It’s that time of year—time to head to Camp! I just got to CYJ yesterday. We’re starting with a small group of ten people, which will grow to 30 people by Monday afternoon. The grass is green, and everything looks perfect. This is where the reality of CYJ and Meatballs (the classic Camp movie starring Bill Murray) differ. The opening scene shows the staff spending the staff week painting, fixing windows, and getting a run-down place ready for the campers, all to the theme song, “Are You Ready for the Summer?”. It’s very classic, and just like the movie, that’s not what Camp is like today, at least not CYJ. Our leadership team will bond and build relationships for the next ten days while learning to be good supervisors, how to run great programs, and how to best support our campers. Five of these days, our lifeguards and ropes course instructors will join in and receive training and certifications in their specialty areas.

The Merakzim (Unit Heads) and Roshin (Head of Specialties) will participate in a variety of professional development programs, including CPR/First Aid training, Situational Awareness and Camp Security, The Coaching Habit, Our Israel Stories & Israel Education at Camp, Mental Health: you, your staff, and your campers, and Planning for tomorrow while executing today. This is just a glimpse of the extensive training we do with our supervisory staff. Once the rest of the staff (80 more people) arrive, we have another week of training to prepare them for their roles as bunk madrichim (counselors). Many of the programs done for the leadership team will be led by the leadership team for the madrichim.

From my experience, it’s clear that many campers and staff consider their time at camp as some of the most valuable and formative weeks of their lives. Frequently, I receive feedback from potential staff members expressing their desire to become camp counselors, but they feel it doesn’t align with their career path. They mention the need for something “marketable” on their resume, not realizing how well camp skills align with the demands of the modern workplace. Whether it’s flexibility, discipline, empathy, problem-solving,or just getting along with others, camp tzevet (staff) acquire a set of strengths that position them well for the future. Camp is as real as it gets by enabling young adults to learn and grow and make a difference.

Time to put on sunscreen. See you this Summer! Frank