY), Crane Lake (West Stockbridge, MA) and Eisner (Great Barrington, MA). Like a NFTY Israel trip or Birthright, there is nothing like seeing a place for yourself to help deepen your understanding. We toured the facilities of all of the camps, met with the directors and other staff, talked to our board counterparts, and went to song sessions, meals and services. Each camp is unique, but all can learn from the others, and we went, broadly speaking, to help make Camp Harlam and the other URJ camps even better. We saw these camps “in action,” which gave us a better sense of how they are doing relative to their goals, and we compared best practices.
URJ Camp Journeys: An “Extra” Empty Seat at the Shabbat Table
Marc Landis – Member, Camp Harlam Council
As a member of the Camp Harlam Council, I had the opportunity two weeks ago to participate in the URJ North American Camping Committee caravan. Over the course of four days, I visited Camps Harlam, Kutz, Crane Lake and Eisner, and then returned to Camp Harlam for our Council meeting.