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Camp Harlam Love Stories: Bob & Bonnie Botel-Sheppard

By Bob (aka ‘Shep’) and Bonnie Botel-Sheppard

Camp Harlam and Arie Gluck, specifically, brought us together.

It was a beautiful April day in 1971 when we met at the Camp Harlam office in Philadelphia. Bonnie, who had spent a few summers at Camp Harlam as part of PAFTY (Pennsylvania Federation of Temple Youth), had just arrived for an interview as a camp counselor. Bob, who had worked at Camp Harlam for 12 years as a pool director, head counselor, and finally, Arie’s assistant, was ready to go to lunch with Arie. Bob invited Bonnie to join them and that’s where the story began, though coincidentally, Bonnie was given Bob’s name on a small slip of paper from a former Harlam counselor a few months earlier.

We spent our first dating summer with Bob commuting on Tuesday and Friday evenings so that we could spend time together after lights out. Eisendrath Chapel was one of the places that we frequented that summer as we sat and began to put our hopeful future together.

Years later, we became parents to Lara, Adam and Anna. Lara went to Camp Harlam for five years as a teenager and has lifelong best friends to this day from her camp days. Lara married Todd and Adam married Maureen.

We are now the proud grandparents of four beautiful grandchildren: Gianna – 7 years old, Blake – 4 years old, Callum – 3 years old and Nolan – who is a 1 year old! We hope that our grandchildren will have the same wonderful Camp Harlam experiences that we had when we were younger. We have friends who we still see socially from our days as staff members there. It is quite a place with lots of wonderful memories.

Camp Harlam is part of our extended family and we are so thankful for that beautiful day in April.


On Sunday, August 13, we’ll recognize the many couples who met at Camp Harlam as part of Alumni Day and our year-long celebration for Harlam’s 60th anniversary. Details will be shared soon on the Harlam@60 website

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