Bringing Camp Traditions into the “Real World”

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By Lauren Fishman, Staff Coach and Katan Unit Head

One of the many things I love about camp are the traditions that I get to bring home to my family and friends once the summer is over. While it is true that the skills I have gained as a counselor and member of the leadership team have helped me in my job as a Special Education teacher, it is the Jewish aspects of camp that make my “real” life so meaningful.

During the year, we often host Shabbat dinners with friends at my house and we usually host a Hanukkah party. We invite past local staff members to light candles, sing songs, eat dinner, and hang out. Usually the conversation involves reminiscing about camp: our campers, fun trips we went on with them, funny stories, staff nights, stargazing, the tower, and pool time. The times I get to intertwine camp traditions with my “real life” during the year make me miss camp so much, and I start getting excited for next summer.

As a Jewish young adult, I am in the process of deciding what other traditions I want to start now with my fiancé so that we can create a Jewish household.  In the past year or so, we have started lighting Shabbat candles and saying the prayers on Friday nights. Usually we say the blessing over the wine while we are sitting in front of the TV watching Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and the blessing over the children is said over our dog, Bandit. But it is really great practice to start implementing these traditions now.

Another thing that I do every single night, is think about 3 things I am grateful for. My fiancé and I share  them with each other before we go to bed so that we are thinking about positive things before we fall asleep. While it might seem small and not inherently Jewish, it has really made a huge impact on my mindset. Rabbi Ilana, our Summer Assistant Director, taught me this strategy, and while I am at camp this summer, I’ve been doing my best to think about some of the things I am grateful for at the end of each day.

Here are 3 things that I am grateful for today:

  1. I am grateful that camp has shaped me into the person I am today.
  2. I am grateful for the people that camp has brought into my life.
  3. I am grateful for the traditions that camp has helped me bring into my own family.