by: Steffi Belitsky
I am at Camp Harlam. You think that would be enough, right? Wait, What?!?! You don’t think spending the summer with about 800-900 other families’ children, when I have just spent the last 10 months educating the children of Philadelphia, makes me lucky? Let me tell you why I truly am the luckiest adult on the planet.
- I do not live with my children: Don’t get me wrong, I love my three children, but I know how much they enjoy being with their friends. And, if it means that I do not have to feed them, yell at them to get dressed, bathed or clean up after themselves…..then I am all good!
- I do not have to feed my children: Not only don’t I have to feed them, I don’t have to plan what they will eat, three times a day. I don’t have to figure out how I will make these meals for them, (to be completely honest, I don’t cook for them, the two older children are teenagers and are able to cook for the family and I “allow them to do this mitzvah and make our family happy!” I also then don’t have to fight about which child’s turn it is to clean up said meal.
- I do not have to fight with them about taking a shower, brushing their teeth, their hair, and all the other hygienic things that exhaust me. Their counselors do that for me.
Are you starting to get the picture??!! Not yet, you still don’t understand why I wouldn’t just send my kids and then enjoy the peace and quiet of home… Let me tell you what I DO get to do here at camp.
- I get to eat at meal time that someone else planned, cooked and will eventually clean up. Yes – I do need to pass and stack, and occasionally take some dishes in to the kitchen, but so far the trade off has been way in my favor.
- I get to see children with smiles on their faces ALL DAY LONG! I get to dance with them, joke with them, talk with them, hug them and remind them how lucky THEY are to be here at Camp Harlam. And then, I get to walk away knowing that all of these children are being cared for by incredible young adults.
- Speaking of these young adults, I get to see REAL work from young people who could, no doubt, be making more money doing a million other things during their summers. I get to see them become very important in the lives of children. They are cheer leaders, huggers, friends and most importantly, trusted adults to so many… (sounds like a parent, huh?)
- I get to play at sports with them, sing during song session with them, swim in the pools and lake with them, create in omanut with them, dance and giggle with them just because.
However, the main reason I am truly the luckiest adult on the planet is because when these young people, all dressed in white, walk up to the Chapel on the Hill, I get to not only watch with complete awe at the scene of pureness, I then get to pray with them in a way that THEY choose to pray.
I could be home, enjoying my summers off – as a teacher and a parent – but I not only have the very fortunate ability to give my children the gift of Camp Harlam, but I too get to receive the gift of seeing what most adults don’t get to see; absolute joy in all the children and their counselors here in Kunkletown, PA.