This summer was my first on staff. I was a Garin and Maskilim counselor to the greatest boys I could have asked for. But this is not where my camp journey started. I spent seven summers at Henry S. Jacobs Camp as a camper. I started in Olim and went all the way to Talmidm; only stopping because summer baseball was getting too competitive. I loved camp when I was growing up. Even at a young age, I dreamed of becoming a counselor. Camp has always been a place that I felt completely normal, something I didn’t get a lot of in my day to day life. In the South and especially in a small town right outside of Pensacola, Florida, being Jewish didn’t help me fit in. In some cases it made things a little harder. Coming to Jacobs Camp as a kid taught me that I wasn’t alone, and helped me be proud of my Jewish roots.
I know that I could not have come to that realization without my amazing counselors and as a staff member, I strived to give that to my campers. Having fun 24/7 and always having something to look forward to created the Jacobs magic for me. Being on staff just continued that magic. I got to grow and become extremely close with all of the staff members and make friends for life. All while helping make a child’s summer and give them memories that they will never forget. Being a part of the “Jacob’s Magic” showed me how dedicated and hard-working my counselors were to make sure the magic continued every day. This was an experience of a lifetime. This summer was about paying it forward. My counselors growing up made such a positive impact in my life. It was truly an honor to be on staff and create that same experience for my campers.
Benjamin Zimmerman was a full summer counselor during Summer 2019. He studies Exercise Science at Salem State University and is a member of their baseball team.