Just over four years ago we opened the camp gates and welcomed our first campers to their new summer home. Now, in our fifth summer, it’s hard not to look back at what has happened and what got us to today.
Just by the numbers, it’s pretty exciting. In summer 2007 we opened with 90 beds and quickly expanded by adding our yurt village (28 more beds) and two new cabins (30 additional beds) and just weeks ago we opened SIX new camper cabins. This summer nearly 600 campers will spend part of their summer at Kalsman. We’ve added programming space with the addition of a program pavilion and a new treehouse (it is so new it still smells like fresh wood), and expanded programming to include enhanced cultural, digital media, music, teva and adventure programs.
The really exciting stuff, however, has little to do with the structures themselves and much much more to do with what happens with the people here inside those structures.
In preparation for our fifth anniversary celebration we asked our 5 year campers to submit some of their thoughts about camp and overwhelmingly the replies spoke of friends, Judaism, home, pride and love for Camp Kalsman. All of the responses will be posted following the anniversary, but these are just a sneak peek.
Camp Kalsman is like a second home to me. Camp is a special place where I can just be myself – Cameron
I love Camp Kalsman because it brings friends together. – Alex
Over the past five summers we’ve seen campers come from all over the country (and the world), make friends, explore their Jewish identity and turn these buildings into the magical place that many call their favorite place in the world. We’ve watched campers grow and be inspired by their counselors, and this year the cycle continues as we welcome some of our original campers into the staff community.
Two of these staff members met their on the very first day of camp, five summers ago…
When a person says that camp is a place to make lasting friendships, he is telling the truth. At summer camp, spending a mere three weeks with someone is enough to create a bond that can last a year or more, even when it’s crossing state lines. Camp is a place where the most unlikely friendships can happen, sometimes without the campers realizing that a relationship has formed.
Alyson and I met five years ago on the opening day of Camp Kalsman. During that first year, Alyson and I thought we were too different to become friends. However, as the years passed by, we became closer until it was clear that camp would not be the same without each other. Throughout our years at camp, we have shared many different memories. When in doubt, I always know that I can turn to Alyson and say, “Hey, remember that time when…?”
Last summer, Alyson and I trained as CITs together (Counselors in Training). Now, we are counselors and we’re both happy that we’re not alone during our first year as staff members. When I look back, it’s still hard to believe how fast time has gone. I don’t think either one of us expected to become friends, but we were in it together for all five years. I know Alyson and I will be friends long after we stop coming to camp. – Megan Sehr & Alyson Rolfe