Rabbi Kelly Levy is a beloved Alumna of GFC, and we are so happy to share her story with you.
In 1994, my family drove through the old gates of Greene Family Camp to drop off my sister and me for a summer of fun, Jewish learning and an opportunity to make incredible memories. As a Bonim camper, I had the privilege of staying in cabin X, a trailer-turned-cabin used only one summer, the summer of 1994. While the newest bunks were in the process of being built, GFC’s youngest lived in an actually quite spacious house on wheels. We dined in the Chadar Ochel, the building right next to the Moadon, across the courtyard which overlooked the lower level pool. My counselors made me feel so welcome and cool, even though I wore white shorts AND a white shirt on Shabbat, a huge fashion faux pas. I started dozens of lanyards, but never finished even 1. I learned the words to Birkat Hamazon, Debbie Friedman song after Debbie Friedman song, and I watched in awe as Loui played guitar behind his head. Along with my fellow new campers, we learned the best bunk cheers and asked which table had spirit over and over during meals. I sat in wonder looking at the gorgeous sunset as we welcomed Shabbat from the Beit Kenesset. And, unlike some of my fellow bunk mates, the twinges of homesickness never hit me; I felt completely at home as soon as we entered those gates.
Now, 25 years later, I have the privilege of serving as faculty for the opening week of Session I. This is my 17th summer here, second as faculty, and that same special feeling I had before came over me as I entered the now electronic gates: I am home. Of course, camp has changed fairly drastically over the years. The Chadar Ochel is one of the first buildings you see once you enter camp. The lake is actually swimmable and filled with various floating obstacles and games. The newly built Performing Arts Center stands where the alpine tower once looked over the entire expanse of this special place. The recently renovated cabins look fresh and homey with expanded walls and bright paint.
But even though much of the physical characteristics of camp have changed over the past 25 years, some things remain the same. Song session is filled with ruach (spirit), tables in the Chadar Ochel still ask who has spirit, life-long friendships are formed every day, campers and counselors connect deeply with their Jewish identity, and the sunset over the Beit Kenesset remains as gorgeous as ever.
Personally, the most incredible part of camp this year was bringing my 2 year old daughter with me to experience the magic of GFC. Nothing fills my heart and soul more than knowing that she will also feel completely at home in this special place, my own home away from home. L’dor V’dor, from generation to generation, Greene Family Camp continues to make memories and amazing experiences for all of those who enter the front gates.