My Tribute to Holly

Joanne and Holly

By Joanne Smukler Borochaner

My sister, Holly Smukler Walter, spent many amazing summers at URJ Camp Harlam (1975-85.) This was her second home, where she drank bug juice, went mud-sliding, played Iguana Ball, walked to the general store, swam at Beltzville, went skinny-dipping, and played every sport under the hot sun. My sister was a fierce competitor and fittingly became a Color War General in the 80’s. She went on to be a counselor, and it came as no surprise when she began working as part of the Athletics Staff. After her summers at camp were over, she remained close friends with her camp family and went back for Alumni Day most summers. Her group of camp friends had reunions during the year that she always attended, even when she was sick.

Holly and Joanne

Holly fought hard in every aspect of her life, but her six-year battle with breast cancer was one struggle that she could not overcome. We lost Holly on December 26, 2016.

Holly’s smile was contagious, and her selflessness was unrivaled. She was full of compassion, beauty, and sunshine, and she was an inspiration to all that knew her. Her passion for life and sports lives on in her two amazing (and athletic) sons, Rob (22) and Jason (18). Her husband, Jim, was her best friend and together their family played every sport – including Iguana Ball in their backyard pool!

I felt it was important for us to recognize Holly and her longstanding and deeply meaningful connection to camp and to her camp family by dedicating something in her honor on Harlam’s beautiful site. With the reinvigorated efforts recently to upgrade camp’s facility, it seemed a fitting opportunity now with the celebration of Harlam@60 to make sure that Holly’s name would be known to future generations of Harlamites. Making sure that the community would see Holly’s name alongside others we remember would mean a great deal to all of those that knew how important camp was to her.

I hope that you will take this opportunity when you are reminded of Holly to be inspired by her influence on you and others at Harlam. Your support to raise funds to replace and rename the Machsan – the athletic equipment storage building that has stood for many years and is in need of renovation – in her honor will help us to fulfill our wish to further establish her legacy at Harlam.

Together, let’s attach the “Holly’s Sports Hut” name to a beautiful new Machsan forever. Thank you for your support.

CLICK HERE to learn more about our effort.