By David Berkman, Director of URJ Camp Kalsman
Lately I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting about Camp Kalsman. I seem to get nostalgic every spring; it seems
as if summer is right around the corner. I get excited about the upcoming summer, welcoming everyone home when they pull up to the front gate, and of all the possibilities of the season. I try to remember everyone who has been to camp and to think about where they are now. The power and impact of camp never ceases to amaze me.
Ten years ago camp started with 90 camper beds and some very big dreams. There were 384 campers that summer and 34 staff, pioneers really, all of us. We set the course on an adventure of a lifetime. Four of our Unit Heads this summer were actually campers with us back in 2007.
Since then we have had thousands of campers and staff join us over the summers. There have been countless campfires and s’mores. Really, the number of s’mores though pales in comparison to the servings of grilled cheese and tomato soup… There have been spirited song sessions, Maccabiahs, and talent shows. The camp has been filled with laughter, with love, and with joy.
I’ve witnessed friendships form on the first day of camp a decade ago that continue on to this day. There have been two weddings from relationships started (by staff) at camp! I am sure there are more in the works. Truly, this is some of the best camp magic.
And I have been thinking about the path people’s lives take them on – if camp was a speed bump or a major intersection in their life journey. I think about all of our campers and staff that have gone on to become Jewish professionals, activists, and leaders in their communities. I think about our emphasis on social justice and social action and the ripple effect we have had in our communities local and global. Whether the lessons are learned in the gaga pit or the cabin it is clear that what starts at camp changes the world.
Kalsman is an amazing place. Whether you were last at camp that first summer or just this past weekend it is time to come home. This July 31st we will celebrate our 10th Anniversary at camp. I hope that you will be able to join us. Let Jordan Road bring you back home to visit with old friends, to enjoy the activities and magic of camp, and to join in our celebration!
For more information and to register for the event please visit www.campkalsman.org/event/10
We cannot wait to welcome you home this summer!