Let’s Get It Started!

Camp started for me… last weekend!  For the first time, I brought together the Hanhallah, the executive leadership team, and hosted a retreat at the JCC’s Rainbow Day Camp.  We had a very full agenda of topics to discuss including the creation of our team’s rules of collaboration.  We talked about new protocols for the chadar ochel, the dining hall.  We brainstormed new ways of looking at the Ozrim program: not that we’re training the Ozrim of 2015, but we’re training the leadership of 2019 and 2020!  We welcomed our new assistant director, Rachel Saslove, to the team.  She goes by the name “Sas,” and she starts on Wednesday, May 13th!  We are so excited!  We talked about some of the logistics of Interlaken’s 50th Anniversary Celebration this June where we will have 400 guests coming to Camp to celebrate with us!    We introduced the idea of Making Mensches that we shared with our camp families in a recent Hoda’ah and talked about how we are setting the expectation of behavior for Campers through the Making Mensches program.  We reviewed and worked on the summer master calendar that includes cabin overnights, Maccabiah, KTO, Sha’arnival, the Talent Show, visiting DJs and much more fun stuff!  While we accomplished SO MUCH, I left the weekend with my head spinning and holding so much information that I wanted to get onto paper and, truthfully, get up to Camp so I can get in motion!

I have to be honest, it’s been a LONG time since I was THIS excited for a Camp summer!  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my job and it is truly my life!  However, I usually approach a summer with anxiety and a sense of panic until everything is done and ready to go.  Truth is that the first deep breath that I typically take at the beginning of the summer is when the first bus rolls in on the first day of first session (lots of firsts in that sentence).  This year, something is different for me.

I have this confidence that 2015 is going to be different.  Better.  Maybe even the best!  Our Unit Leader team and Hanhallah team are pretty incredible, and I know that I am surrounding myself with people who are passionately committed to Camp, to child development, to working with teens, to delivering awesome programs, and most importantly, to helping our campers be better people!  Whenever I run into counselors in the off season, all they talk about is “my girls” or “my boys” as they share that their lives will end if they can’t be with their kids again this summer!  Our counselors are truly coming back to Camp this summer for the right reasons.  Our counselor team this summer is exceptional: both the new staff and the lifers!  We have added a few extra layers of support second session when our Camp grows by 100 campers: a school psychologist has been added to the entire session and another social worker has been added to the first two weeks of the session.

Our campers are psyched for the summer!  For the returners, their love for Interlaken is so deep, so true, and so unexplainable.  It’s that time that our K’far Noar campers are starting to think about how this is not only supposed to be their BEST summer, but it’s also their last summer as campers.  Last week in our New Camper Orientation, our first timers looked so nervous, so excited, and so eager for Interlaken to become their home!  Alumni who are sending their children for the first time to Camp are so hopeful that their children develop the love, make the friendships, and create the memories that Interlaken gave to them!

Last week Jonah Wagan, one of our Assistant Directors, spent the week at Camp!  He went up with Jonah Levenberg (my husband but also the technology director at the JCC) to “set up” Camp!  They made sure all the computers were up and running, checked the phone lines, tested walkie talkies, set up copy and fax machines and didn’t leave until Camp was ready for us to arrive and hit the ground running!  They reported that Camp looks AMAZING, the new Cabin Gad is BEAUTIFUL, the mosquitos were out in full force (which is good because that means they have a month before I get there to lessen), the redone Chadar Floor is shiny and gorgeous, and the tushball roof is ready to go and will actually be expanded into two tushball courts with some renovations that we’ve done to the Moadon.  I am SO JEALOUS that I wasn’t with them; videos are ok, but I can’t wait to see it all in person!

Point of this article: I’m excited!  I have some personal goals this summer.  I plan to be out of the office A LOT!  I want to hang out with cabins more!  I am going to co-lead Music Appreciation with one of our Unit Leaders.  I am going to spend a lot of time with the Ozrim training my leadership team of 2019/2020.  I want to play basketball.  I want to take more photos.  I want to make more connections.  And, I’m ready for all of this to happen!  For me, Summer 2015 started last weekend, but I have to wait 24 more days until I get to move to Camp for my best summer ever and Interlaken’s 50th Best Summer Ever!  I can’t wait!