Why I am the Luckiest Adult on the Planet

by: Steffi Belitsky

I am at Camp Harlam.  You think that would be enough, right?  Wait, What?!?!  You don’t think spending the summer with about 800-900 other families’ children, when I have just spent the last 10 months educating the children of Philadelphia, makes me lucky?  Let me tell you why I truly am the luckiest adult on the planet.

  1. I do not live with my children: Don’t get me wrong, I love my three children, but I know how much they enjoy being with their friends.  And, if it means that I do not have to feed them, yell at them to get dressed, bathed or clean up after themselves…..then I am all good!
  2. I do not have to feed my children: Not only don’t I have to feed them, I don’t have to plan what they will eat, three times a day.  I don’t have to figure out how I will make these meals for them, (to be completely honest, I don’t cook for them, the two older children are teenagers and are able to cook for the family and I “allow them to do this mitzvah and make our family happy!”  I also then don’t have to fight about which child’s turn it is to clean up said meal.
  3. I do not have to fight with them about taking a shower, brushing their teeth, their hair, and all the other hygienic things that exhaust me.  Their counselors do that for me.
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My son: a first year staff member. The young lady, a second year staff member who does incredible work

Are you starting to get the picture??!!  Not yet, you still don’t understand why I wouldn’t just send my kids and then enjoy the peace and quiet of home… Let me tell you what I DO get to do here at camp.

  1. I get to eat at meal time that someone else planned, cooked and will eventually clean up.  Yes – I do need to pass and stack, and occasionally take some dishes in to the kitchen, but so far the trade off has been way in my favor.
  2. I get to see children with smiles on their faces ALL DAY LONG!  I get to dance with them, joke with them, talk with them, hug them and remind them how lucky THEY are to be here at Camp Harlam.  And then, I get to walk away knowing that all of these children are being cared for by incredible young adults.
  3. Speaking of these young adults, I get to see REAL work from young people who could, no doubt, be making more money doing a million other things during their summers.  I get to see them become very important in the lives of children.  They are cheer leaders, huggers, friends and most importantly, trusted adults to so many… (sounds like a parent, huh?)
  4. I get to play at sports with them, sing during song session with them, swim in the pools and lake with them, create in omanut with them, dance and giggle with them just because.

However, the main reason I am truly the luckiest adult on the planet is because when these young people, all dressed in white, walk up to the Chapel on the Hill, I get to not only watch with complete awe at the scene of pureness, I then get to pray with them in a way that THEY choose to pray.

I could be home, enjoying my summers off – as a teacher and a parent – but I not only have the very fortunate ability to give my children the gift of Camp Harlam, but I too get to receive the gift of seeing what most adults don’t get to see; absolute joy in all the children and their counselors here in Kunkletown, PA.

11 Responses to Why I am the Luckiest Adult on the Planet

  1. Paula Fein July 3, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

    Absolutely beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

    • Steffi Belitsky July 4, 2013 at 8:38 am #

      Thank you Paula. I have felt this way for quite some time!

  2. Brooke Kibler July 3, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

    I an a Camp Harlam Alum and you just made me feel like I was back at camp. The pride in who I am as a Jew and the happiness that Camp Harlam brought to me. I miss it dearly and I wish I didn’t stop going. Thank you for bringing joy and happiness to my summer without Harlam.

    • Steffi Belitsky July 4, 2013 at 8:40 am #

      Unfortunately, most people who love camp as a child and as a young adult, eventually need to move on…I had many of those years as well. However, I never gave up on the idea of getting back in to the overnight camping community and now I am reliving my own camping experience with the bonus of being a grown-up and knowing more.

  3. jodi eckart July 4, 2013 at 6:45 am #

    So glad u are there with my niece amd are able to continue being the aunt steffi I loved and enjoyed at camp

    • Steffi Belitsky July 4, 2013 at 8:43 am #

      I still feel a certain something whenever you or any of my former campers still refer to me as Aunt Steffi. It is a title that I take to heart and love that feeling I get when I am transported back to the late 80′s and early 90′s! And your niece is a sweet young lady who I have had the pleasure of watching grow over these last few years!

  4. Sandy Napp July 4, 2013 at 11:59 am #

    As grandparents, my husband and I have kvelled every year for the past 4+ years as our granddaughter goes to her “other home” as she refers to Camp Harlam. To say that she adores Camp Harlam would be an understatement. She has made many wonderful memories and friends from all over the United States and counts down the days till the next encampment the following year. Thank you for the wonderful videos, letters, statements from the staff and of course all the wonderful photos. We spend every day “refreshing! Our granddaughter is truly blessed to be able to participate in this wonderful gift that her parents lovingly have given to her.
    Thank you from her Giggie & Pop Pop

  5. Pledge July 4, 2013 at 11:23 pm #

    Great article man!. Been waiting for someone on this site to post a hardcore’ stats article. I’m really into that.. bit sick in the head really. Any chance you can point me in the direction of how to calculate standard deviation?

  6. Laurie Levine July 6, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

    Love this….and btw, SO JEALOUS!!!
    Have always wanted to be you, but a. my kids would KILL me, b. my husband would kill me c. my clients would kill me.
    Thanks for letting me be you for the moments it took to read this
    (said kids would be none other than Adam, Jeremy and
    Sari – no doubt you at least know
    Adam)

  7. Laurie Levine July 15, 2013 at 9:25 am #

    Steffi-
    I don’t know now to reach you, but I have a question so I am hoping that you will see this.
    If you do, please email me:
    ajslevine@yahoo.com
    Thanks,
    Laurie

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