By Gabriel Cohen

Sci-Tech was not the camp I grew up at. I only came here one session of one summer and not again for a while. Back in 2018, I returned as a Machon (counselor-in-training), and that summer back was magical. I got to learn so much about the way camp operates and how we as staff do everything in our power to shape an environment where campers feel like this is their home.

We help make campers their truest, happiest, best selves. That was all fantastic. What never occurred to me until only recently is that the welcoming kindness of camp not only applies to campers but also staff.

Other staff would come up to me and talk about how they remember me from the one summer I was first here. They would share advice and stories on how to improve myself and be the best counselor possible.

Most of all, I remember one event in particular: It was the last TECHTalks of the summer, and the head of the Machonikim, Tess Levinson, was giving a presentation about me and my fellow participants. During the talk, she showed pictures of all of us as campers, including one of the only pictures of me as a camper.

Mind you, I was very camera shy when it was taken, so this must have been a real search. In that moment of joy at seeing my silly grin and even sillier shirt, I felt like I had always been here.

I didn’t come for one session of one summer but for every summer I had ever been to camp. In a single instant, Sci-Tech became my home forever.