The First Days at Jacobs Camp
Twenty-six years has gone by since I attended Jacobs Camp, but the excitement I felt while waiting in line on Sunday to drop my daughter off for her first summer was exactly the same as I remember from when my mom dropped me and my siblings off!
From the time I became pregnant, I started planning how I would get my child back to Utica each summer. I had to convince my husband, a native Houstonian, who grew up going to an all-boys camp in Maine, that a Jewish camp in the middle of no-where Mississippi would be the best choice for our daughter. Thankfully, my parents still live in Cleveland, MS, and my brother’s children, as well as numerous cousins’ children, attend Jacobs. Coincidentally, one of my best friends, who I met at Jacobs in second year Garin (1988), ended up in Houston. We have children the same age, and have been planning and plotting on sending our kids to Jacobs the moment they were old enough. It was a no brainer!
Even though I was only 1 year older than my daughter is now when I started Garin in 1987, I still had reservations about sending my 7-year-old -my baby- to camp for 2 whole weeks! My hesitations began to subside after pulling through the gates, hearing the cheers, and seeing so many familiar faces volunteering!
The drop-off process, which I was dreading due to all of the changes since I was a camper, went off without a hitch. We drove in, had her temperature checked, hair checked and then pulled up to the breezeway for luggage drop. I received an extremely brief hug and kiss goodbye. Then she was off, disappeared in the crowd with new smiling faces. DID THIS JUST HAPPEN??!!
While this is just the beginning of my daughter’s Jacobs Camp journey, my heart is already full from the small glimpses being shared on social media; it truly is the best feeling in the world to see her at the same place, that was my happy place, as a child.
July 9, 2023 was my first time pulling through the gates of Henry S. Jacobs Camp since the summer of 1997. So much has changed at Jacobs since I was a camper, from the drop-off, to the fact that cabins have air-conditioning (what a treat), new buildings, the lake activities, to being able to stalk an app each day to see what your child is up to and the Jacobs Journal (love this). Yet, the experience and feelings are exactly the same, which is truly amazing, and all due to the hard work and dedication of Anna, the team of directors, counselors, and all other staff.
About the Author
Leslie Levingston Jacob
Leslie Levingston Jacob is originally from Cleveland, MS, now resides in Houston, Texas, attended Jacobs Camp for 10 years, as a camper from 1987-1994, Avodah (CIT) 1996 and Counselor 1997, and is the mother of a first year Olimer.
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