As the summer season approaches, our camp eagerly anticipates the arrival of international staff from all corners of the globe. We have staff arriving from Great Britain, Hungary, Poland, Germany, Slovakia, Israel, Mexico, and New Zealand. With almost 60 international staff members, we are able to create an educational environment that welcomes new perspectives and traditions. Part of my portfolio as Assistant Director is to hire our summer staff, which gives me a unique opportunity to get to know them prior to the summer and watch them become a part of our community throughout their time at camp.

The cultural exchange that occurs at camp is truly remarkable. Campers have the opportunity to foster a deep appreciation for the world beyond their own borders. Whether it’s learning a traditional Hungarian dance, sampling Israeli foods, or learning new words in different languages, our campers are exposed to a wealth of new experiences that broaden their horizons and ignite their curiosity.

Last summer was our largest international staff delegation yet and the opportunities and experiences, for both our campers and staff members, were the best I have seen. A memory that has stuck with me is an evening program from our Niviim unit- International Night. The unit heads and counselors worked hard to make each camper their own passport and set up stations around the space for each country. Campers then visited each “country” to participate in an activity and learn about their counselors’ home countries before receiving a “stamp” on their passport. This program was so successful that we are using it as the foundation for a new camp-wide program this summer! Campers shared their new found appreciation for cultures around the world and our international staff loved getting to share their roots with our community.

However, the journey to camp is not without its challenges for our international staff. Adjusting to a new country, culture, and environment can be daunting, especially for those who are far from home for the first time (which is most). That’s why we rely on the support of our incredible camp families and community to help welcome our international staff members upon their arrival to the United States.

This year, we have two international staff hospitality initiatives and are asking our GFC community for help in making them happen. The first is creating welcome bags with items that will help our staff feel more comfortable during their time in Texas. These bags will include items such as bug spray, sunscreen, snacks, outlet adapter, and more. We hope that by providing these items, our new international community will feel welcomed and appreciated. You can help support this initiative by visiting our Amazon wish list here and purchasing items or gift cards to fill the bags. We will be putting bags together in the days leading up to our staff’s arrival and ask that you purchase your gifts by Monday, May 20.

Our second goal is to provide our international guests a warm and supportive environment where they can acclimate to their new surroundings or spend time during their days off- this is where you come in! Become a Host Family– we are looking for multiple families to provide transportation around town and housing for two nights in the Dallas area pre-camp (we are hoping to have these Host Families set in the next 2 weeks). During the summer, we are also looking for possible host families in various cities for days off and intersession. From sharing your favorite restaurants, telling camp stories, and bringing them to the Holy Grail (WALMART!), the bond between our international staff and their host families is a cornerstone of their summer experience.

If you are able to and want to support our international staff and make a difference in the lives of young people, we invite you to sign up as a Host Family or help create our welcome bags, or both! By opening your home and your heart to international staff members or providing the items to help them adjust to life in Bruceville, you’ll not only help them feel at home in a new country but also enrich your own life and play an integral part in making camp a success this summer.

Join us in making Summer 2024 a success, and together, let’s make memories that will last a lifetime.

Shabbat Shalom,
Shira Karp and The Greene Team