#summer2021

A letter to camp staff

When campers write letters home, they fill the margins with memories and highlights from their days spent with new friends, trying different activities, and attempting to put words to their time here at camp. In these letters, the most important people in their lives – the ones who hang on every word and count down the minutes and the moments until they can wrap their arms around them again, see glimpses of changes… more confidence, more self-awareness, more independence.

This past year has changed all of us. As we count down until we see our campers once again, we want to take a moment to write a letter to some of the most important people in their lives – camp staff: our counselors, our health center staff, our kitchen crew, camper care team, department heads, office staff, support staff, and everyone in between. In a year that has been unlike any other, you have all made an incredibly selfless commitment, and we struggle to put words to the impact you’re about to have and the gratitude that we already feel for the investment of time and energy that this summer will require of all of us. You’ve joined us in looking past the protocols, and minor changes, and many unknowns, and you’ve seen what we see: Camp– the opportunity to provide what will undoubtedly be one of our campers’ most memorable summers. You have made a powerful choice, and that will not be lost on our camp community. Our campers will enter the bunk on Opening Day with a different level of excitement, an extreme amount of trust in you, and an unparalleled sense of relief as they finally return to their most cherished place.

In so many ways, this summer will mark the end of a year filled with isolation, adjustment, change, and triumph, and camp will mark the transition back into our “in-person” world. Campers who haven’t seen their closest friends in almost two years, with free time spent on devices, will enter our safe space and begin to take the steps back into a world filled with high fives, hugs, and hands-on learning, side-by-side with best friends and unwavering support systems. You will create smiles, you’ll dry tears, and you will step into one of the most impactful jobs you’ve ever had. Working at camp has always been a rewarding position, but the intensity with which you’ll feel that this summer will be unmatched.  

Last summer we shared with our community that we were confident the comeback would be stronger than the setback, and we look toward this summer with so much optimism and excitement because of your comeback, because of your unparalleled passion and your investment in the future here at Camp Pembroke and at Jewish day and overnight camps across North America. Thank you for making this summer possible and for helping camp. It is because of you that we are all about to have the best summer of our lives. Opening Day is so close, we’ll be there soon – arms wide open and grilled cheese waiting.

You are brave, you are caring, you are committed and at the end of this summer, your campers will look back on 2021 and think of you, their heroes. And until then, you are already ours.

With so much gratitude,

Becca & Amy

Amy Coran and Becca Goldman are the Co-Directors of Camp Pembroke in Pembroke, Massachusetts.

This piece is a part of Foundation for Jewish Camp’s summer blog series. Follow along all summer long, and share how Jewish camp impacted your life! Tell us your story in the comments, on Facebook, or tweet @JewishCamp using the hashtag #JewishCamp.