Fifteen years ago, Jacobs Camp began an overnight program for rising first graders during camp known as Kochavim! One of the campers from that first summer, Josh Balkin, will be serving this year as our Kochavim unit head, and wanted to share with our community the impact of this L’dor V’dor moment. Thank you for your words, Josh!
Fifteen summers ago, on opening day for the first ever Kochavim session, I passed through Jacobs Camp’s iconic gates and since then I have never looked back. What I learned over the past fifteen summers is that HSJ truly is my home away from home.
Jacobs camp has always served as a special place in my family. My parents both attended as campers and staff, and even met at camp. Three uncles and an aunt attended, as did my older brother, so camp was always a part of my life. Regardless, it’s importance did not mean that I could understand it. Talking about camp does not do it justice. Only being there and experiencing it can truly show you what makes the Jacob’s Magic so special.
It is this connection to camp and desire to be present in this community that I am so thrilled to be serving as Kochavim unit head this summer! On the fifteenth anniversary of Kovachim and on the fifteenth anniversary of my coming to camp, I get to introduce a whole new group of kids to Jacobs. It is such a powerful L’dor V’dor moment, and I feel so honored to get to share this memory with these young campers. Jacobs camp was essential for my personal development, and over the next few years these campers will get to experience exactly what I did. They will make the closest friends they will ever have. They will learn new skills they might have never tried. They will grow in an environment of nurturing and support, fostering confidence that can only be developed at camp.
In many ways, I am jealous of my campers. I love camp, and will always do everything I can to make my way back here every summer, but as time goes on this mission grows harder. These campers, who’s HSJ journey is only beginning, have over a decade of new and exciting memories and experiences waiting for them. My job now is simply to introduce them to it, and I couldn’t be more honored to do so.