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. Over the next week, we will post statements from our Chai Award winners on their time at camp, and its effect on their lives. Below is the first installment.
RABBI ADAM ALLENBERG
In the summer of 2001, I met a lifelong friend in Rabbi Asher Knight, who encouraged me to see another Jewish summer camp and spend a summer at GFC, to experience the magical executive skills of songleading legend Loui Dobin. Having never spent a summer here, I was nervous and excited to enter an entirely new camp bubble, filled with people who cheer, and stomp and clap to their own Jewish drum. When I arrived at camp in June of 2002, I was partnered with Riana Sherman (né Ricklin). Though separated by miles and miles, Riana and I still share a bond that only those who have shared in caring and raising other people’s children. Together we were Momma and Poppa Avodah, and it was a wonderful summer.
When Lauren and I moved to Dallas in 2009, it was Asher and Ana who welcomed us when we got off the plane. My roots here at Greene Family Camp made it all too easy to see ourselves living in Texas. Each summer spent here, each Temple Emanu-El retreat beneath the big Texas night sky, has been a joy. To help share, in my own small way, in the creation of the new Eco-Kibbutz was a first step into a whole new arena of my career as an educator and rabbi. At each turn of my adult life, this camp has nurtured, supported and celebrated with me. I am and will always be grateful to be member of the Greene Family Camp Family. And I am overjoyed to be a part of this weekend of celebration.
It was as true this summer as in 1979 – as soon as I turn onto Smith Lane I get really excited. There is no other feeling I know like pulling into the URJ Greene Family Camp. For so many years I arrived as a camper and TOFTY-ite; then as a young staff member for TOFTY events and a few summer stints. Now I have the great privilege of bringing Anti-Defamation League (ADL) resources and programs to GFC staff. Each summer I’m thrilled to work with new and returning staff as we focus on ensuring that GFC is a place where every camper, staff member and visitor is treated with dignity and respect. I’m so proud of the GFC-ADL partnership and I’m so very honored to be the staff person who gets to bring ADL resources to camp. Mazal tov to GFC for four amazing decades of helping to create caring Jewish leaders!
I started coming to camp late in the game, my first year as a camper was 2nd year Melachim. I was immediately hooked. I continued through the ranks until what would have been my fourth year as a counselor, when I decided to stay at school to try out the real world. When it came time to graduate, I didn’t yet know what I wanted to be when I grew up, so I went someplace and safe and came back to camp for one more summer. As it turns out, camp counselor was my dream job and I’ve been recreating it outside these gates ever since.