I love a good #TBT (Throwback Thursday). Not only because you could say I’m #instaobsessed but really because I love that the age of iPhones and social media has given us a reason to rifle through old photographs. Photos taken at camp used to be much fewer and far between. Growing up at camp in the 90’s, our parents used to send us up with a couple disposable cameras; back at home, perhaps the one thing that could cheer up the post-camp blues was picking up your developed photos–printed in doubles, of course. That was the extent of photo memories from summer days spent in Kunkletown, besides the yearbook that we anxiously began waiting for around Hannukah.
One day this past February, I was going through photos at my parents house when I came across this photo. The sepia toned picture immediately brought tears to my eyes: my parents were away in Israel, my brother had moved out to California just five months earlier and my sister was away at school in Minnesota. Yes, the photo reminded me how much I missed them, but it immediately took me back to the summer days we all used to spend together at camp. When we were kids my dad served on camp faculty and somehow we got a copy of this black and white photo taken of our family one summer while lighting the shabbat candles in the chader ochel.
One of the things that makes this picture a true #TBT is that it captures me in my early teen years (Galil ‘99, if I had to guess)–the beginning of a period of my life where it sometimes felt like camp was the only thing I had in common with my family. The other great thing about this photo is that it was taken with real film and printed in Camp’s dark room–a far cry from today’s digital photo chug and the instant gratification of seeing your photo appear on a screen in front of you in mere seconds. While clearly a #TBT gem, this photo got me thinking: in my family, camp is one thing that brings all of us together. My dad was on staff in the late 70’s, my brother and sister and I were campers and have served on staff for years, and my mom got to share in the camp magic for those two weeks each summer my dad was on faculty. My husband Adam and I met as campers and later started dating on staff during the summer when he was my sister’s counselor in K’Far. So Camp Harlam really is one thing all of us share.
So on this cold day in February, missing my family and homesick for my home away from home in the Poconos, I decided I was going to do everything I could to be back at camp this summer. And now I’m here and it’s the best. One of the highlights of being up here is that every moment is a throwback: outside a Girls’ Camp bunk I remember the countless hours spent on the Galil Girls 4 porch with Becca Firestone, Lauren Wessler and Lana Kovnot. Hanging out at the back dock is a throwback to corn husking with all my fellow CITs ‘03, and the K’Far village is a throwback to brown time with my unit, headed up by now-Rabbi Larry Sernovitz or being a little Carmelian when “we live(d) in the village, high up in the hillage”.
Camp is as great as you remember it. Give yourself some throwback moments and join us for Alumni Day on Sunday, August 10th. Snap some great pictures, slap on an Amaro, Lo-Fi, or Walden filter, and be sure to hashtag #harlamthrowback #harlam2014.