The Sci-Tech Council at 10 – Looking Back to the Future

Over its 10 year history, Sci-Tech’s Camp Council has had three chairs. Here are each of their reflections as they look back:

Abby Fisher (2013 – 2018): The Sci-Tech council really began in January 2013 in the URJ offices of New York City. The URJ convened a meeting of a wide variety of folks who were involved in the camp world and in some aspect of math or science. It was partly a brainstorming session and partly a support group. We discussed what this thing that was to become Sci-Tech would look like—would it be a summer school? (No.) What activities might they do? What values would it teach? We also discussed how much we would have wanted to attend this camp had it been around when we were kids. Two of the people at that meeting are still involved with Sci-Tech—me and Rabbi Dan Medwin, who has gone from council member to co-director.

After that meeting, the council formed—first I was asked to chair the council, and soon afterward, we began to add members. From March 2013 to the opening of Sci-Tech in June 2014, and even thereafter, we did whatever we needed to help camp’s birth and early growth—we recruited campers and staff, we visioned with staff on what we thought camp might look like, we represented camp at camp fairs and parlor meetings, and we directed traffic on opening day.  

The council provided whatever Sci-Tech needed, and that’s what we still do today. 

Mike Marion (2018 – 2021): I knew our camp had something special during Opening Day of our second summer. As part of the first day welcome program, our director, Greg Kellner, was asking our returning campers about our core Sci-Tech values. Not only were our campers able to recite our values from memory, but they discussed how they had used those values in their everyday lives. It showed how Sci-Tech was a transformative place for our campers on a personal level.

The only time I was worried about the future of Sci-Tech was Spring 2020, when we made the heartbreaking decision to close camp for the summer due to COVID-19. But in hindsight, I shouldn’t have been nervous. Our community came together to build an exceptional online camp where we could grow together, even if we could not physically be together. The spirit of Sci-Tech truly extends far beyond the grounds of Governor’s Academy with a kinship that spans the whole world.

Michele Metsch (2021 – Present): I am so honored to follow Abby and Mike as Chair of the Sci-Tech Camp Council. I find so much meaning in working with our directors, Jayme Dale and Rabbi Dan and our council throughout the year to help support camp.

Celebrating our 10th summer is a very exciting and important achievement. This summer is our chance to honor and remember all we have accomplished in these 10 years, and it represents a turning point for Sci-Tech. We are no longer a start-up camp! We have established ourselves as unique in the camping world: high quality science and technology programming intertwined with Jewish values and ritual. Now the work of the council turns to sustaining our camp for the generations to come.

We want to establish our alumni networks and foster a life-long connection to Sci-Tech. We see a future where we see the children and grandchildren of our early campers come back to Byfield to experience a summer of discovery and connections. Moreover, we want to foster a culture of philanthropy to continue to support innovative and important initiatives like our MESSH (Mental Emotional Social and Spiritual Health) program, advancing our workshops, and making sure that financial constraints do not interfere with a camper’s ability to experience the joy and wonder of camp.

I’m looking forward to continuing this work of our Camp Council and to seeing Sci-Tech flourish into its next decade.