By: Rabbi Paul Kipnes
My wife Michelle and I gathered our Congregation Or Ami campers together for another of our summer “Torah study meetings” in our cabin. These young people had been at Camp Newman for two weeks. We looked forward to the opportunity to see them all (and to eat delicious junk food).
I asked our teens to share what the love about Camp Newman. Between bites of Oreos, Kit Kats, Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups, Watermelon Sour Patch Kids, Chips Ahoy cookies, soda, Kettle Corn, humus and crackers, dried bananas and more, they each typed a few sentences:
Zachary Oschin, Hevrah, Age 15: I love camp because of the incredible friendships I make and the way in which they grow and blossom. The loving and caring community enables me to have a fantastic home at Camp Newman.
Jenna Morris, Maccabiah, Age 13: I love camp because I get to be away from home and make incredible friendships that last a lifetime. Camp Newman is like my 2nd home.
Marlena De Castro, Maccabiah, Age 13: I love camp because it is the only place where every moment is shaped to be a lifelong memory. Camp has an accepting atmosphere that allows everyone to find their Jewish identity and be their best self. I also believe that the friendships I’ve made at camp are the most real, beautiful relationships made during my teenage years.
Hillary Delin, Hevrah, Age 15: I love camp because it is my escape from reality; everything is so calm and serene at camp, and I love taking it all in. My fondest memories are all from Camp Newman.
Lauren Perlmutter, Hevrah, Age 15: I love camp because it is my home away from home and a place where I can be my best self. Camp is an accepting place where everyone is himself or herself and incredible bonds are created amongst our peers.
Lauren Cohen, Hevrah, Age 15: I love camp because it is truly my favorite place in the entire world. It has become my home away from home, and I couldn’t imagine my life without it.
Ashley November, Counselor/Art Room, Age 17: I love being at camp and being surrounded by nature, and my friends, and just people who have similar loves. Everybody is really connected to each other and to their Judaism. It is just great.
Jacqueline Oschin, Maccabiah, Age 13: I love camp because everyone immediately becomes so close. Everyone is so accepting so you are able to be yourself, which makes it so much fun.
Sophie Barnes, Avodah, Age 16: The reason I love camp is because it is a complete escape from home life. Being away from home for such a long time and really connecting to Judaism and friends is the greatest feeling. The fact that everyone is so open and accepting makes the experience even better.
Noah Kipnes, Avodah, Age 16: SMILE!