From the Director’s Desk – March 2017
Dear Friends of Capital Camps,
Triple chocolate, raspberry, and mint chocolate chip. After agonizing over dozens of potential hamantaschen recipes, these are the three on which we decided for the upcoming holiday of Purim, which begins next Saturday evening, March 11, and continues into Sunday, March 12. You can read more about the story and holiday here. Of course, finding fun flavors to fill our hamantaschen is one of the more light-hearted components of a holiday that has some important themes.
Of those themes, I’d like to focus attention on three specifically, all of which resonate deeply with us, as we prepare for our agency’s 30th summer.
Triple Chocolate: Family – There is no doubt that the Purim story reminds us not only of the importance of family, but also our collective responsibility to look out for one another. Esther’s actions are not just for her uncle, Mordecai. Rather, Esther understands that the future of her community depends on her bravery. In the camp setting, we rely on our campers and our staff to act on one another’s behalf. Whether identifying and putting a stop to bullying in the bunk, or ensuring that we include each member of our camp family, we own collective responsibility for one another. In summer 2017, we will be creating mini camp families to continue to develop these connections among us.
Raspberry: Giving – Among many traditions of the holiday, some decide to give “Mishloach Manot” (sending gifts) among friends. Others give “Matanot L’Evyonim” (gifts to the needy). In both cases, the tradition is teaching us the importance of giving – of recognizing that, even while we celebrate, we must also look out, beyond our own sphere, to those around us. Giving takes many forms. As you may know, last summer all of our campers participated in “Empty Bowls,” a program to raise awareness and take action toward feeding those who are hungry. Our CITs participate annually in a service-learning experience as part of their training. And our staff members participated last summer in our first-ever giving campaign to help raise money to send kids to camp.
Mint Chocolate Chip: Celebration and Fun – There is no doubt that the core of the Purim story is quite serious, as our people faced a terrible threat. Yet, the day that followed was a day of celebration, joy, and sheer fun. In fact, a key component of Purim’s celebration is to have fun, be goofy, and let loose. At camp, we are continually seeking out these moments as well. We combine the deep, meaningful, character work with a sense of uninhibited joy. Whether it’s the music ringing from the speakers each morning, the shrieks of laughter and delight during an evening program, or the ruach (spirit) of our Shabbat song session, there are so many moments when are campers having fun. Of course, that’s what camp is all about!
Later this month, we’ll celebrate the 100-day countdown until first session begins (watch your social media for details). Until then, we hope that you’ll take some time to celebrate family, giving, and most of all, celebration during Purim and beyond!