Last week, Camp Harlam held its first annual Tikkun O-Camp program on its camp site in Kunkletown, PA. More than 90 campers, parents, grandparents, alumni, Camp Council members and other volunteers came together to do their part in making camp beautiful for the summer of 2013 and to model one of our camp’s valued tenets of tikkun olam (repairing the world).
We began our day at the new Girls Camp cabins for an opening ceremony and to thank the Men’s Cabinet of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia for their generous gift to Camp Harlam. Their $10,000 contribution, couple with an even more significant donation from Harlam’s alumni association, will help make it possible to build two new, state-of-the-art GaGa Courts that will be ready for the summer of 2013.
After this, our participants were split into 10 groups to work in areas of camp that were deemed valuable, including:
- Demolition of the old GaGa Courts
- Removing old hardware from our cabins
- Planting seeds in our three gardens (expanded for 2013)
- Landscaping around Chapel in the Woods
- Painting new mailboxes for every cabin in camp (for mail delivery!)
- Building a brand new stone fire pit on the Misrad Field
- Sealing murals all over camp (so they live longer lives)
- Hanging last summer’s bunk plaques
- Preparing our Teva Campsite for use in summer 2013
“The turnout was great and it was lovely to see so many people come to share their support and show their commitment,” said Haley O’Neill, a former Camp Harlam staff member. That commitment sustained throughout a beautiful spring day to see every project through to its virtual completion. It was so great to see people from all corners of the Harlam family with us as well. Hope Bloom, a camp parent said, “it was great to work with all the staff. It was great to show my kids how important it is to help.” The general feeling of the day was that everyone was happy to help. Rosanne Selfon, our Camp Council’s Chair, stated that the best part of this weekend was “getting people to camp and having them have a sense of ownership and pride in something that will be at camp next summer. I envision mailbox painters visiting bunks to find the box they painted. Any kid who worked on the fire pit will be able to say ‘I helped do this.’” And Camp Harlam is appreciative to have such a strong community that understands the importance of ownership of their camp. This past Sunday, this group really made camp their own by volunteering to making camp even better.
Camp parent and colleague, Rabbi Rachel Hertzman, shared that “Tikkun O-Camp was a resounding success: a chance for campers, families, alumni and staff to meet and reconnect, an opportunity to revel in accomplishment and understand what still needs to be done. The new bunks are a state of the art ‘wow’ and build momentum and excitement for the summer, as well as feelings of ‘hey, I helped do this’.”
Thank you to all of those who were able to make it to camp on May 5th to support camp as part of this meaningful program. We look forward to making this event even bigger in 2014.