Learning to be Me
Nina Kantrowitz, Director of Institutional Giving, JCC Manhattan
It's hard to put into words the influence camp has had on my life. Camp was not only summer after summer of fun memories, learning new skills, and making lifelong friends -- but simply put, camp changed my life. After my immediate family, camp was the most impactful part of my formative years: I learned how to rely on myself without my parents' reminders; I learned to try new adventures without the peer pressure from school friends; I learned that if I used all my canteen coupons the first two weeks of camp, I'd be sorely disappointed during the last weeks; I learned that early morning breakfast cookouts with your bunk are quite possibly the best meals ever; I learned to persevere, as I was terrified to swim in a lake with fish at 9 years old and at 16 years old I passed my life guarding exam in that very same lake; and most of all, I learned to be me, something that I will forever be grateful for. Perhaps the best part of my camp experiences are yet to come, though, in the joy of witnessing my children embark on the same life-changing journey that I was so fortunate to take.