July 4th, 2020 was supposed to be GFC’s 45th Anniversary Reunion Celebration. Almost 1,000 people would have arrived in Bruceville, TX to reconnect with one another, reminisce on the good times spent at camp, and celebrate the magic we have all experienced. However, July 4th looked a little different than we had anticipated. We were not able to be together in person – but our alumni showed us, that just because we are apart physically, the strength in our connection is stronger than ever.
On July 3rd, we welcomed Shabbat together as a camp community. We hugged each other virtually, sang our favorite camp songs, and shared memories about why GFC is so special to each of us. We are excited to share comments from our Alumni about what has made GFC such a special place for the last 45 years.
(Our Virtual Group Hug)
What makes GFC special to YOU?
The question of what makes camp special has about two million answers for me. But when it comes down to it, there is really only one answer, and that is the people. The people who make camp feel like home, accept you for who you are, teach you how to be Jewish in ways that matter, dance with you during song session, laugh with you until you cry, and cry with you before getting on the bus. The people are what make the magic and the people are what make it home. Thank you to all my camp people for making it special for me and my family.
GFC has always been a place where I could be Jewish without fear. A place I could let the outside world pressures go, and a place where I didn’t have to “put on a face.” It’s a place that will remain a safe haven and a second home that cares not where I’ve been or where I’m going, but a place that cares where I am, in the moment.
The physical camp is a special place, full of memories, but it’s MY lifelong friends, and my Kids’ lifelong friends that keep it close in my heart! If I could, I would escape the “real world” right now, and just wait all of this out at camp!
Greene is special to me, because it gave me the courage and space to gain confidence and skills that set me for life. Camp is also the place where I met the best community of people who showered me with acceptance, love, and laughter. Camp is the place where I feel most like myself. My favorite area on camp is the campfire, as it is the place where we eat s’mores, listen to “lean on me” while swaying with your best friends, dance, usher in a new week, and say hello and goodbye to a summer.
What makes GFC special is the people. One of the first things Loui said to me was that “Family is our middle name.” He was *so* right.
For me, there are unlimited extraordinary memories and millions of rare and special moments. Camp, the physical place, brings me immense peace, the greatest Shabbat. After thinking about Camp, the community, and all the words to describe it, my best description is just “love.”
Camp was always my place to escape the outside world. We created a community that one can only understand by experiencing it.
Camp is special to me because every day at camp is special. There is nowhere else where I can live and work with my friends for a purpose that is bigger than each of us individually. My favorite campfire song is hallelujah and whenever I listen to it I think of all of the amazing campfires I have shared with my friends and campers!
GFC is my childhood, it was the opportunity learn different life skills in safe space: compassion, teamwork, cooperation, communication, perseverance, problem-solving, leadership, and more with genuine friendships 🙂
Camp was the saving grace of my childhood – having someplace to go to be more fully me and to receive a lot of what I wasn’t getting at home – camp remains glimmering in my heart and one of my biggest regrets was not returning for more summers!
I look back fondly on the years at GFC where I learned to become more independent, develop my own identity, make friends and a community. It’s still amazing seeing people, even virtually, from decades ago!
Camp is a place where you can escape the “real” world and be immersed in friendship, learning and love. The friends you make are lifelong friends, the learning you receive will enable you to become successful in your life and leaders in the community, and the love you feel – well that is self-explanatory!
Camp is special to me because it feels so comforting, yet new at the same time. I feel at home as I drive through the front gate, and also look forward to all of the new experiences. I have created life-long friendships and memories and will always have a special place in my heart for GFC
Greene Family Camp is where I learned to be me. Camp is my home away from home. Returning to camp is always like a family reunion, you pick up right where you left off. I always cherished being able to be open and honest with anyone you meet at camp. The laughter, the love, and the family. My favorite campfire song is Cats in the Cradle. When I decided to become a songleader, this was the first song I knew I needed to learn to play.
As someone who was never a camper, GFC became a place to call my second home when I first stepped onto camp in 2016 and gave me a special family through all the amazing staff, Israelis, campers that I’ve had the absolute pleasure of working with the past 5 summers.
Too many special moments; all of my campers, my dear friends who I work with, laughed with, prayed with, studied with, sang with, and danced with, my 2 trips to Israel (just counselors in ’79 and the first Garin Greene in ’85), Kibbutz ’83, the drive from Houston to Bruceville, the numerous TOFTY events and religious school weekends, the heat waves and floods, the late night kitchen raids, and so many more.
GFC is special to me because the people who I met there and got to know better there have become my family. I am always amazed at the deep friendships that can be made at camp over just a weekend or just one summer. I am very lucky to have gotten to spend 6 summers on staff at GFC and 3 on camp as a camper. Truly a blessing. My favorite place on camp is the lake!