I needed more magic. I had so looked forward to that since the last time I was at camp in 1998 (I think) for the 35th reunion, but after COVID19 begun I knew that things would be changing – even if only for this year – but they would be changing. There are other reasons why I felt the need to write to alumni prior to the second session when you all will undoubtedly feel the way I do now – empty without your own renewal of Jacobs magic. So, you probably did like I did – by reading through all of the opening day procedures, Anna’s plans, the information that explained all of our obligations pre-camp to prepare for a successful session. e had been assigned a 9:00 AM arrival and could not be late. We arrived at camp at 8:50 AM – a bit early – and waited outside the gate for the staff to call us in through the gates. It was so wonderful to hear all the staff members shout “welcome home” to us and make my first-year camper feel so comfortable and at home!
I saw a few familiar faces and was so happy to see them that I think my eyes remained teary the whole time I was there…and not because I was leaving my little one at camp because I knew he was going to be safe and happy and well taken care of at camp because that’s what Jacobs does. I knew this from being a counselor and unit head for 3 summers during college and the Jacobs magic that I felt then I made a promise to myself that if I ever had kids, they would come here to feel that same magic…and now it was happening…happy cannot begin to describe how i felt when we picked him up on Sunday because I knew when I saw him that he indeed had that same experience we all have at Jacobs and he too felt the same way we all do when we’ve been touched by the place we all call home. Now he knows why he too will call camp home from now.
But going back to opening day, there was another reason for my tears as I drove out of the gates 25 minutes after my arrival….I didn’t get my fill of Jacobs magic to last until next summer…and I really could use that magic right now. I know it’s selfish to say it, but just as much as our kids need a month of camp each summer, we need our booster shot of camp during opening and closing day – with seeing a friend in the place that so many of us became friends, by walking around Lake Gary and seeing our old cabins and thinking about the memories we made there, by seeing the chadar ochel and remembering Shabbat and countless song sessions that left us out of breath but full of energy. All of those little things that end up being the best memories of summers spent at HSJ are what we all look forward to reminiscing about every other year on opening day.
I didn’t realize how much I missed camp and what a profound impact it made in my life until I returned to drop off my son. I long for that feeling camp gives you, that feel-good spark that only one place in this world has the ability to give so many of us. I always wish I would have come as a camper but no one can turn back time – all I have the ability to do now is make sure that my son has the opportunity to do what I didn’t get to do – build a memory bank for himself for his lifetime in the next 12-15 years of great summers at HSJ. Having been touched by Jacobs magic, no matter how long you have been coming to HSJ, no matter how long your stay was, is always a part of you, and arriving at camp floods all of those precious memories back into the forefront of our minds. Ask your kids to bring a little extra magic home when their session ends so they can share it with you!