From The Director’s Desk – March 2019
NBC’s hit show, “This is Us,” just returned for the Spring season, as it continues to tell the story of the families of three children, all of whom share the same birthday. I was watching a recent two-part episode (spoiler alert!), and there was a dispute between two main characters, Kate and Randall, about remembering a specific day from their childhood, but in two different ways. Randall’s was dark, including the difficulties of that day. Kate’s memory was beautiful, a joyful day that ended in a playful sequin fight.
On the cover of our 2019 calendar, which we send to campers and staff members, we selected a powerful memory – one of seven Kaufmann Village campers jumping in unison in one of our (many) rain downpours during second session. I remember this moment at camp with great pride. Despite several days of rain, these campers found meaning in being together, making the most of what others might have seen as a dismal situation.
In many ways, this is what camp is all about – finding meaning in unexpected places. When we ask campers and staff members to reflect back on what makes camp so special, we sometimes hear about classic camp activities, such as swimming, the ropes course, or Maccabiah. However, more often we hear about random moments: the walk to the dining hall, a chat during a hike, or a late-night conversation in the cabin.
Critical to camp’s success – and ultimately our campers’ love of this place – is the availability of both. I often write about the cyclical nature of our camp planning process. Each year, we focus on specific priorities for each month, from the moment campers depart until the moment our staff arrive 10 months later.
This past month, I have so very much enjoyed a deep dive into a variety of topics, topics that will ultimately set up both planned activities, as well as random moments. Our year-round team has been hard at work envisioning the many ways to create space for magic.
In the coming month, we will continue this work with several important events, including our participation in the American Camp Association’s annual conference and our annual summer Leadership Team planning retreat. In April, we will turn our attention even more so to the small details, also critical to our success. You can help us by completing your online forms and by letting us know what you’re thinking about, as we continue to progress toward summer.
During the last scene of the “This is Us” episode, we learn that the day contained both Randall’s and Kate’s memories. Early on, it was a challenge, but their father, Jack, took the extra step to turn the day into something special. Whether it is the planning we do before summer begins, or the choices our campers and/or counselors make to create something meaningful, there is an abundance of opportunities to create amazing camp memories. Let’s go choose one – or many!