By Kara Weiner
It’s a little bit surreal to be here, isn’t it? Whether you started way back in Carmel or started just last summer, you would look at those Chavurah campers doing their readings at their final service, and would think that the time would never come that you would be in their shoes. But here we are. Your final day as campers. Some of you have many years ahead of you as staff, CITs, or even supervisors. But for many of you, your journey with camp might be concluding tomorrow.
So let’s fast forward five years to the summer of 2024. Believe it or not, some of you might be wrapping up a summer as Chavurah counselors yourselves, others of you will be assistant supervisors, and others will be somewhere other than Kunkletown, Pennsylvania. When you reflect on your summers as campers, what will stand out in your memory?
It might be the odd adventure here or there, or a cool art project you did. But more likely, it will be the ridiculous things that we did as a group that made Chavurah a unique experience to this group of people. You’ll think about Shake and Pop, kazoos, impromptu stops at Cracker Barrel, dancing in the rain, and cheerio hummus. You’ll yell “Hoot Hoot!” to your friend across the chadar ochel. You’ll recreate your synchronized swimming dance when your song comes on, or dance the haka in a spare moment or two. You’ll laugh about “Xoxo, Lucky” and smile while remembering how we blasted music on the walk to the ‘lage. You’ll reflect on all the little moments in between the planned moments, the late night conversations, screaming about first kisses, and confiding in a friend when you needed a shoulder to cry on.
Seeing this group of people grow and come together over the last two summers has truly been a privilege. The way you have become such a united group where I can genuinely say that everyone is friends is truly remarkable. You have thrown yourself into every moment of this summer and done your best to truly experience each second, knowing that it’s your last opportunities for everything.
While there might be so many amazing memories formed over the years, you still have 24 hours left in your camper experience. And since we know you’ll be awake for all 24 of them, let’s make the final day filled with even more memories to reflect on after you pull out of the gates tomorrow.
And no matter what your future at camp looks like in a formal way, your connection to this place and these people will always be there for you. As cheesy as it sounds, “camp friends are the best friends” is more than just a saying, and your camp friends will always be there for you no matter how much time has passed. So cherish these final moments, but also look towards the future and think about the memories you will still make here. Now, it’s not about the lasts that are in the past, but the firsts that are yet to come. And while the summers that are gone have been amazing, I hope that in future summers, you have the time of your life.
With love and feeling Lucky,
Kara Weiner lives in Exton, PA. She teaches 2nd and 3rd grade during the school year. Prior to being a teacher, she studied Elementary Education and Psychology at Muhlenberg College. This will be her 16th summer at camp and 8th on staff!