Blog  “What Does Camp Mean to You?” Coming Home After a Summer Away

“What Does Camp Mean to You?” Coming Home After a Summer Away

Camp is such a special place. But don’t just take our word for it! We asked a few of our returning campers to share what Camp Kalsman means to them and how they feel about returning soon!!


“Whenever someone asks me to share a life experience that has changed the way I look at the world, I always think of when I’ve played the ukulele during Shabbat Shira song sessions. Everyone is standing together in a circle, singing and swaying in unison, creating a sense of kehillah kedoshah (holy community) that has shown me that no matter where you are in the world, we can always be there for each other. That is what camp means to me, a place where you feel connected through the people that have made your experience the way it is. No matter how long you’ve gone to camp, everyone is always welcoming and there for you. When I sat in my bedroom last summer and participated in a Kalsman virtual song leading program, I felt that sense of belonging and family transported to my house even though I wasn’t at camp. And that is why summer after summer I return to the place that has made me the person that I am today. Even though I’m only at camp for three weeks out of the whole year I’ve learned valuable life experiences that I’ll keep for the rest of my life. 

I’m feeling really excited to go back to camp this summer and be a CIT, which I’ve dreamt of since my first summer at camp in 2012! I know some things are going to have to change because of the pandemic so I’m keeping an open mind. I’m looking forward to meeting new people and also seeing all the updates to the camp since I was last there in 2019!”

-Brooke M. (Machon)


“The past 10 summers at Camp Kalsman have been nothing but great experiences for me. Camp is a place where I have met and made many great friends. Throughout the past few summers, I have had a group of people at camp who have become some of my really good friends. While some of my friends may have ended up going to different sessions than me, there have always been new people to make friends with.The activities at camp are what make camp the fun place that it is. From Maccabiah, to Shabbat, to playing sports, to swim time, there is always something fun to do. One thing that has been a constant fun experience for me is spending my birthday at camp almost every year. I have always enjoyed spending my birthday among my friends at camp, and being able to do fun camp activities on my birthday. There’s also nothing that beats having a camp cookie cake after lunch on my birthday.  

Last summer felt very strange without being able to spend time at camp. I missed all of the fun times that I usually spend with my friends whether in the cabin, playing sports, or doing other fun activities. While last summer was weird without camp being a part of it, I am very excited to be able to go back and spend another great summer with my friends at Camp Kalsman.”

 –Judah S. (Kesher)


“Camp means a lot to me.  It is where I first felt like I was free to be a Jew.  I think the most important part of camp is the community and friends.  I always feel at home when I am at camp.  It is like my home away from home.  Camp is like a place where it’s okay to be weird and where you laugh until you cry.  I have so many fond memories of camp.  Camp is where I learned how to paint nails.  I love Camp Kalsman because I don’t have to worry about being the only one saying Motzi or feel weird being the only one celebrating Shabbat.  Oh my gosh!  SHABBAT!!!  One of the best nights at camp!  I love it so much!  We dance, sing, and go crazy!  It is the best!

I know this year is going to be different, but different can be good.  And knowing Kalsman, it will definitely be good.  I most look forward to seeing my friends and meeting fellow campers.  I can’t wait to laugh, sing and dance!  I think this year will be just as good as before… maybe even better!  I am going to be a CIT this year so it will be a new journey.   A very exciting one!  I am so excited to learn new songs and practice guitar.  I am counting down the day until I can see the beautiful scenery that is Camp Kalsman!  I am counting down the days until I get to go to camp!”

-Alondra L. (Machon)


“Hi! My name is Zelda Fishman, I’m from Boise Idaho and I have gone to Camp Kalsman for 7 summers.  

My favorite thing to do at camp is Shabbat Shira. This will be the most epic dance party you’ve ever been to, full stop, complete with mosh pits and earplugs. Within mere minutes you go from a civilized dinner of chicken, green beans and challah,trying desperately not to spill on your white clothes to bumping into all these sweaty people and not having a care in the world.  

Camp is special to me because it’s where I have met my best friends. Truly the most dear people to my heart and we spend time together every summer. Not being able to go to camp last summer was a disappointment, to say the least. I missed out on all the campfires, ciyums, and Shabbat Shira’s that would have given me memories to hold onto forever. Kalsman enables this Jewish community that’s just so special. It’s hard to put the magic of camp into words but it starts with a simple: “Welcome Home!” 

-Zelda F. (Kesher)


Whether it’s the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, the connections you make with friends and staff from all over the world, or the undeniable feeling of community and peace, camp leaves an impact on all of our lives. We are so excited to welcome everyone home this summer in just a few weeks!