In this new Zoom world, I have developed a hobby of picking the right song for the moment. I pride myself on picking the perfect song to kick off a zoom call or to say goodbye to everyone as we log off. These days, the song of the moment for me is “I’ll Always Remember You” by Hannah Montana.
Hannah Montana was the last show I watched on Disney Channel. It bookended two significant transitions in my life. The show premiered when I was in 5th grade, preparing for middle school, and the last episode aired when I was in 10th grade, navigating high school. It was the first show that made me cry (if you know me, that’s a pretty big deal), so it seems fitting that Hannah Montana has been playing in my mind as I navigate another transition in my life.
Summer 2021 (which will be the BEST SUMMER EVER) will be my last summer as Assistant Director. I will be pursuing my dream of a career in the professional sports industry by attending graduate school to earn a joint Masters in Sports Business Management and an MBA. While I am excited for the opportunities that lay ahead of me, I am heartbroken to say goodbye to Jacobs Camp. The past four years have been nothing short of incredible. I have grown personally and professionally in ways that I didn’t know were possible. Everything that I’ve learned in this job will prepare me for my next journey and every journey after that.
The greatest gift that Jacobs has given me is a sense of self-confidence and pride in myself that I have never had before. Before my first summer on staff, I never had the confidence to say I was good at something. I would say I was “kind of good” at sports, “kind of good” at playing guitar, “kind of good” at skateboarding. But after my first summer, I was able to say that I was, without a doubt, good at camp. That confidence continued to grow with every summer I came back to camp and has continued to grow every day in this position.
I didn’t get to this place by myself. There are so many people I have to thank.
To all of my NFTY regional boards, thank you for trusting me and welcoming me as your regional advisor. We made memories that I’ll never forget, from celebrating my 23rd birthday in Shreveport to our fun-time-clean-tours that went late into the night. You weren’t afraid to try new things; you embraced the Jewish Joy and led NFTY Southern through some major transitions. I am honored to have been your Mother Goose for three years.
To Tamisa and Jacob, thank you for creating the best office culture I’ve experienced. Thank you for laughing at my jokes (even if you thought they weren’t funny) and embracing my need for fellowship over lunch or zoom (or over both!). I can’t wait for the three of us to be back in the office together this summer.
Carolyn, I’m sorry we don’t get to work together longer. I’m so excited for you and your new role. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with you this summer and to watch you experience the Jacobs Magic for the first time.
Nadav, we both came to camp in 2005. I remember being a camper and hearing you yell “BRAKE” as I rolled backward down the Lower and my bike ran over me. You were the most incredible coach in my first year as the NFTY Southern Advisor. I’ll never forget our insane brainstorms on how to make fire drills memorable, the laughs we’ve had over a campfire, and the hilarious inside jokes that crack us up every day. You’ve always had my back. I’m so grateful that you welcomed me to camp my first summer, and that now you’re here to see me off after my last.
Anna, there aren’t enough words to describe what your guidance and mentorship over the last seven years have meant to me. You’ve taught me so much about joy and gratitude and living life to the fullest. You took a very tall 22-year old that needed a confidence boost and turned her into a 26 year old professional ready to take on the world. I may have been 6 foot 1, but I felt small until you took me under your wing. I am who I am today because of you. All I can say is thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I can only hope that one day I can build someone up the way you built me.
Jacobs Camp has been my home for 13 summers and will always be my home. I’ve met my closest friends, shared incredible memories with my brother and sister, and remained connected to my Judaism through camp. As I finish writing this, another Hannah Montana classic comes to mind: “You’ll Always Find Your Way Back Home.” I promise I’ll find my way back home, Jacobs Camp. Thank you for these incredible years as your Assistant Director.