Blog  My First Year at Camp: Nerves, Memories, and Life-Long Friends

My First Year at Camp: Nerves, Memories, and Life-Long Friends

For the past four summers, I’ve been lucky enough to call URJ Camp Kalsman “home.” I go back every summer to see my camp family and make new memories to cherish forever. It is hard to believe that there was a time in my life that Camp Kalsman was a mystery to me.

I have to admit, around this time four years ago I was a little nervous about the new camp I was signed up to go to. There were so many questions swirling around in my head. What if I get lost trying to find my cabin? I’m so short, will my bunk mates know I’m the same age? Will they think I’m weird? Are the girls in my cabin already friends from past summers together? Is the food edible?

Clearly, I had a lot on my mind the day camp started. A counselor named Zac from Arizona took me on a quick tour of the camp and showed me my cabin. Worry number one was already a distant memory. My counselors, Heather and Zoie quickly had all the girls in my cabin play ice breaker games. I couldn’t tell if anyone knew each other from before. We all participated and I felt part of the gang immediately. There were even a few short kids like me and I wasn’t the only one who brought a ukulele! I quickly learned my weirdness was just my imagination. Forever friends were made and kept that summer. I’m also happy to report that the food was really good. Actually edible!!!

One of my favorite memories from my first summer at Kalsman was when we had a contest to make funny hairdos using shaving cream. Lindsey did a great job “styling” my hair. Our entire unit was laughing hysterically.

That was my first Kalsman summer in a nutshell. Let me tell you, the following three summers did not disappoint. Every year I make new friends to add to my growing collection of camp friends. We have attended each other’s B’nei Mitzvot, even though we don’t all live in the same cities.  My cabin last summer started a group text that we still have going strong almost a year later.

The campers and staff at Camp Kalsman are a community of people who share the same goal; to make that summer the best one yet. Camp is the highlight of my year. The countdown has begun and I can’t wait to meet you this summer!

By: Paloma D., Camper