Camp Shalom Families & JCC Community,
Summer 2021 was one to remember as all others are. But what really made this summer different from those of the past? Could it have been a new Camp Director, COVID, a new structure, or new staff? To me, what really made Camp Shalom different this summer compared to those of the past was our ability to adapt and move forward.
This summer, the Camp Shalom community had to adapt and move forward even before the summer began. Alix Davidson, who has led Camp Shalom for the previous three summers, departed our community to return to the East Coast. Some of our community may know, my connection to Camp Shalom existed prior to coming on board. Alix and I first met over ten years ago at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. We took a course, “Outdoor and Adventure Leadership,” where we went backpacking on Channel Islands and attended a Camp Conference in San Diego together. Our Assistant Camp Director, Willis, and I first met ten summers ago in 2011, when we started working together at a residential overnight camp in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Having these strong relationships prior to coming on board made this decision to join the Youth and Camp Department an exciting one. By joining this team a mere four weeks prior to summer, it gave myself and our team the ability once again, to adapt and move forward.
The first day of camp came; with face masks, hand sanitizer, temperature checks, small groups and more – just another adaptation for summer. Our staff welcomed back old friends, and I met our campers for the first time. Our campers adapted to our COVID era precautions taking them in stride and moving forward with each new camp day. Throughout the summer we heard phrases like “masks up, nose check, wash your hands,” prominent amongst other camp phrases such as…. “TRADITION!, glugs, let me see you bungalow, and boker tov.” While our camp lingo and verbiage remained much the same, we learned to adapt and move forward with additional language we have all become too familiar with.
Yet summer continued on. We had a visit from a local petting zoo, a magic show, a Fire and Ice Science Show, a water day featuring snow cones and the ever popular Harry Potter Day filled with quidditch, snitch hunts, and butterbeer treats. Campers whipped up homemade tortillas, smoothies, brownies, and solar oven pizzas while creating works of art like pinwheels, squirt art and lanyards galore, to name a few. We continued through summer each week through temperature checks and more, and towards the end of summer made the decision to close for a week due to positive COVID tests. Yet we pushed forward again and when we were notified of the false case, adapted yet again offering care for families still in need.
Camp Shalom is a place known for kehillah (community), ruach (spirit), and being having lev tov (big heart). As the end of summer approached, my first here at Camp Shalom, these values along with our others truly shined true. We welcomed new and old campers and staff, adapted to rapidly changing times, and moved forward throughout the summer being able to serve hundreds of families as we returned to a summer like those of the past, with a few adjustments. Both myself, and Willis, are looking forward to continuing the journey of Camp Shalom as we move forward to school year programming, break camps, and so much more as we adapt to our ever changing society.
I truly could not have asked for a more welcoming summer at Camp Shalom. So thank you for inviting me into your camp family and our JCC community. I look forward to meeting more families in person and having the opportunity to work with your children and family.
Look out for our upcoming camps:
- Sukkot Mini-Camp: Tuesday & Wednesday, September 21-22
- Shemini Atzeret & Simchat Torah Mini-Camp: Tuesday & Wednesday, September 28-29
- Thanksgiving Break Camp: November (dates TBD)
- Winter Break Camp: December (dates TBD)
Yours in camping,
Youth & Camp Director