Sharing the Love of Camp

Dava Schub, Chief Program Officer, JCC Manhattan

Don't get me wrong...it's not that camp is too distant a memory to pull up and re-live, re-tell like it were yesterday, in fact there are moments when 35 years ago feels so close I can feel the need for the wool sweater to warm up a crazy cold Aug morning or that I run to my mailbox on the Upper West Side hoping for some handwritten love from "home" (and what I find instead are all of the catalogues I should have unsubscribed from and the bills that I keep meaning to put on auto-pay!). But in celebration of 30-days of summer, what I am pulling up is not the photo albums full of my own camp memories---the many moments that I give credit for making me the best parts of who I am today, but instead--I pulled up one of my "last night of camp email" to my niece (I send her one every summer...) before she packs up her bags and heads back to what everyone who doesn't know better calls "real life". 
Those of us who "get it", know camp is as real as it gets!
 

(and for those of us sleep-away camp die-hards who think day camp is for someone else...let me just give an unabashedly proud plug for Pearl River...where the magic of sleepaway camp happens each day and your kids gets to sleep in their own bed each night. www.camps.jccmanhattan.org)

 

From: Auntie Dava

To: summer@hiddenvalleycamp.com


Hey there Anna my sweet---

I just opened another delicious letter from you---and I realized you are in the homestretch to the end of what I hope has been another amazing summer at camp. 

It was such a treat getting to talk to you last night. You sounded terrific- so relaxed and happy. As I said to your mom when we hung up- "everyone needs their happy place"--- and I am so glad you have found yours. Enjoy these final days in your special home away from home and take lots of pictures (sometimes the ones you take in your head are the very best ones-- the sights and sounds you can go back to on a night that you have too much homework or your brother is annoying you--- keep all the good stuff close at hand :-)
 

My wishes for you in the homestretch---

 

  • eat is all up (and I don't just mean the s'mores!)
  • take it all in (the late night conversations, the view of the lake, the way it feels too cold in the morning and then too hot by lunch time)
  • lean on the people around you---your counselors, your bunk mates---this month they are your family, your friends, your everything and the more you let them be that for you the more they can mean to you (and even though missing them sucks, you also realize how lucky you are too have so many people all over the place who love you and look forward to seeing you next summer)
  • find a big bottle (ok, it might even have to be an imaginary bottle!)- and take some of the HVC peace, ease and wonder home with you because I am sure there will be moments when you start a new school or need to let your brother watch his shows on tv---you can crack open that bottle and let just enough camp-goodness seep out to warm your heart and make your day
  • and, know that we all LOVE you, miss you and cannot wait to have you home!!!!!!!

 

xoxo and go hi five a llama for me :-)

 

love u,

Auntie Dava