I first came to Greene Family Camp in the late 1980s, when there was only one pool with a gigantic high dive, horseback riding for pretty much anyone, an infirmary that was basically a trailer (at least that’s how I remember it), and a tiny shack that was “Mercaz Ivrit” stuck awkwardly between two trees. Over the years, a building was added here, one taken away there, and then there was an upper pool and a lower pool, and a permanent infirmary. I’ll never forget the summer the Teatron complex was built – it was so shiny and new and, I might add, the very nicest bathrooms on camp (and yes, we would go very far out of our way to use those bathrooms). Some of my fondest memories both as a camper and staff member are of the plays we would put on in drama gadol on the first real stage on camp.
This summer as I drove into my home away from home to drop off my daughter for her first summer in Bonim and begin my faculty week, I was greeted by a giant and unfamiliar building. The new Performing Arts Center – beautifully built – changes the look and feel of camp when coming through the gates. I love theater and love even more when our campers have the chance to build confidence and leadership skills and connect with Judaism through the performing arts, but change is hard, and I wasn’t too sure how I felt about yet another change to that magical drive through the camp gates.
I often imagine Loui as this construction mastermind, sitting behind his desk, coffee close at hand, computer screens on all sides of him, pouring over blueprints and madly drawing new buildings with crazy innovations and top of the line materials in various places on the paper. And though the image makes me chuckle, I know what he’s doing. I know the end goal. He is doing this for the longevity of camp. He is doing this so that as my children try out their hand at confidence and leadership and Jewish connection, they don’t have to worry about which are the nicest bathrooms on camp or whether the infirmary sits on cinder blocks or a foundation. Even more than that, he does this so that camp and all that it holds will still be around for my children’s children to enjoy.
Kelly Clarkson, in her song, “A Moment Like This,” reminds us that, “everything changes, but beauty remains.” As I drove through the gates this year, I was reminded that camp is no longer about what worked for me or where my fondest memories exist. Even though I can’t see the high dive anymore, I will never forget what it felt like to fall through the sky and hit the water. Even though the drive into the gate feels different, changes, the beauty of camp remains, present for each of our generations.