Hi y’all! My name is Shira Karp, and I am one of the new Assistant Directors at GFC. I am looking forward to meeting and working with so many amazing GFC families. You, like me, may be wondering how I became one of the Assistant Directors. Let’s rewind to the year 2000.
2000- My first time on camp. My parents were assisting a NFTY advisor and were at camp for Spring Kallah. I guess you could say this is where my time on camp really began, but I don’t remember this year, because I was not even 1, so let’s flash forward to my first year as a camper.
2006- My first year as a camper I was a Bonimer. I was so excited to finally be on camp without my parents. I looked up to everyone at camp, the older kids, the counselors, the specialists, and the directors. At this time, however, everybody knew me as Lori and Jon Karp’s daughter. I had yet to make a name for myself at Greene, but somehow I knew I wanted to, so let’s flash forward to my Avodah year.
2016- My Avodah year. This summer at camp is what really amplified how much I loved camp. I was able to connect my camp friends and my NFTY friends, and spend an entire summer with them enjoying camp. We were able to experience what it was like to be a staff member, but I was also able to have fun and be a camper with all of my friends one last time. We learned together and grew together, and I was able to dig deep and find my Jewish connection I had been searching for.
2017- My first year on staff. Creating programming. Running a bunk. For the first time, I truly understood the power my actions had in creating the magic of a summer at Greene. I remember walking into my first cabin, meeting with my first co-counselor, and connecting with my first campers. I was so energized to establish my own name and path to building the camp community. Throughout this summer I fell more and more in love with camp. I knew this would not be my last summer.
2018- My second year on staff. This summer was different – I felt like a leader. I had first-year staff asking me questions about how to be a better staff member, how to run a cabin smoothly, and so on. This was also the summer I became an alufa for Maccabiah, my favorite special event at camp. I had looked up to alufim every summer since I was a camper and had dreamed of being one. Running the relay, supporting campers in their activities, and being the person for campers and staff to look up to was amazing. I was ecstatic to be chosen by my unit head as an alufa and felt confident in the name I had created for myself at camp. I became the staff member that I had always looked up to and trusted. This was all because of who I was and not because of who my family was.
2021- After a two-year hiatus of working at camp, I came back as a Camp Care specialist. This gave me the opportunity to see the behind the scenes work that goes on to get camp ready for the summer. This summer gave me experiences of working with all ages of campers and staff. I learned about elements of the holistic approach that camp takes in regards to camper and staff mental health. When the summer was coming to an end, I knew I didn’t want this to be my last summer on camp, but I also was not sure what my career choice would end up being.
2022- I had the honor of being a leadership consultant for my sorority Sigma Delta Tau: traveling around the country to different chapters and working through issues that were occurring on their campuses. I knew this job was coming to an end in May, and I was not sure what my next step was going to be. As I was debating what jobs to apply for, the job of Assistant Director opened up. It almost felt like fate that in the moment where my future felt uncertain, the place that helped me find my identity as a leader was looking for leadership. What camp kid doesn’t think that getting to work on creating camp year round is the coolest job ever? Accepting this position felt like an amazing full circle moment that I was able to have. From my parents being staff, to spending every summer of my life on camp, I am so happy that I am able to complete this circle of life that my family has helped create for me and I can’t wait to help the next generation of campers and staff members find their own identities on camp.