Two Summers Later…
By Sam Kazer
As one of the pioneer staff at URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy, I covet any opportunity I have to spend time on the beautiful Governors Academy campus with the brightest and most interesting kids I have ever met. Unfortunately, as a full time graduate student at MIT, my moments at camp until this past week have been few and far between, leaving me longing for Boker Big Bang and Shabbat brisket on Friday night. Fortuitously, I was able to sneak away from lab for the last week and get my fill at Sci-Tech during the Trilogy Summer!
Returning to camp has been surreal in many ways. Just walking around campus floods my head with memories; on the field where we flew our first drone, in the Technion watching the first Rube Goldberg machine, and in Frost for our first ruach-filled song session. Many of these memories continue on today at camp. Instead of one drone, we have four. The Rube Goldberg machines have evolved to continually surpass those before them. Song session is louder than ever! The volume not only comes from the boundless spirit that our campers provide, but also the sheer number of campers in each session that magnify the experience for everyone.
The truly amazing difference between the first summer and this trilogy summer is not the new workshops, electives, or dorms; rather, Sci-Tech has been filled with more smart, loud (in voice and/or thought), techy, artsy, adventurous, introspective, Jewish campers than ever before. While camp has tripled in size (which is amazing in its own right), the k’sharim, or connections, made between campers has grown exponentially. It is these connections that make camp a holy, special place, and a place that inspires our campers to grow, create, and invent.
During my brief week at camp, I had the opportunity to teach two chugim, electives, with another pioneer staff member, Maddy Jennewein (graduate student at Harvard). In the mornings, we introduced lower camp campers to microbiology; we collected bacteria from around camp, staged a viral outbreak, and looked at bacteria and fungi under the microscope. In the afternoons, upper camp campers joined our materials chemistry chug, creating hydrophobic coatings, polymers, soap, and ferrofluid. While teaching two of our favorite topics was enjoyable, ever since the pioneer summer, we always looked forward to the thought provoking, amazing questions our campers would ask. Luckily, this year there was no drought!
URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy is a unique, one-of-a-kind place. My time here this summer was short, but sweet (as honey). Coming back to camp has not only helped me grow, create, and invent, but also assured me that everything that made camp special two years ago is still here and will continue to be here as long as there are inspiring, driven campers to fill its spaces. I cannot wait to see how far Sci-Tech can soar.
I know that once I get home, it will not take more than a few days for me to start longing for Tetris tots for breakfast, Hashkiveinu before bed, and the countless scientific and Jewish moments that happen in between…