The Inside of a Pancake

  • I’ve always found that one of the most challenging parts of my week, as trivial as it sounds, is trying to put words to the experiences of the previous days to share with our community. What was once challenging now feels impossible with an entire year separating us from our last summer spent in our second home. I could explain the fun activities and what the meals were and how hot, then rainy, then cold, the weather was, but those things just don’t properly capture what this last week has meant to our campers. I think about how it’s not just putting words to the few days we’ve had here but rather trying to explain the entire last year that has led us to this very moment. It’s been way too long since our Arts & Crafts building has been covered in glitter or our Dining Hall walls filled with cheers, spirit and mac and cheese. We’ve waited too many months to have grass stains on our shorts or tie dye on our hands. The pool is loud, the Waterfront is busy, our hearts are full and my notepad is once again filled with amazing quotes, moments and stories from an emotional, amazing and fun-filled week.

    It’s the little things at camp that contribute to the big moments and big memories, and we started stashing those away in our minds from the moment the first car door swung open and one of our youngest campers declared “I NEVER thought I’d actually make it here”. Her voice was filled with surprise and joy, and her eyes were wide with excitement and curiosity as she took her first steps towards one of the best summers of her life after a nearly two-year wait.

    “So THIS is what the inside of a pancake looks like.” I had never heard a more pure statement in my life until the first breakfast of the summer when I overheard Violet exclaim her newfound discovery to a friend. Camp is all about learning, inquiring, experiencing wonder and doing it all surrounded by supportive, empowering young women and this little one had experienced it first-hand with a side of maple syrup.

    On the way back from a Free period, one of our counselors came across a camper looking for the location of her next activity. She explained to Sophie that she had Media but didn’t know where to go. Sophie pointed to our Head of Media, Mariana, to send her in the right direction and her response? “Do you think she likes hugs?” Imagine having so much love to give that you’re ready to offer it to the staff member you haven’t even gotten to meet yet. How lucky are we to have such kindness and compassion in our community and we are beyond grateful for their willingness to share that love here at camp.

    One of our newest activity offerings, Sampler Platter, is quickly becoming one of our campers’ favorites. A little bit of this, a little bit of that…and maybe a surprise announcement for a quick trip to the local ice cream place resulted in Marissa shouting “I feel like I’m dreaming”. Our campers have been craving this connection, this sense of fun and clearly, some ice cream, for so long now and to be in the position to provide those experiences for our campers has been one of the great rewards of the last few days.

    Earlier today I bumped into Sydney walking the road to the Waterfront. I asked about her activities, she asked about my day and we chatted about what her first Shabbat might feel like. Her response? “Are you sure I haven’t been here before?” Her connection to camp was already so strong that she needed confirmation that this was, in fact, her first summer. At first I laughed quietly to myself and then quickly realized that Syd was truly questioning how she could already feel so connected, so a part of something that she actually asked. Camp “clicks” for different kids at different points in their career but to hear that she had already felt that was a reminder of the power of connection.

    On Wednesday, during a brief passing storm that gave us a few claps of thunder, Ruby gently offered an

     incredibly kind gesture to share her compassion for Hadley’s moment of nervousness around the weather. “I made you this bracelet so you won’t be scared”. She recognized a new friend’s moment of need, thought on her feet and did what any great camp friend would…she made her a friendship bracelet. Eight years old and already teaching me a lesson in thoughtfulness, I couldn’t have been any prouder.

    And then there are the moments that make you laugh and perhaps my favorite of the week occurred as I scooped a ladle full of spaghetti onto Haley’s plate and she politely declared “You’re a better waitress than you are Director”. I took it as a compliment (I really am quite the attentive waitress!) and as a reminder to laugh, have fun and remember that every moment at camp is the chance to be together, have fun and enjoy our time at camp.

    I feel lucky, overwhelmed, excited, anxious, and joyful…all of the emotions your kids have experienced in some capacity before coming to camp and now that we are here together, sharing that journey as a sacred community filled with best friends and holy moments.

    Shabbat shalom,
    Becca & Amy

3 responses to “The Inside of a Pancake”

  1. Erika Nair says:

    Loved every word of this! It puts some of my nerves at ease, as a mom of two first time campers. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recollection of what clearly was an amazing week!

  2. Gerri Zabusky says:

    I’m Hadley’s grandmother (Nana)and cried reading this. I know how terrified she is of thunder and lightning. I wish I could give Ruby a hug and say Thank You.

    • Jami Stein says:

      Hi Hadleys Nana! I’m Rubys mom! I was crying reading it too. I’m so happy Ruby and Hadley are together !!

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