Chag sameach! Simchat Torah is a celebration of the Torah-reading cycle as we conclude Deuteronomy and begin Genesis once again. When we read the Torah each year, the text and the stories are still the same. However, the lens in which we read these stories based on gained life experiences changes from year to year. This gives us a new opportunity.

Similarly to Simchat Torah, summer camp is a cycle. While have been many changes to our program over the 45 years of camp, the core of camp is still the same. Every year, we live Jewishly centered around our core values of reut (friendship), kavod (respect), am Yisrael (Jewish peoplehood), and hineini (presence). We build Jewish community, forming relationships with Jewish peers and role models from all over the world. We have fun Jewishly, participating in different activities filled with Jewish learning. We eat Jewishly, starting and ending every meal with joyful prayer. While the people, buildings, and specific activities might change over generations of camp, the experience and stories of camp continue to have the same themes.

As scholars of Torah, we are able to learn and study Torah in different ways as we age: becoming bar or bat mitzvah, joining study groups, and engaging in meaningful conversation. As our campers continue into older units, they earn privileges that make their camp experience more unique: having more free time with k’far time, diving deeper into an activity area with a gadol or intensive, living in more exclusive areas of camp, and spending more time build a kehillah kedoshah (holy community) on the ropes course.

As campers and staff return to camp year after year, the details of camp change and evolve. However, the core of our program always remains the same: creating a fun, safe, educational friend-filled environment that teaches and practices Judaism. What new lens will you bring to the next chapter of your GFC journey?

-McKenzie Sigle