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For eleven summers, I have always called 3863 Morrison Road my home away from home. I have made countless friendships and memories that are still strong to this day. Like many campers, I am a second generation Jacobs camper, with both of my parents spending time at Jacobs Camp. This ultimately led to their meeting and eventual marriage in 1997. While my mother did not experience the true Jacobs Magic until she was on staff, when former director Macy Hart decided to take recruiting all the way out to Texas, my father had experienced it for years.

In the summer of 1982, my father, Paul Royal (left column, top), began his Jacobs journey in what is the equivalent of today’s Maskilim. He got hooked immediately and came back every year until he was on staff. His first year on staff began in 1988, the summer before he began his freshman year at college. A few years later, my mother, Natalie Margolin Royal, entered the gates and met my father. It took about six years before they got married, eight before I was born.

Leading up to the summer of 2006, I began to look forward to my Kochavim experience. My parents and other family members began telling me stories of their time at camp and I could not wait to see what it was really like. And truth be told, it exceeded my expectations. From that moment on, I became more and more ecstatic to back for an even longer period of time.

Nine years on and a summer in Israel later, I finally got my chance to become a staff member as a gesher. It was only from there that I became more determined to come back as a counselor. Before I took the four hour drive from Memphis to Utica, I stumbled upon some old pictures of my dad when he spent his time at camp such as the one above. But the one that stood out to me the most was a candid of him dunking a basketball. On the back was written “High-flyin, death-defyin, 360 monster jam (Air Royal!)”. Upon seeing it for the first time, it became my goal that as my first year as a counselor I will recreate that picture.

It took some time before I found the perfect opportunity to try my best to make a replica of my dad’s picture. But once I had free time and thanks to the help of this past summer’s photographer Sophie White, we went to the blacktop and created magic. The result was something that was not just perfect, but something that can be a prime example of what Jacobs is really about.

Below: Paul (1988), Will (2018)

Before I left for college, I presented the picture to my father as an early birthday gift. He said it was the coolest thing he has ever seen. We now have “Air Royal” to share as part of our Jacobs experience, along with having a Posner as a counselor at some point in time (Mark in 1982, Joshua in 2014). I am glad that I helped keep the legacy father created thirty years prior and will hope to pass that on to the next generation of Royal campers that come through Jacobs Camp.

-Will Royal