Tonight’s Hanukkah Blog Post was written by Gabe Kopit, a long-time GFC camper and Summer staff member, and our Year-Round Events Host.

Standing on top of the alpine tower as a twelve year old, I felt like I was standing on top of the world. I had attempted to beat the tower since I was seven, and the bitter taste of defeat lingered in my mouth for those five years. At twelve, I stood, unsure of my abilities. The ropes course director at the time, Sean Passes, quietly coached me, psyching me up until I was ready to take on the challenge once again. Hand over foot, muscles straining, I made my way up the tower. When my hand crossed the threshold of the top of the tower, I found myself exhaling a breath I hadn’t even realized I was holding.  When I finally reached the top, the feeling of accomplishment was like nothing I had ever experienced.

Standing above the entirety of camp, the gorgeous rolling hills of Texas spreading in front of you, it’s a momentous moment, this accomplishment of physicality and bravery, rewarded with an incredible feeling.  The memory of Sean hyping me up looms large in my memory, and as I light the candles during this festival of lights, I think about him and the other role models from my time at camp that taught me to push myself through things that scared me – knowing that the more impossible something seems, the sweeter the reward.

I was the ropes course director last year, and I will be again this coming year. I love getting to hype up campers making their first attempt up the tower, and encouraging those who need a few attempts.  This Hanukkah season, here’s to all those who act as a light for campers growing through their time at camp – may we all be so lucky to have those lights in our life, and to act as that light for others.