From the Director’s Desk

November 2020

I love the fall. I love the changing colors of the leaves and the crispness
in the air. Thanksgiving typically means college students coming home
and having counselors who live locally stopping by the camp office to
say hello. Like so many other holidays throughout 2020, Thanksgiving
this year will look and feel different. At the same time, pausing to give
thanks, to recognize and express gratitude for the things that are
essential in our lives, can actually help us get through tough times.

The Hebrew term for gratitude, hakarat hatov, means, “recognizing the
good.” When we asked our counselors why they come to camp, their
gratitude for what is “good” at camp comes through. Our counselors
wrote about how camp makes them feel “loved and accepted”. One
shared that camp is “where I can be my true self” and another shared
that camp “is the place where I have made my best friends.” Several
expressed the idea that at camp “I get to have fun with my campers
and watch them grow as individuals.”

Probably the most well-known Jewish gratitude practice is singing
Dayenu at the Passover Seder. The word Dayenu literally means “it
would have been enough.” Our plans for summer 2021 feel like the
Dayenu prayer. We will gather in small cohorts with our camp friends
and trained, supportive counselors as our role models. We will have a
summer filled with sports and arts activities, swimming at the pool,
boating at the lake, taking care of the animals at the farm, having
s’mores around a camp fire and much more. We will raise the flags
every morning and end the week in celebration with Shabbat. And,
Dayenu, we are grateful because this is more than enough; this is what
we need.

Camp will look and feel a bit different this summer. Safety is and always
will be our top priority. Based on the best practices and guidelines
from the American Camping Association, the Centers for Disease
Control, Capital Camp’s medical committee and other experts, we are
making the necessary changes to our facility and programing so we can
run camp safely. We hope that by summer the virus is less present,
testing has improved, and vaccines are available to the public. Our
plans will be continuously updated based on the course of the
pandemic and the evolution of proven mitigation strategies. We will
continue to share our health and safety plans through our monthly
newsletter, town hall style gatherings and are available by phone to
answer any questions.

If we are able to do all this and more, then “double Dayenu”. If we are
able to do all this, and, in addition, can go on our village camping trips
off camp and if our LITs will be able to go on their trip to Israel, we will
be doubly grateful. We are still able to plan for a variation of our Sing,
Maccabiah and Friday night song and dance session. We will do so in
smaller cohorts if necessary and larger cohorts if possible.

Every Thanksgiving the Handelman family goes around the table and
has everyone say what they are thankful for from the past year. I
already know my answer. I am thankful to have Melissa, Austin and
Allison on the camp team. I am thankful for the opportunity to partner
and plan alongside our camp families. And I am thankful that Capital
Camps will continue to be the place where our campers will find joy this