7 min read

Shabbat-O-Gram: Week 1 2024

By AllyCKW June 28, 2024

Dear families and friends,

I love the start of camp. From the moment a summer ends, our team is working to create the next season. We spend all year working and planning to design a camp experience that will be awesome for our campers, and once camp starts, we get to watch as our ideas and plans become reality.

Campers have only been here since Sunday, but already, we feel like a family. Staff are connecting with campers as if they’ve known each other for months, and campers are developing friendships as if they’ve known each other for years. I’ve witnessed long-awaited reunions and the sparks of new friendships. It’s only been six days, but that’s so very long in camp time.

It doesn’t take long for camp to feel normal, and Monday at dinner, the first camper told me how surprised she was that she didn’t miss her phone. “I can’t believe it,” Hannah said. “I’m actually happy without it!” That’s the thing about being at camp. We’re reminded of what it means to be present. To be fully in when you’re talking to a friend. To not be distracted by likes or pings over lunch. For kids to feel like they have the full attention of those around them is so rare, and it’s one of the greatest gifts of an unplugged summer camp.

This week has gone so fast, and it’s hard to believe that just four days ago we started electives. New electives like fitness, pickleball, and ninja have been hits, and auditions for High School Musical left me in awe of our talented campers. There have been an endless number of firsts, as campers have tried out new activities, new routines, and new ways of living – like sleeping with nine other kids in the room! Wednesday night at cookout no one was expecting a skit announcing a field trip to Funtown Splashtown USA the next day, because usually we wait a little longer into the session to head out of camp. We were going for the element of surprise (and really wanted our 2-weekers to come!), and man, did it work! It was the perfect day for an amusement park, and when we returned for dinner, kids were still debating the eternal question of whether they’re “Funtown” (land rides) or “Splashtown” (waterslides). Personally, I’m all Splashtown. 🙂

I also want to take a moment to thank those of you who have reached out this past week. I am ever grateful for all the expressions of love and support from our camp families. I want to assure you that camp has been moving forward in full force, centering on the safety, well-being, and joy of your children above all else.

I appreciate that you have questions. Thank you for understanding that, in accordance to legal guidance, we are sharing only information that we can at this time. The moment we can share more we will. Please understand if I don’t get back to you as quickly as I typically would. I am doing my best to be responsive as I remain focused on the needs of your children and camp. Thank you for your partnership, trust, and support as we navigate this challenging situation.

This week, the unit of Bogrim led Shabbat, and tomorrow we’ll see the skit committee’s rendition of this week’s Torah portion, Sh’lach. This portion tells the story of Moses sending scouts into the Land of Israel to see what awaits the Israelites. Of the 12 scouts, 10 reported exaggerated accounts of giants and impossible circumstances. Only Joshua and Caleb demonstrate faith and optimism with their reports of a land flowing with milk and honey.

The Kingswood community certainly comes from the tradition of Joshua and Caleb. I am motivated by our campers and their love for this camp and for one another. I am inspired by the support of our collective community. And I am optimistic that we will move past this moment as a better and stronger Camp Kingswood. We will not hide from the challenges ahead, but we won’t let those challenges make us lose focus on our goals, our purpose and our community.

I love the start of camp, but I love what comes next even more.

Shabbat Shalom,