By Adam Zemel and Hannah Lafargue
At the age of fifteen, it can be hard to see how you will ever fit into the world, let alone make an impact on it. The world is big and contradictory. It is full of beauty and heart and light. But it can also be scary and challenging and it can feel irreversibly broken. That is the hard truth.
There are times when that hard truth about the world feels distant from our lives. We encounter occasional reminders, sure, but the harder realities of the world are not a daily intrusion. Right now is not those times. These are the other times. The times when the scary and challenging and broken parts of the world cannot be ignored. We are living in important times. They challenge us and make us ask big questions about the world we are living in. And in these important times, never has the purpose of camp been so evident.
Camp is here for a reason. This community has a purpose. Camp is for making deep, lasting friendships. Camp is for being in community. Camp is for growing up. And, perhaps more fundamentally, camp is for discovering what we believe in. Camp is for learning how to carry those beliefs in our hearts as we move through the world. Camp is for discovering the courage to live by and stand up for those beliefs.
Hiding behind that purpose is the bittersweet truth at the heart of camp: The purpose of camp is to leave camp, and to take camp with you out into the world when you go. Camp cannot stay at camp. Each of us, in gratitude for this place that shapes who we are, are charged with bringing camp with us where ever we go.
We hope that the time you have spent at camp has filled you with passion, gratitude, and purpose. Each summer at camp is a living monument to the forces of hope and imagination, creativity and love. Our profound hope for each and every one of you is that you keep that monument alive in your heart as you head back to the rest of the world and be a person who stands for something. A person who believes.
The world needs camp. Camp needs you. The world needs you.
Adam and Hannah
Adam Zemel is the Chavurah Unit Head. It is his 18th summer at Camp Harlam. Adam spent the last two years working as a Youth Engagement Coordinator at Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation. He lives in Washington, D.C.
Hannah Lafargue is the Assistant Chavurah Unit Head and it is her 9th summer at camp. She attends the University of Delware where she is studying Psychology and Political Science and eating lots and lots of UDairy Creamery ice cream! Her favorite parts of camp are adventure, song session, and Galil hikes.