Sarah Lewis and Karen Shainberg are two moms from Memphis who volunteer their time to help us get camp organized for the start of summer. Sarah grew up at Jacobs, having been both a camper and a counselor – and even met her husband here! Karen’s husband came to Jacobs, but her time on “mom squad” represents her formative camp experiences!
Most camp parents know very little about what goes on behind the gates of Camp. Sure, we receive cryptic letters, get to see plenty of photos, and read the occasional blog post or email from Camp; and then, when camp is over, while we receive plenty of information, it is filtered through our children and presented in “camp speak” that we just don’t understand. So, for us, the chance to volunteer our time to help out during the summer is great for so many reasons, and especially because we get to see behind the curtain – and can report it to you! That’s why we’re now into our second year!
Now, J.C. asked us to make clear that we are NOT recruiting for “mom squad”. “Mom squad” is not for everyone: You have to be well-equipped to leave your kids alone to let them have their own camp experience. And you have to be thick-skinned enough to take it when your child ignores you – which is exactly what happens! (And not that many extra hands are needed, as they have a great staff in place.)
You may be wondering what we do while we are here. Every day is a little different, but generally we help with the ins and outs of camp life. What we are able to provide during our stay is a fresh set of eyes to systems, and extra hands for projects that are “bigger” than just the summer, which has proven to be helpful.
Here is what we did on opening day: We started by setting up the mail room system. Letters have already started arriving and campers have already started writing their first letters home. Now the counselors have an organized system to ensure proper mail delivery. Next, we organized the program requisition room. This room is where any and every supply imaginable is available to the counselors to create all of the wonderful evening programs. There is everything from balloons to shaving cream, from balls to boxes, from craft supplies to linens, and more. We then assisted in the infirmary, organizing all of the medications with the doctors and nurses. The team in the infirmary is so conscientious and caring – they make us fell assured that our campers are well cared for.
We ended the day with a chance to just be at Camp: We enjoyed Jacobs’ famous fried chicken for dinner and a lively song session led by song leader Josh Dinner. After song session, we attended the all-camp tefilah (worship service) at the lakeside chapel led by the HUC student Rachel Bearman. The sun setting over the lake and all of the campers and counselors together as one for a spiritual and peaceful service will definitely be one of the highlights of our week.
Though working behind the scenes, it’s easy to soak in all of the energy and excitement of Jacobs Camp during the first day of the summer. Parent to parent, we can truly say our kids are in great hands, and are really having the time of their lives!