On Friday, July 10 at our 40th reunion, GFC gave out Chai Awards to those who have made a deep impact on our camp community.  Here is the second set of statements from our Chai Award winners on their time at camp, and its effect on their lives.  


There is a brick in the (new) court yard that reads, “Something went terribly right for us.” It’s the brick purchased with my wife, who I met during GFC’s 30th anniversary summer as we served as unit heads, co-Macabia leads and best friends. We saved each other seats in the Chadar Ochel during lunch, we traded to have “super O.D.” together, we made sure to order Katie’s Custard for the each other when one of us was still dealing with a camper issue. We fell in love the only way you can at camp–completely. Ten years ago, Abby and I stood in Washington Square Park in the West Village romantically, and perhaps a bit nauseatingly, discussing our yet-to-be-real plans for the rest of our lives together and said plainly, “The kids are going to Greene.” And now we are back with our child for his first summer experience at Greene, and he’ll be back in 2025 as a camper. Thanks GFC.



I come from the generation of kids in our region that began the chant “we want a camp’!  While GFC came along a few years too late for me, Susan and I are so grateful that GFC has been such an important part of our children’s’ lives.  Both Sammi and Ben have been campers and staff here, made the best friends of their lives here, and have developed strong Jewish identities because of the programming and environment here.   GFC is in fact their second home.

As the current camp committee chair and together as parents we feel blessed that we have been able to serve on our camp committee and understand the importance of giving back to something that has had such an impact in our lives.   It is with tremendous respect that we thank Loui and all those who have served in staff leadership positions as well as all those whom we serve alongside as camp committee members for all they do to create the magic that is GFC.




It all started on November 2006 when I sent my résumé to the summer shlichim program of the Jewish Agency for Israel. Summer 2007 is when my journey started. I started as a Bonim counselor and a ropes course specialist, I was a kibbutz counselor, NFTY in Israel counselor, Avodah counselor and kibbutz unit head for past 4 summers. In between the summers I spent one year as a long term shlicha serving temple Beth El in San Antonio and GFC.  This journey was not easy. There were many struggles thru the years- the language for example was a very hard one to pass…my first summer all of the summer I was saying consesssssss instead of consequences. Another hard challenge I got to face was all the Jewish stuff that are going around camp. Camp was the first place I met with all this Jewishness! At first I couldn’t stop criticizing what I was seeing but then thru the years I started to ask questions, understand, participate and even started to enjoy all of this Jewishness. Being a Jew started to have a meaning for me.

This is my 8th summer here at Greene Family Camp. I’ve been thru a lot in this past years…I got to meet and follow a great group of kids that I had the honor to be part of their growing up process. I got to educate a few people about Israel- a great place I like to call home. I got to know Judaism and have a self meaning to this wonderful thing. I got to watch my kids becoming adults, and watch them passing their knowledge on to their kids. I got to bring my own family here so they- or may I say he will understand a bit from I what I have experience the past 8 years. I am lucky, because I got the opportunity to grow up on camp just like all of you here, I got to learn about myself, who I am and what I want to do with my life. I got to be part of this family.


For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Chelsea Gilman Adland.  I wish I could be here, but I just had a daughter 2 weeks ago today, and she’s not quite old enough to visit camp… or anywhere really.


Greene has always been a special place for me.  As a young camper, I remember the excitement of learning the songs, the surprise of Maccabiah, the joy in new activities, picking out my white clothes for Shabbat, and looking up to my cool counselors.  When I became a counselor in 2000, I was grateful for the chance to make a difference in the lives of other young campers. I enjoyed helping them make their own memorable moments.  My campers and I always took the opportunity to be as creative as we could imagine, and developed our own new camp traditions along the way.  As a staff member, I met people who remain among my closest friends today, and I learned skills that I still use at work and home.  When I became a counselor, I knew it would be fun to join the staff, but I had no idea I’d return to camp for so many years.  I eventually became an Assistant Director and spent time at camp year round.  Driving those golf carts never got old.


Now as a new parent, I think a lot about my daughter Charlotte’s future.  I’m so excited to share this camp with her someday.  Just like my parents did with me, I look forward to bringing her to family retreats, dropping her off for her first summer, and watching her discover the magic of GFC.


Camp has played such a special role in my family, and I’m so honored to receive this award – thank you!



Greene Family Camp Doctor I became,

As someone told me it was quite tame,

By the first summer here,

I can say with good cheer,

That someone I now with lying blame!


The things I have seen over the years,

Have brought me both laughter and some tears,

Through all of the drama,

The heartaches and trauma,

The message of camp life is quite clear.


The kinship of campers is so warm,

The care from staff is always top form,

I know Greene is the place,

Where we all can gain space,

It gives us a respite from the storm.


I am more humbled than you could know,

With this award to me you all show,

Camp gives more than it gets,

And as this day’s sun sets,

I’ll cherish time here in its last glow.



I love the old traditions and the new traditions of camp. It feels a little strange to be in the group of people who can reminisce about how GFC used to be, but there are some things that remain the same. My first summer in Bonim our bunk was Yahel and during menucha I could look at the window of what was then cabin M, over the shortcut, and watch the bulldozers working on the dam for Lake Jake. My second summer was the Chai reunion, the first reunion, and my team won Maccabiah. I love the newer traditions at camp too — I remain pleased to have beaten Loui to be the first person to ride the Zip Line. Some of my traditions are very personal: On long drives I occasionally find myself rehearsing the pitch for camp which is what  I used to do when I was Assistant Director driving to visit synagogues across Texas and Oklahoma. Once in a while when I leave my house I catch myself subconsciously checking my belt for my big camp key chain and radio. And on special occasions the way the moonlight shines brings me back to a staff night-climb on the Alpine Tower.

But as much as I love the traditions part of camp, my favorite thing about camp is the people. The mixture of urban and rural synagogues that make up our region is very special. I feel deeply indebted to the foresight of the Greenes and the other camp founders who built a camp in a part of the world where we need a respite, and sometimes a refuge, for Jewish children. I once ran into Arnold Miller vacuuming the chadar ochelbecause his commitment to the building did not end when we dedicated a plaque with his name on it. As a Jew from Oklahoma, shabbat tefillah at camp was the largest gathering of Jews that I had ever seen until I went to Israel.

Now I have camp friends from all over the world — my bunkmates, co-counselors, my campers, and the full-time camp staff. I became friends with Max, the best man at my wedding, on Garin Greene, and I met my wife, Robin, because David Berkman set us up… when we were staff at NFTY Convention.  As I write this, I am sitting in a room in my house that I call the moadon and I am wearing a Kfar Saba basketball t-shirt that I got in a trade with Omer. My son is the same age as Anat’s son who lives in Tel Aviv and sometimes I daydream about our children meeting as young adults and becoming friends during ropes course training. I’d like camp to raise my son, too.

I love Greene Family Camp.



In 1977, I was 10 years old and I remember after walking around this camp for the first time, my parents helped unpack, said goodbye and watched my parents leave. I remember being a little scared. I was sitting alone on my bunk, realizing I didn’t know anyone. Just then, my counselor, David Labens, sat with me and said, “Don’t worry, you are going to have the best time of your life!” A few moments later, in walked my first bunkmate, Ted Ritter. I remember and mention these two people specifically because they have become lifelong friends. David currently lives in San Antonio and Ted is now a Rabbi in San Francisco. I live in Austin. It doesn’t matter. We are still great friends to this day.

I basically grew up at GFC and made hundreds of friends along the way while experiencing everything GFC has to offer: Kibbutz, Avodah, Garin Greene, (let’s not forget TOFTY as well) and finally, becoming a Counselor and Specialist myself. I can still remember the moment my GFC journey came full circle. When I became a counselor, I noticed a young camper sitting warily alone. I sat next to him and explained to him what a wonderful summer he was about to have! It’s amazing to me how close so many of us still are after all these years. I’ve been fortunate the last few years to come back as a faculty member to teach arts and crafts, and give back to GFC with my graphic design work. Times change, but the friendships remain. That’s what GFC is about to me: the hundreds of genuine friendships I have made here and continue to make.