We Come from the Village

By John Houston
Chavurah cabin counselorrahvillage

For the first six years of a camper’s Harlam experience, they are engulfed with all of camp. The bunks to the clinics to the chugim to the meals; all camp all the time.  Even when they leave camp, it is only for a day or an afternoon.  And then Chavurah happens.  The oldest campers are sequestered off to the village; a large plot of land a quarter of a mile down the road from main camp.  And trust me, that first week, we felt that quarter mile on the way to every meal.  But now, three weeks in, we make the walk from the bunks to the Chader in 8 minutes flat.  That is probably the most quantitative way we have settled into our lives in the village, so far away from the rest of camp.  But the village becomes a camp of its own, unique in every way; so much so that even our beloved Coach, Aaron Selkow, doesn’t quite grasp the uniqueness of village life.

We have our own chants, cheers, pool, barn, conversations with Rabbis, ping-pong tables, soda machines, sports fields, volleyball court, pagoda, and staff.  85 people live in the village and we have settled into a way of life with each  other , a routine.  We have the kids who like this and those who like that.  The ones who are silly and the ones who are quiet.  The ones who won’t ever sing no matter how hard you try to convince them and the ones who just need a little prodding to convince them that climbing the wall will open up their world.  And we have no one who isn’t just a little too cool for something.

That’s what makes up our village.  That is who makes up our village.  And now with only a week left of first session, a session that has flown by, are we starting to realize that in the blink of an eye, the only memory this special place will have of us is our signature on the old wood that has borne witness to so many summers as equally unique as this one.

One Response to We Come from the Village

  1. Jennifer Lee July 21, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

    True for me (Rah 1984) and true for my daughter thirty years later (2014 First Session). It is hard to believe for me and for her that her time in Chavurah came and went so fast. It is evident by her emotions in the short time she’s been home that she realizes that she just had the summer of her life. The one you describe so well!! There is something about that village…..

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