You know you’re doing something right when children are excited about a road. It’s literally just a road. It’s not Main Street at Disneyland (although to many it feels like it). To some, Jordan Road is simply a few miles of winding pavement connecting the outside to a random camp they may not know is there. To others, it’s so much more.
For 16 years Jordan Road has brought thousands of people — from campers and their families to staff and community members – home to the URJ Camp Kalsman. They come from as close as Marysville to as far as Masada. As you turn on to Jordan Road heading Home at the beginning of the summer it feels like the longest drive ever – anticipation and excitement building – and as you leave camp, the drive couldn’t feel shorter, longing to go back.
I’ve driven the road countless times, and as I get older my experience has evolved. So has my relationship with camp. I’ve seen camp from all perspectives: from a first year Coogarim camper who didn’t know what this place would eventually mean to me to a member of the Leadership Team, leading my own staff and supervising an entire area of camp. I owe a lot to Jordan Road, and the camp at the end of it, for making me the person I am today.
As a young camper, I conquered my fear of heights climbing the tower and developed my love for Shabbat Shira. I deepened relationships and made everlasting memories over the years, impersonating a boy band at the talent show with friends or simply sitting in the Quad enjoying the company of others and the scenery around us.
Then one day I was the one behind the steering wheel cruising down Jordan Road and everything changed. I started to see camp from a new, exciting, perspective: behind the scenes. I was the one planning programs. I was the one songleading daily services and song sessions for hundreds of people, pushing myself out of my comfort zone and becoming stronger because of it. Most recently, I was the one making schedules and overseeing other people running programs, all in an effort to help others experience the magic of camp like I have for so many years.
Through it all, the Kalsman community has always been there, offering a laugh, a hug or some good vibes when I needed it most. It’s been a constant just like my love for these people and this place.
Every summer at camp we sing John Denver’s “Country Roads,” replacing the original lyrics with “Jordan Road, take me home / To the place I belong / Camp Kalsman, in the mountains / Take me home, Jordan Road.” We sing it on Opening Day and scream it on Closing Day. We sing it at Saturday evening campfires and at any other chance we have. It’s the anthem of Camp Kalsman, and I’m so glad it is. Thank you, Jordan Road, for welcoming me home again this summer. I can’t wait for others to arrive.
By: Adam Flash, Head of Communications