As I went about my life in the last few days, I began to notice how quiet, how empty it seems around here. I mean in the supermarket parking lots and the sidewalks of normally busy downtowns, it was like a ghost town. I also started seeing references to Bunk 1 on Facebook and then it dawned on me, mother of 20-somethings. It was time for camp!
Although it has been a long time since I stayed up way too late ironing on name tags and using Sharpie markers for the dreaded camp trunk pick up date, and even longer since I went off to Camp Young Judaea in Amherst, N.H., myself, just the idea of camp makes me smile. I spent two summers at CYJ, a total of eight weeks of my life altogether, and yet they were eight of the most important weeks of my life in terms of the formation of my Jewish identity.
I also flashed back to the first full summer we lived here, in 1990, and my son’s first day at JCC Mini Camp, when he was four. The night before, I had been up all night with what can only be described as “swim anxiety.” I simply could not picture how the counselors would be able to pay attention to all of the kids in the pool at the same time — and none of them were swimming yet. Visions of disaster danced in my head. The next day, of course, the counselors talked me down off my private little ledge and everything was fine. Both of our kids started their camp lives at the JCC; it made me so happy that Shabbat was part of their summer camp lives and that they were in the warm Jewish atmosphere at the JCC.
All week I’ve been hearing about all of the different Jewish summer camps and experiences that my friends’ kids are embarking upon — even more options than were available when my kids were of that age — and I am jealous! I want to go back to camp, I want to go to Israel with the Diller Teens or Alexander Muss High School in Israel, I (almost) want to have a little one to send off to Mini Camp at the JCC or Camp Deeny Riback (I just don’t want to do the name tags or the Sharpie marker thing!) I think my friend Alia Ramer, who blogs at Our Tribe and Joy, feels the same way — check out her post this week.
If you want more information on how you can connect your children with one of these amazing summer experiences, visit One Happy Camper NJ or contact Tracy Levine, manager of One Happy Camper NJ, at (973) 929-2970.