Tonight’s Hanukkah blog post was written by Makaela Cooper, a 2021 first-time camper!

I had a long journey from Hawaii to Texas to attend GFC, and the light and joy that GFC brought into my life was amazing. Greene Family Camp has brought so much light and happiness to me that Maui could never have. Greene Family Camp was my first sleep-away camp, but I can already tell that it will remain in my life for years to come as my childhood and maybe part of my adulthood summer home.  When I got to camp this summer, I was scared and nervous, because the only people I knew there were my sister and my cousin.  

During the first week of camp, I was really nervous. I thought I wouldn’t fit in with anyone.  That, however, is where the best part about welcoming everyone comes in. Not only my cabin, but the whole Shoftim unit and camp as a whole were so welcoming. Everyone is trying to get to know everyone. No one judges you, and it is a community of people that you can truly be YOU around. When we didn’t know how to do something, we taught each other, and we celebrated our accomplishments with everyone. 

I miss everything about camp. Some of the things were hard and challenging, and others were the fun and exhilarating things we did together. The thing I miss the most about camp is the people. My cabin was so amazing and welcoming. We laughed and sang our way through camp.  The tears I had as I was scared to go to sleep away camp turned into tears of sadness when I had to leave my amazing friends and camp behind for the school year. As we started to pack up to leave camp at the end of the summer, I began to appreciate how much light GFC brought to my life. Even now, I have sad days because I miss my camp friends. Now, I think, “Wow, next summer I will get to be one of the people welcoming first-year campers! And I will get to run up to my friends and see them in person for the first time in almost all a year.”

This year, the Shoftim unit has kept up with each other, and we celebrate things such as Chanukah together. I am so happy with my camp experience and I am excited for my future experiences at GFC.