By Marjorie Vaughn
Growing up in the South, I was the only Jewish girl my age in the entire city. Summer camp was one of the ways I connected to my Judaism. I still to this day get the “warm fuzzies” when I hear certain Hebrew tunes, see anything from the Israeli scouts, or hear camp friend names. It makes me smile, thinking about the fun we had, the fun I had, and that everyone was just like me – Jewish.
Once I became a parent, I knew my children would attend Jewish summer camp. I wanted them to have the same “warm fuzzy” memories that I had myself. We had to try a few camps. Every time I sent one of them to a new camp, I would wait with bated breath. Would this be the one that spoke to them like camp had spoken to me? Or would this be another camp to put on the list of ones that were just not the right fit?
Three years ago this past week, I got an e-letter from my child thanking me for sending him to Sci-Tech. He talked during my younger son’s Bar Mitzvah speech about how much he loved camp and how one day he wanted to be on staff. I thought I had accomplished my goal – my child loved camp.
This past January as I registered him for camp, he told me he didn’t want to go. He was having a hard time transitioning back to school and life in a new COVID world. He wanted to go, but he also didn’t want to be away from his family for so long. He was conflicted. We brainstormed communication we could set up with the camp to make him feel comfortable and safe. He said he would only come to camp if he could call me every day, and I knew that wouldn’t work well in the flow of the camp day.
So, I reached out to camp to see if there was any way I could come to camp as a volunteer; to my surprise and delight, Sci-Tech said yes!
This session, both my son and I are at camp. I now see why this camp spoke to both my child and many of the other children here: Sci-Tech is a special place. They don’t have the same songs or activities as my camp experience, but it has what is so important – all the Jewish “warm fuzzies.”
Thank you for being the camp that gives that feeling to my child.