The Canteen is a tribute to all things Jewish sleepaway camp. Hosted by the Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC), this blog is written by campers, alumni, parents, and camp professionals and is a place to talk about parenting, camp fun, projects, crafts, recipes, and more – all tied back to Jewish holidays, traditions and, of course, camp!
Aaron: “I think you’re underestimating how long a minute is.”
SBB: “It’s 60 seconds.”
The above conversation happened late at night this summer, in the programming office at my camp, and was frozen forever on Twitter. Time doesn’t really work at camp in the traditional way. Every moment of summer seems to fly by, and yet every day of camp seems to last a week.
There’s a moment in time, in every #Nadiviator’s life, when time stands still for a brief moment. For me, and for many camp people, that moment is in Israel. Since I’ve started this job, I have been so lucky and so grateful to attend the URJ Camps Educators’ seminar in Israel, which is run parallel to the training of our summer Shlichim (Israeli staff). It’s exhausting, it’s fun, and I always learn so much from my fellow educators. The time difference and totally immersive experience of the seminar allows me to be present with my peers, our supervisors, and our Israeli staff and friends. It is an experience that energizes me for my return to the States, for closing out the school year and opening up camp.
After Israel, there were still programs to be done at school. Like the end of camp, it was filled with flashes of students covered in flour and chalk, of faculty smiles, and communal singing. One half of my heart bid farewell to our 8th grade students with a tear in my eye, while simultaneously, the other half of my heart opened and welcomed the Programming Team to camp for the summer. I both did and didn’t really know what was in store for the summer; the calendar is set, but the seconds, minutes, and hours get programmed and planned for in real “camp” time, where ultimately, each minute was but 60 seconds. As the minutes crept and sped by simultaneously, plans were cemented, modified, created, and re-created. Kids volunteered around Atlanta, camped in the woods, went canoeing and whitewater rafting. Small kids climbed up trees in harnesses and helmets, as almost every person in camp took a trip down a brand-new slide. Hardworking staff members donned Rock Star face paint and glittery fairy wings to teach lessons. Microphones and speakers broke from enthusiastic use, and sports supplies needed to be replenished after overly enthusiastic tossing, kicking, throwing, and bouncing. A local Elvis appeared and was all shook up. Friendships were formed, advice was meted out. Giant ice cream sandwiches were scarfed down with gusto.
As the minutes rushed by, and as the hours expanded out like a sunset over the mountains, camp drew to a close. A T-shirt, a flashlight keychain, a bandana – all artifacts of a great summer – are stuffed into a duffel or two. As I return to my day school, I have my flashlight keychain in my backpack and I’m hoping it will light the way to another school — and camp — year, filled with seconds, minutes, and hours of learning. Of laughter. And of amazing discovery.