Rachel Saks has an M.S. in Education and is a Registered Dietitian. She has taught cooking classes, developed and ran Healthy Living, a Camp Ramah program that combines nutrition education, mindful eating, cooking instruction and physical activity. Rachel is also the co-author of “Jewish American Food Culture.”
Many campers have been counting down the days to the first day of camp in 2013 since the last day of camp in 2012. By this point in the winter, you as parents have done countless trips to and from camp-friends’ homes, asked your child to end yet another endless phone call with a
bunk-mate, or heard the story of the hilarious counselor/silly evening activity/whipped cream fight/amazingly meaningful connection with that “special someone” four times too many.
One of the most powerful things about Jewish overnight camp is the relationships your children form with their peers and counselors. They form these relationships not just because they spend so much time together, but because their Jewish heritage binds them. The concept of Achdut is the idea that all Jews are naturally unified by a powerful historical bond and a unique relationship with God. Perhaps Achdut is the reason why your camper forms connections easily, but without it on a daily basis, they may experience some serious camp-sickness. Your camper misses camp, but what is there to do about the mid-winter “I miss everything about camp” blues?
Enter camp food. I’m not talking about bug juice, rubbery grilled cheese and candy bars hidden in duffle bags. Those “delicacies” aren’t the solution to any problem. I’m talking about the food of campfire legends – ooey gooey s’mores, rocky mountain toast, weenies on a stick, and banana boats – and the convivial feelings of unity, camaraderie and closeness that the crackling flames, off-key singing and crisp summer evening air seem to eternally evoke. This is where Achdut is at its strongest. If your campers are missing their camp friends and missing the intense connections they formed at camp, why not bring all of that home?