Dear Mom and Dad,

michaels blog 1Wow! My week at camp was so busy. I am so glad that you sent me to Greene Family Camp and thanks again for the letter from home. Lots of people questioned why I was going to camp as a 50+ adult and nobody could figure out how I was going to spend my time, but it was sooo much fun!

My week started out by helping with Opening Day. Greeting all of the campers and their parents on the early arrival field is always lots of fun, but because I stayed a bit longer, I got to jump in the pool with Stefani, Loui, and the Assistant Directors. If you’ve been to the GFC website, you might have seen me in the Opening Day video.

This year’s new project is the refurbished Art Room and the new STEM Lab. It was exciting to help finalize the setup of these two rooms early in the week as we prepped for the campers’ activities. I even got to make use of these new areas: I made a lanyard for my niece Paige (Shorashim) and helped launch rockets during Shabbat afternoon free time. Unfortunately, my rocket didn’t fare too well. It turns out that rocket science is hard!

michaels blog 2But I’m getting ahead of myself. One of the things Loui asked me to help with was some IT work around camp. Don’t tell anybody, but it really wasn’t that much work, but the Leadership Team was very appreciative that I helped get their printer working again.

It was really nice getting to spend time with the faculty, both with new friends I met for the first time and with friends I’ve known for years (note: not “old” friends). This started with the faculty welcome party at Loui and Sheila’s house at the beginning of the week and culminated with the faculty dinner at a Thai restaurant in Temple Saturday night.

michael ropesOf course, what would camp be like without the typical “camp” activities. I spentmichael lanyard some time in the pool and I never miss an opportunity to swim in Lake Jake. There was the camp fire and Havdallah and lots of just hanging out with friends. GFC has a great challenge course and I’ve already done most of the activities, but I haven’t done the Diamond Course. Luckily for me, there was an evening event planned for the staff Saturday night and I was able to do the full circuit. This was an amazing experience: very difficult, but very rewarding to have completed. Thanks to the wonderful challenge course staff for their support and encouragement Saturday night. You know who you are!

I have to admit that I have a little bit of “insider” access, so I was able to sneak into a couple of staff meetings. I didn’t really learn any big secrets (like the location of the underground roller coaster), but I did observe that this year’s staff is really working well together. They seem so comfortable, as though they have been working together for years.

Shabbat was really special. Of course, I enjoyed the fact that y’all visited me and brought Liz and Kevin with you. But what you didn’t get to see was the D’var Torah I gave Saturday at Shabbat morning services. I lucked out that I was at camp when they decided to honor Rabbi Ana Bonnheim who is leaving GFC (boo hoo) to go to North Carolina with her husband Rabbi Asher Knight who will be the new Senior Rabbi in Charlotte. Participating in the service that honored her was very special; I will miss her but know that the two of them will always be connected to GFC. Finishing Shabbat with Havdalah at the camp fire is always meaningful and moving.

It’s funny, because it seemed like my visit at camp was perfect timing in so many ways. As you know, I am a big Mazon supporter. It just so happened that my week at camp overlapped with a visit by one of the Mazon staff members, Liz Braun, who ran a program for Kohanim and Shoftim. The kids really connected with her and really enjoyed the program.

Michael parentsSo, what’s left? I stopped by a few evening programs, did a little bit of camp committee work, and burst right through my daily “steps” goal! There’s never enough menucha and I didn’t have time to get up to Kibbutz. I can’t believe how busy I was, especially because nobody could figure out how I was going to spend my time.

GFC continues to be magic. Thanks for letting me go!