Hi everyone. My name is Morgan Ducar and I am an Assistant Director at Greene Family Camp.
8 years ago, I arrived for my first summer on camp as a S’ganim camper. As someone who grew up in a smaller Jewish community, I had an idea of what my Jewish identity looked like, but not a full picture about what it could be. In my home community, I went to Religious School every Sunday, I went to services with my parents, and we celebrated holidays together. In the greater North Texas Jewish Community, my Judaism served as an introduction. Throughout my schooling, I was often the first Jewish person that my classmates had met. While I was never made fun of for my beliefs, I always felt disconnected because of my religion. When I arrived at camp, I really did not know what to expect. Little did 14-year-old me know that THAT summer would change my life forever.
After the Summer of 2014, I finished my time as a camper in Kibbutz. Two years later I came back as an Avodahnik (Counselor in Training) and then became a counselor for two summers. In the summer of 2021, I had the privilege of being the Shoftim Unit Head, leading to where I am today.
At camp, all our programs and activities are rooted in four values; Hineini – Presence, Kavod – Respect, Am Yisrael – The Jewish Community, and Reut – Friendship. Our counselors and specialists implement these values into the campers and the whole camp truly lives as one community. Throughout my time as a camper and a staff member, I have learned to embrace these values and would love to share with you what I have learned throughout my time at camp.
Camp taught me how to be a leader. I had the unique opportunity to join camp as an older camper. One of the messages that was conveyed from the very beginning of my camp journey was that my actions directly impact the people around me. During my time as a camper, I was put in a place to be a role model for younger campers. As a staff member, I learned to develop and lead programs and fully immerse myself in programming for the sake of myself and my campers. As a Unit Head, I was able to combine all the above experiences and present myself as a mentor and role model for my staff members to create the best summer possible.
Camp taught me that my Jewish identity and the community I surround myself matter. After camp my first summer, my Jewish identity became my own. At camp, I found that the way I connect myself with God is through music. Early on in high school, I became involved with songleading so that I could have an active part in leading the community that gave so much to me. Throughout my time in high school and in college, I became incredibly involved with my local youth group and in other Jewish organizations and further grew my love for Judaism.
Camp brought me a lifelong group of friends. I did not have a large group of Jewish friends back at home when I came to camp for the first time. When I arrived for my first summer, a boy named Gabe immediately welcomed me into camp. We had digital photography class together, both enjoyed Shabbat Brownies, and he soon became one of my closest friends. Eight years later, Gabe works at GFC as the Year-Round Host for rental groups and I have recently become an Assistant Director. Now, both of us have the opportunity to work together year-round to foster relationships like the one that brought us together in the first place.
Camp taught me how to love my genuine self. At camp, our community brings every part of themselves. We share each other’s triumphs and weaknesses. For me, camp is a place where I learned that, no matter what version of myself I brought to the table, I would be openly accepted by my community.
As we head into this summer, I look forward to continuing shaping the way that camp instills these lessons to future generations of campers and promoting our inclusive environment to foster lifelong friendships and mutual respect.
I am excited to see you all this summer!