Just a month from now, I will be heading to Utica for my 7th summer at HSJ. Even after all these summers, the pre-camp excitement is just as real, especially now after all the craziness the past year or so has held. Not being able to go to camp for two years helped me realize just how much camp brings to my life, no matter how old I get. It has also reminded me of how important it is to me to continue to stay connected to a place and community that I love so dearly.
Over the past several months, I have been a part of camp’s new Staff Advisory Board, where we have focused on creating the best possible experience for staff this summer, knowing that camp will look different for staff than it has in past summers. I have met monthly with Anna, Sarah Tucker, Hayley Royal, Josh Balkin, Sarah Bate, and more awesome people to work on all things staff care-related! From brainstorming merch surprises and yummy evening snacks/treats to upgrading staff lounge spaces, we have had a lot of fun dreaming up new ideas to help make this another incredible summer at HSJ.
One of our main focuses has been making days off relaxing for staff, even if they are not away from camp. Counselors will be able to stay in camp motel rooms and will have access to food from outside of camp. Our Staff Advisory Board meetings may end, but Hayley will continue working all summer long to make camp as accommodating and fun as ever for our staff, and she really is the perfect person for the job!
Over the past couple years away from camp, what I have missed most is definitely all the happy little moments with friends or campers. Things like jamming to my favorite camp classics during song session, chatting with kids at the pool, strolling to the valley for Shabbat, and so much more have me counting down the days till June. Though our usual camp activities may look a little different this summer, I know our staff would agree when I say that any adjustments are worth it to be able to be safely at camp together. We’re ready to be reunited and make the most of this summer!
Rachel Carter was a camper for 4 summers and joins Jacobs Camp this summer as the Waterfront Specialist!