A few months ago we launched a Blog Contest, inviting campers to share what HSJ means to them. We are proud to present our two winners below – from Michael Hirsch of Memphis and Charlie Roth of Baton Rouge – each of whom will receive a $500 campership for this summer. Because they were all awesome, we will share some of the other entries here in the coming weeks. Enjoy!
What Jacobs Camp Means to Me
By Michael Hirsch
Jacobs Camp is a place I can call my home. I get to meet new people and try new things. I get to do a lot of different activities. There are lots of awesome things about Jacobs Camp. Keep reading to discover what Jacobs Camp means to me.
Camp makes me feel more Jewish. We have services every night. Everybody else is Jewish. Lots of activities help me feel more Jewish.
I’m happy when I’m there. There are lots of fun things. For example, Chofesh. I get to see my friends. And a lot of them I can only see at camp.
I’m sad when I have to leave. I cry when I have to leave. The only reason I stopped crying last year was when we got ice cream (which was awesome!).
For these reasons, I call camp my home. This is what Jacobs Camp means to me.
What I Learned at Jacobs Camp
By Charlie Roth
Jacobs Camp has taught me so many things that I use outside of camp, there’s almost no way I’m going to put it into six hundred words, so I’m only going to write about a few. Okay, here it goes:
The first thing I ever learned at Jacobs Camp was how to make lots of friends out of tons of people that I didn’t know. There were only two other people in Kochavim from Baton Rouge, but I had to make some friends. I quickly made friends with boys from Memphis, TN and Alexandria, LA.
The second thing I learned when I returned the following summer was how to play ping-pong. My camp friends (I had many more now) helped me learn, and now I’m much more confident. Without them, I would’ve never learned to play at that age. Many of the other sports I learned at Jacobs sounded very unusual. For example: Gaga. Who had ever heard of it? But, thanks to the counselors, I learned very quickly how to play, and now they have a Gaga pit at my synagogue. Another example: Yellowball. Baseball with a log sort of thing with a water jug on it as a bat, and the smallest rubber ball I’ve ever seen. The ball was not even yellow! It’s red! The most important lesson I’ve learned from all of those sports is how to work with other people as a team and be sportsmanlike to other teams while showing your own team spirit.
The third thing I learned is how to come together, with the whole camp, as a family of friends at Shabbat. During the services, I learned that if you pay attention to the book, the service feels shorter. I never knew that white was such a special color!
A fourth thing I learned is to face your fears. Before I did the blob for the first time, I was afraid of heights. Then, after the counselors helped me to see that it was not that far down, and that everybody else was doing it, I finally jumped off the wooden ledge. When I got back on the grass, they told me how far I had just jumped, I almost fell backwards. I went pretty high in the air when I got blobbed too. That was in Olim, and I haven’t tried to blob anyone until last year. I’m still too afraid to climb the tower though.
A final, and probably the most important thing, I learned at Jacobs Camp was Hebrew. Without those 30-60 minutes of Hebrew “class”, I would’ve completely forgotten all that I had learned at Sunday school the year before.
That is why I love Jacobs Camp more than anything else (except for my family), why I keep going back (why wouldn’t I?), and why Jacobs Camp is my second home.