Dear Campers

  • Dear Camper,

    Just a few days left in the first session – can’t believe how quickly the time has flown! Is it your best summer ever? Have you made some new friends? I saw photos of the water trampoline, is it fun? Did you get a part in the Lion King play? Are you still enjoying the new Mad Science elective? Chicken wings night looks delicious! Feels like just yesterday you arrived on that bright, sunny day and brought so much life and laughter with you to the shore of Lake Oldham. Some of you were a bit nervous, others barely looked back as you broke free from the embrace of your parents’ hugs, and now here we are, the halfway mark just around the corner, and there’s so much I want to say to you.

    I first want to say thank you. Thank you for your kindness, and your questions, and for welcoming me back into the Pembroke family without skipping a beat. Thank you to our Y’Rush campers who stepped up during College Night in every way imaginable. From waitressing for your teams leaders to recording the entire egg toss competition, you showed quiet, consistent leadership, and it did not go unnoticed. Thank you to Sage for your daily hugs, sometimes even adults need those little moments of love. Thank you to all of our Prospective Camper Day buddies who put on that pink and purple tie dye shirt and immediately stepped into the role of counselor for the day. Thank you to lower camp for your calm and patience during a long bus ride home from a very fun field trip to Coco Keys. Thank you to Olivia for welcoming Jessica to camp with open arms and very loud shrieks, you made her feel so welcomed and reminded me how truly beloved camp friendships are.

    I’m proud of you. There are so many of you that I’ve had the chance to get to know over the last three weeks. I’m proud of all you have accomplished in such a short period of time. Sarah, you’ve learned to master slime-making. Bunk 2B, I’m proud of you for writing a fight song, dance and cheer for your international counselor who was missing home – your intuition and initiative amazes me. College night captains, I’m proud of the leadership you demonstrated and to all of Tsfat, I’m proud of the way you stepped up to support your friends and the entire camp community. I’m proud of all of our first-timers. You have demonstrated tremendous courage in your first weeks away from home, you have made new friends, tried new activities and have done it all on your very own, that’s pretty special. You’ve learned to lean on friends and you’ve learned to feel comfort in the safety of your counselors loving arms. I’m proud of you, Bunk 12 for sharing, and supporting, and cheering one another on. I’m proud of Leelah for getting a bullseye! I’m proud of our Jewish Arts Festival performers who are rehearsing tirelessly so they can proudly represent our camp family. It’s impossible for me to walk around camp and not stumble upon a moment that reminds me in some way why camp is the perfect place to grow, play and learn, and I’m proud of the simple fact that Pembroke nourishes that.

    I can’t wait to see you. Now I know, I’m lucky because I get to see you every day. No need to hit the refresh button to find your smiling faces or run out to the mailbox to see if I got a letter. Each day I get to walk out the Lodge and be greeted by your excitement, your bright eyes, and your joyfulness. But I still can’t wait to see you. I can’t wait to watch you master that perfect dive in the deep end, and I can’t wait to watch you beam as your big sister gets named a Color War captain, and I can’t wait to see you conquer the Black Hole slide at Water Wizz. I can’t wait for you to perform the JAF performance at Newbridge, and I can’t wait for you to experience the satisfaction and pride of your accomplishment as a group after the final performance at Tel Noar.  I can’t wait to continue to watch you transform from a quiet 9 year-old to a bold, confident young woman, and I can’t wait to watch our counselors continue to transform simple moments into outstanding memories. I can’t wait to watch all you’ve learned here help you accomplish everything you want to out there.

    Now for a bit of advice. It’s been a wild ride, so far, but it’s not over yet. You’ve done amazing things, made memories that you’ll file away for the months to come. You now have a collection of moments, emotions and a vault of memories that will only grow as you grow up here. Savor every minute, squeeze your friends a little bit tighter as you link arm and arm in the Pinegrove tonight, and walk a little bit slower as you make your way to coffee cake breakfast tomorrow morning. Take it all in, the sight of waking up each morning with a view of the lake, the sound of screen doors slamming as we run back to apply bug spray before evening activity, and the smell of grilled cheese on Monday afternoon. At camp, even the small moments can have the most significance. Get in as much tetherball and gaga as you can, watch every sunset over the lake, and have one more bowl of that sugary cereal you don’t get at home. Go to breakfast in your pajamas, get a popsicle from the nurse just for the fun of it, do handstands and cartwheels in the middle of the horseshoe during free play, and don’t forget to thank your counselors for the time, energy and unparalleled effort they put into making this the best summer, every summer. For me, Camp Pembroke is a magical place where I’ve spent 13 summers. A horseshoe of white framed bunks overlooking the lake where I’ve found my place and my people…a little piece of heaven on earth, and I am so glad that you love it here too.

    Enjoy every moment, and don’t forget to drink water, apply sunscreen and smile for the camera!

    Shabbat shalom,


2 responses to “Dear Campers”

  1. Jennie Goldfarb says:

    Becca, I can’t wait to meet you! These blogs are amazing and make me cry every week! Thank you!

  2. Sandy Nagler says:

    Becca Goldman – so glad you are home. You rock! Shabbat Shalom.

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