This was written by Jett Mann and Jason Gardiner who are both Machonikim at Sci-Tech
This summer, we chose to participate in Sci-Tech’s Machon program after attending Sci-Tech as campers because this is a wonderful and supportive community and all campers’ needs are taken into consideration. The Machon Program trains those who want to be counselors or leaders in STEM by interacting with campers without having all the responsibilities of a counselor yet, similar to other camp’s CIT programs but with a STEM lense. We spend the first session learning how to teach and help in workshops AND how to handle what campers will experience. Then we spend the remaining sessions practicing what we have learned. Sci-Tech is a supportive and welcoming environment that facilitates connection (kesher) between the campers and the Machonikim. Read below about why we decided to participate in the Machon program this summer:
Jett: I went to Sci-Tech as a camper for 5 years and during that time I learned about science and growing as a part of a community. During my first year, I experienced intense separation anxiety as this was my first time at a sleepaway camp. I often think back to how I cried my eyes out for the first two nights and how I couldn’t wait to go home. However, by the end of the session, I found myself not wanting to leave because of the support I received from my friends and, most importantly, my counselors. The year I found solace in one of my counselors again (specifically Will Mason, a Sci-Tech saff alum) after I was nervous my first night. When I heard about the Machon program, I knew immediately that I wanted to help other anxious kids in the same way I was helped. Judaism teaches us about acts of loving-kindness and the idea of “paying it forward,” or taking the kindness you receive and passing it on to others. Being a Machon is my way of paying it forward; I’ve had some great experiences here as a camper, but now it’s time for me to create those great experiences for others.
Jason: Sci-Tech has always been a safe place where I felt I could be myself. I struggled to connect with my more nerdy side as I felt forced to conform to male stereotypes such as following sports. Sci-Tech helped me accept what I actually enjoy– video and card games, mathematics, and technology. At camp, I learned how to truly become myself. After I finished my last year (10th grade), I wanted to continue coming to camp. I became a Machon because I love camp so much and I wanted to give back to this wonderful, accepting community. Sci-Tech has given me so much, it is time for me to do my part, and to help younger kids discover who they are like I did.