A Work of Art

  • Four walls, wooden rafters, a big porch on the outside and hundreds of campers in and out throughout the periods of the day – our Arts & Crafts building is one of our most well lived-in, and well-loved, spaces at camp. It’s a place that tells a story of creativity and discovery, covered in a layer of paint, dusted in glitter and put on the shelf to display for many years to come. Every summer requires the right materials to produce a masterpiece. The unparalleled support of the most committed staff I have ever worked with, the unmatched energy and spirit of our campers, and a pallet of activity, excitement and fun at our disposal. Camp is our canvas, and we are lucky to get each summer to paint and learn and grow, and each day to sketch and explore and even start a new project, and often times, enhance an existing one.

    The fabric of our community is sisterhood. We try out new materials to encourage our curiosity. Experience failure on the tennis courts and during a nature period and maybe even at the pool, but through that we pick one another up, and we turn back to the drawing board where we learn resilience, build self-confidence and learn the skills we need to move on and grow together. The finish product of a summer spent away looks different for every camper and even for every summer. You can have the same colorful memories and tie them together in the same exact way and each season will still have a different feel, a different look and new memories. Tie-dying a shirt, no matter how much you plot and plan, always has an element of surprise. We bunch and twist the fabric, sign up for electives and plan our evenings with bunkmates, hoping for the perfect outcome and while it may not exactly what we pictured, the end result is always a masterpiece. I’m a big believer that every tie dye comes out exactly how it was intended, just like each summer is the perfect portrait of what it was meant to be.

    Time as a bunk is always the common thread that ties a summer together. Different days, like different stitches, weave together the same way bracelets made for one another adorn our wrists and tell a story of friendship and kindness. Every friendship bracelet tells a story. The twists and turns aren’t bumps in the road but instead give us more texture, more depth and result in a stronger bond and higher quality relationship. No friendship bracelet is perfect, but the time that goes into making one produces something we proudly wear for the other ten months of the year, and the same can be said about the lessons we learn at camp. Friendship, and friendship bracelets, are reminder of a summer well spent, with friends you will always stick with you, tied to your wrist like a tether to the shores of Lake Oldham.

    And then there’s the glue that holds it all together. The finishing touch on a collage filled with memories and highlights from our week. Sara taking pictures during ukulele class because she “wants to remember this moment forever”. Sydney and Lily sharing some of their homemade riddles with members of the leadership team. Bunk 2A establishing their rock painting company – their own works of art for sale in exchange for gum. Random hugs from some of our youngest campers. Watching as bunkmates encourages one another to step off the zip line platform at Urban Air. The smiles and looks of awe on Gabby and Talia’s faces as they discovered that lightening bugs weren’t just made up. Starting a new Saturday evening tradition with Havdallah in the horseshoe in pajamas. Penelope making her very strong case to be switched into the Jewish cooking elective, despite missing the window for changes. The looks of pure joy on the faces of our campers as they discovered who their big and little sisters are. Arms slung over our best friends as we watched the fireworks at Gillette Stadium. Every day was filled with moments that, as a staff member, or in this case, an artist, make us take a step back and just admire the work and beauty of camp.

    For new campers, they have already found a place they belong, a pattern to follow here at camp, and the support and creativity to own their experience and create something beautiful. For those who have been here before, they have jumped right back into their camp routine, picked up that paintbrush and have continued as though they never left. And when you pick your child up in two weeks and your 9-year-old daughter has tears streaming down her face at the thought of leaving this perfect place, know how special it is that your child found a sisterhood and that she now has a home at a little camp, in a sleepy Massachusetts town that will always be hers.

    Crafting the ideal summer away at a sleep away camp is something that takes time, boundless energy, careful attention, and relentless passion. Campers, counselors and senior staff all have the same commitment to the same goal: a fantastic camp experience. No matter if it’s for 2 weeks, 3.5 or 7 weeks, the same vision, attention, time and creativity goes into producing a true work of art and a one of a kind camp experience. Camp can get messy, but it’s fun and it’s wild and it’s beautiful, and all it takes is for us to roll up our sleeves and jump into the crazy and embrace the beauty.

    Shabbat shalom!

    Love,

    Becca

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