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Home » Growing Up HSJ: from Camper to Counselor

This week first-year counselors Brock Jacobs, Abby Craig, and Hayley Royal shared their perspectives on the transition from counselor to camper, the reasons they chose to return to HSJ as a staff member, and the lessons they have learned during their first session as counselors. Thank you so much to these two amazing individuals for sharing their incredible insights and love of Jacobs with our community!


I remember my first summer at camp. I was so nervous. I wasn’t sure if I would fit in or enjoy camp. The one thing that I was sure of when going through those gates was “I know I’m not going to want to come back.” Well, I couldn’t be more incorrect. Flash forward 6 years later and now I am a counselor. 

Being a camp counselor is a scary job. The kids coming through the gates on opening day are relying on me and my fellow staff members to give the best summer of their lives. That’s daunting. All of those nerves suddenly vanished once June 10, 2019, came around. 

Opening day is like none other at HSJ. The energy is high, the kids are electric, and the fried chicken is AMAZING. We are now about halfway through first session and I’ve had the time of my life. My Garin Cabin (shoutout to Cabin Tzivoni!!!) has made me laugh to the point of tears.These incredible kids have given me confidence in myself, not only at camp but beyond. My kids are absolutely amazing and have made my fears of being a first-year counselor nonexistent. 

I love my job; it is the best job in the world. I am so excited to learn more about what being a counselor means to me and I’m even more excited for the rest of my summer at Jacobs Camp!


Hey y’all! My name is Abby Craig and I’m a first-year Talmidim counselor from Brooksville, Mississippi.

Being a nine-year camper at Jacobs, I knew I always wanted to be a counselor. My counselors helped me gain so many life skills and confidence that I was beyond excited to give back what I was given. 

Being a counselor has given me so much confidence and pride. Helping campers resolve issues and facing their fears, such as the zip line or even holding a chicken, is a feeling that nothing can compare to. My favorite part of my job, however, has to be the fact that I get to work and teach with my best friends in the entire world. Being a staff member at Jacobs has given me life skills, new friends, and new experiences. 


I remember exactly two things from my time in Olim 11 years ago. 

The first was that for messy night we were transformed into boogers by the staff.

More importantly, I remember my counselor. I remember how she would encourage us to sing every time we left the cabin and how she could do a perfect dolphin imitation. I remember how I wanted to be just like her. I wanted to have hair like hers and talk like her and go to the same college as her. 

I have had many counselors who were as fun and crazy and kind as her, but it was the impact she made on me that compelled me to join staff this year as a counselor. Despite spending 8 years as a camper, it was this first counselor I ever had that showed me how important the role of staff is. As the session continues to fly by, it is still her and the mark she left on me that I think of as I make memories with my own cabin. 

Thank you again to Brock, Abby, and Hayley for your amazing words! it is counselors like you who, through sharing their passion and love for HSJ with our campers, make Jacobs magic! We are so grateful for you!