My Tribute to Erin
By Lindsay Berman
I clearly remember meeting Erin Grant the first day of camp in 1988. At 9 years old, Erin had a presence about her that could not be ignored. I wanted to be around her because she made everything more fun. She was simply the best company. Then and always.
Anyone who was at Harlam with Erin from 1988 to 1998 – as her bunkmate, counselor, co-General for Color War, camper, or simply her friend – knows exactly what I mean. Whether she was leading the Gold Team Matzah Balls (Balls! Balls! Balls!), falling off the Tower (first rung, but still…), bunk hopping to Boys Camp, calling the Bayit payphone during staff week to find out who our counselors were going to be, or hosting epic camp reunions between summers, Erin was a force. She was funny, sharp, loyal, brave, tough, and loving.
Erin was incredibly resilient. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 31, Erin worked hard at managing the impact of her illness on her own mental health. Erin found guided imagery very helpful to her. She spent 20 minutes each day lying down with her headphones on, listening to a recording her therapist made visualizing the disease leaving her body. Erin’s favorite part was to picture herself floating on a cloud over to her “happy place”. For Erin, that happy place was Chapel on the Hill. Even as time and years passed, Chapel on the Hill continued to hold the dearest, safest, most joyful place in her heart.
There are many times I’ve questioned decisions I have made about Erin in her absence. But when it comes to Harlam, there is no doubt I am 100% certain that Erin would want to be memorialized at camp. One year before she died, Erin and I visited camp together. During that visit, Erin told me that she wanted a tree planted at camp in her memory. But today, camp is even more creative and thoughtful in the way they memorialize former Harlamites. While a tree will be planted in Erin’s honor as part of camp’s current Chapel on the Hill Campaign, we have more in store.
There is a beautiful wooden platform with benches under the trees in the K’Far Noar Village that is used as an informal gathering space. Before being K’Far Noar, you may remember this area as Carmel Village. Carmel Village was where Erin spent her first summer as a camper, and her last summer was spent as a K’Far counselor in this same village. On Alumni Day 2019 (August 11th), Harlam will dedicate this platform and gathering space as “Erin’s Happy Place”.
I hope that you will join me in helping to make Erin’s wish come true. Please make your gift to “Erin’s Happy Place” today. Erin meant so much to so many, and Harlam meant so much to Erin. Having a place to honor Erin’s memory permanently at camp – and creating a space where future generations can make their own cherished camp memories – will be a gift to us all.