Camp Pembroke, We Raise Our Voices to You

  • We are a little under 5 weeks into the summer. Our feet are permanently dirty, our messy buns are high on top of our heads and our voices are beginning to crack from the lack of the sleep at night and the cheering and singing throughout our days. Having “camp voice” is sort of a badge of honor – proof that you are giving camp your all.  I’ve always appreciated a good raspy voice after Color War rally or College Night Sing, but this morning, as I watched our youngest campers in Elat Dimona lead the Dining Hall in singing our new version of Mode Ani, I realized there’s a much deeper meaning to the idea of “camp voice”.

    “It’s a brand new dayyyy, it’s a brand new dayyyy. When I wake up I say, it’s a BRAND. NEW. DAY”

    As their sweet voices were met with the back half of the Dining Hall repeating after them, I thought about how lucky we are that we get to listen as these voices grow up at camp.

    If you’ve been to camp before you know how important learning to use your voice is. Advocating for yourself to share with a counselor that you need a new toothbrush, asking your bunkmate to not leave wet towels in your area, and using your words to comfort a new friend who is missing home. Your voice is one of the greatest assets a person can have, and we love being able to watch our campers grow into that. Our youngest focus on learning the words and the tunes to our camp favorites that have been a part of Pembroke’s history for so long. They follow the lead of their counselor, keep a close eye as they watch the mouths of our staff and string together the words and lyrics. What they don’t realize as they focus so intently on learning the songs and cheers and that the lessons they are absorbing are far more valuable. And each year, as we welcome new campers, it presents the opportunity for the next group of campers to step into a leadership role and share the songs, cheers, life lessons and values their own voices have mastered.

    We raise our voices and our bodies to welcome new campers and people to our community by singing Heivenu Shalom Alechem, and we end each night crossing our arms and joining together to sing Rod Hayom.

    “Day is done, gone the sun, from the lake, from the hills from the sky”

    And then those sweet soft voices transition into confident shouts and cheers as our youngest become our oldest and passionately scream for the impending Color War. 1-2-3-4 WE WANT COLOR WAR 5-6-7-8 WE CAN’T WAIT. Eventually the role models behind those voices find their place as counselors and begin passing down the legacy of camp to the future generations of campers. And those yells of support to Blue and Gold become requests to their campers to brush their teeth and make their beds.

    Together this week, we have been focusing on using our voices to support, love, encourage and admire. As a camp family we watched the Olympics and cheered together as strong, powerful and talented women completed their events. Stella spoke up during an otherwise quiet Jewish Life discussion that sparked collaboration and conversation. Millie spread her voice and told us that her personal motto “YAS queen” was now proudly displayed on the leg of a friend who needed a little pick-me-up. Emily shared her voice as she continues working closely with our song leaders to compose and put the final touches on another musical masterpiece that we can’t wait to hear. Bat Yam’s voices could be heard celebrating another USA victory early this morning in the Lodge. Returning campers have been showing our younger ones the ropes and accompanying them to the nurse for a Band-Aid or bag of ice. Eden helped a new camper find her voice, share her feelings of missing home and get the hug she needed from Amy and me. Each of our Elat Dimonians had a quiet opportunity to ask their questions during one-on-one tours of camp with our oldest campers. Even the new Pembroke Podcast is now available on Spotify…and you may recognize a voice or two!

    Each summer and each session at camp presents new opportunities and new challenges to get to know yourself, your bunk and your community. And no matter where you are in the journey of finding your voice, camp is the best place to find your place. We are always blown away by the power of camp, of support and of the strong community we have been able to build together that allows our campers the space they need to run, grow and thrive.

    “Camp Pembroke we raise our voices to you.
    We sing of the spirit of gold and of blue.
    May this spirit kindle a flame in our hearts.
    To carry through life although we know we must part.

    There’s some kind of secret, a mystery here.
    Of why we return to camp year after year.
    Although we can’t say what it is that we feel.
    We know that this feeling is something that’s very real.”

    Shabbat shalom!

    Becca & Amy

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