By Lisa David
I want to being by thanking the CITs of 2021 for their leadership – not just tonight, but throughout the entire session. You guys have packed in a lot of role modeling and leadership in just 3 ½ weeks and have brought great positive energy and ruach to camp.
Tonight, we are here to thank and honor the CITs for all your hard work and leadership this session. At camp, there are lots of different kinds of leaders – those who enjoy leading from the front with great enthusiasm and confidence, those most comfortable leading from the back and supporting others, and those who lead from the middle, partnering with those around them to get things done. It’s important to have all kinds of role models that we can look up to and learn from, and to honor the various models of leadership.
Tonight – we are honoring CITs who have exemplified leadership in their own way, and we are honoring them by presenting two of them with the Mitch Perlmeter Leadership award. Mitch was a beloved member of the Harlam community who passed away unexpectedly in 2011 at the age of 17. While I did not know him personally, I’ve come to learn about Mitch’s go-with-the-flow mentality. He was someone who could make everyone laugh, who could not stay angry, and who could poke fun at himself, smile and move on. Mitch was a thoughtful and passionate leader, chairing a department of his high school’s Civics and Government institute, founding his school’s Ultimate Frisbee Club, and volunteering as a reporter for the school newspaper and at his congregation, Temple Ner Tamid. He loved Twix Bars, the Baltimore Ravens, and dearly loved his family and friends. And according to those who knew him, most of all he loved life.
Mitch and his family were and remain deeply connected to camp. He made his best friends here, and was willing to do anything to make others smile – famously choreographing the Boys dance in Chavurah and as a CIT. In the words Mitch wrote in his CIT Application:
What has had the greatest impact on my Jewish life is my time spent at Camp Harlam itself. As my parents were rabbis on faculty at camp from when I was about 4 years old, I have been at Harlam for every summer that I can remember, and then some. No place or event has provided me with more memories, more friends, more character or more love than Camp Harlam has. The caring Jewish community found within the camp is, as far as I know, unique, and each year the leaders of that community find new ways to teach both campers and staff about Judaism, and moreover, do so in a way that makes those students want to keep learning and participating.
Sadly, Mitch passed away before he was able to transition from CIT to staff and continue modeling leadership at camp. Tonight, we honor him but recognizing CITs who have also made a significant impact on camp, and who have been great role models and leaders in their own way this summer.
Eliana A. is a quiet leader who can always be counted on to do the right thing. She offers her support to others in every capacity, whether it is with a friend or with one of the various Gesher milestone events. Further, this CIT is extremely dedicated to her campers and goes the extra mile to ensure their happiness.
Julia G. is the exact embodiment of a good friend, who is always looking out for the best interest of others. She can always be found with a smile on her face, even when circumstances are not in her favor. She leads with infectious enthusiasm and really stepped up to the plate when her department needed her most.
Both of these CITs have been extremely resilient and have approached this summer with a go with the flow mentality. They both have been extremely helpful and integral to the success of the various Gesher events this summer. Neither of these CITs wallow in negativity or get brought down by things out of their control. We are extremely excited to watch them grow as future staff members and we can’t wait to see what they accomplish in their camp careers.