by: Adam Zemel, 5th year staff member, spoke these words to his Chavurah unit at their 1st session Shabbat service
Well, here it is. Whether you started here in Carmel or just a few weeks ago, you are coming to the end of something magical. You will drive away tomorrow, and your time as campers will be over—but this will just be the end of one chapter; I am standing here today as proof that there can always be more camp.
I want to say this as plainly as possible: KEEP COMING BACK. CIT summer is amazing, but working here will change your life. Above that, though, you owe it to each and every great, inspiring, understanding counselor you have ever had, to come back here and pay it forward. I am here today, I am who I am today, because of a long list of counselors who challenged and nurtured me, summer after summer. There are kids across the coast waiting for the chance to meet you. Some of them are sitting here now.
It is a fulfilling a privileged way to spend my summer, seeing once again how one generation at camp passes a torch to the next, handing over stewardship of a community that is idealistic and hopeful and dreamy in all the best ways, uplifting and eye-opening for anyone who chooses to have a stake in it. A community that, on its best days—and this community has so many best days—shows each of us how to say, “I could.” I could climb that wall. I could make the basket. I could make that friend. And when we are all living in that world of possibility, then it becomes about “we could,” and the real work gets done. We could try our hardest. We could be for each other. We could help us see the best of each other and ourselves.
This is what happens at camp, in moments big and small. We learn more about how to be ourselves, and approach the world, and stand up for what is right; and all the while be thinking and feeling that astounding sense of how much could truly be possible in the world.
So come back and pay it forward. Teach kids to focus on, “the could.” Because camp is great, but could always be greater. Camp is kind, but could always be kinder. Camp is freeing but could always be more free. Camp is so close, but it could always be just that little bit closer. Come back here and help take camp to that next place, knowing that we might not ever quite make it there. But then again, who knows?—these summers could go on forever.