TEEN TOPICS | July 26, 2013

by Alex Koby

Beber Camp is my home away from home where I enjoy spending my summers. When I first arrived at Beber, I instantly felt at home. I bonded so quickly with all the people in my cabin. After being around my cabin mates for just a week, I felt like my cabin was one big family. I am so close and have such a special bond with some of them that I can talk about anything in the world with them.

When I’m not at camp, I’m constantly talking with my camp friends on Skype, or communicating with them in other ways. I am always hanging out with my camp friends who are from Louisville.

I have also been lucky enough to have some of the most influential and inspirational counselors that have taught me so much about life. They make me want to become a counselor some day so that I can impact campers lives the way they impacted mine.

When I’m not with my cabin during camp, I’m participating in hobbies of my choice. Camp is one of the only places where I have the opportunity to water ski and play gaga.

Beber has really great staff from all over the world that all add their own touches to the hobbies. I always love getting to know the staff and hearing their stories, and it gives you another perspective on things.

Another special thing about camp is Judaism. On Shabbat we take a day off from hobbies and remember that we’re all Jewish. We have deep conversations about what Judaism means to us, and it’s really meaningful because everyone is of a different stream of Judaism and comes from a different background, but we know nobody is going to judge another because we have that bond between us. It’s that bond that makes camp such a special place to me and has kept me coming back year after year.

BBYO Chapter Leadership Training Conference

by Emily Schulman

CLTC 2 (Chapter Leadership Training Conference) was literally the best 12 days of my entire life! CLTC is an international program that lasts 12 days. Everyone told me before I went, just put yourself out there and find yourself!

From crying all night, to people I just met, to laughing forever, as if we had known each other our whole lives, I can honestly say I started the journey of finding myself as Emily Blair Schulman, as a leader, and as a member of BBYO!

The very first day I met so many people who were strangers, and I thought, how will I ever make a best friend – and then I made tons. The third day I put myself out there with a girl I had just met, and planned morning services! We were the first to do so!

Throughout the week I ran for positions, talked about being Jewish, and gained tons of ideas to bring home to my home chapter of BBYO, Jay Levine BBG, #1508.

What is a day at CLTC normally like?

Well, in the morning, you can go to optional morning services, which I recommend! Then you have rotations that talk about what Judaism is, how to be a leader, how to find yourself, and different aspects of BBYO that you should know about!

After lunch, you have a program, and have mock chapter planning time (where you plan your chapter’s program and talk more in depth about BBYO stuff). My mock chapter was named Achayot, meaning sisters in Hebrew.

Finally, you have chofesh, which is free time! You can swim, hang out, play sports, and each chapter even planned a fundraiser that was held during this time for a cause of their choice! Then you have some more programs, dinner and shira, which is a song session! Then, after a long day, you go to bed!

One of the programs that stood out to me was on bullying! It was shocking to hear all the stories of things people had gone through!

CLTC is an amazing learning experience, and it is all done while making friends that could possibly be in your wedding, and memories that will stay with you until you die! I could go on forever about those amazing 12 days, but you just have to go to really understand! I don’t know where I would be with out starting my summer off in dorm room D of suite 32 at Bethany College, in Bethany, WV!

Camp Livingston
by Maddy Geer

Camp Livingston is my home away from home. This summer I got to enjoy it in a whole different way. This year I attended the Adventures Unlimited program (also known as AU). AU is a program for kids going into 10th grade; you travel to different states and do adventurous activities with some of your closest friends.

Our first trip was to Lake Michigan in Indiana Dunes State Park. We hiked and relaxed on the beach. On our second trip we went to Red River Gorge in Kentucky. Here we rappelled, climbed, and hiked five miles with our backpacks. Although it was difficult we all made it to the end with a smile on our faces. Our last trip was to ACE in West Virginia. Here we mountain biked, white water rafted, played paintball, and enjoyed a day in the lake.

On all the trips we also cooked our own meals over a fire we built and pitched our own tents. Not only was this experience amazing because of the activities, but what made it over the top was the bonds that we all built with our friends that we didn’t think we could get closer to.

AU has been the best summer yet and I can’t wait to have more amazing summers at Camp Livingston!

My Experience as a JCC Camp Counselor

by Ben Humphrey

Nearing the end of the school year, I was thinking about what kind of job I wanted to have for the summer. I thought, maybe go back to working at an ice-cream parlor, look for an internship, or work at a retail store. I mulled these ideas over for the better part of a month and hadn’t really made any progress in eliminating options.

Then one day I get a call from my mom saying I should work at JCC summer camp; honestly I told her I would apply so I could get her off the phone. After having worked at the JCC for six weeks, I can say that had she not given me the idea to be a camp counselor, my summer would have been much less exciting.

Every single day at camp has a surprise factor to it. Which camper is going to decide they want to be my best friend for the day? Is it actually going to rain, or is this cloud just going to hang here all day? And most importantly, what did mom pack for lunch today? Every day I come in to work curious as to how the day will pan out.

Every week I get a new set of campers and every week it’s an entirely new dynamic, even if we get some returning campers. It’s incredible to see how kids will interact completely differently when there are three boys in the group versus four.

Having a group of campers hasn’t just been a job for me; I come into work every day ready to play. My campers and I have the best time every day. It’s just one big party. I have met some of the sweetest and most thoughtful kids I could have ever met. I get to hear all of their goofy stories on Monday morning from their weekends and how their little brother fell and scraped his arm up, and honestly I couldn’t be happier to get to hear about it.

I have to say that had I been working at an ice cream parlor, an internship or a retail store this summer I wouldn’t have had even a quarter of the fun that I have had this summer. With only two weeks left at camp I can honestly say I’m sad to see it go so soon and will miss all of my campers when I’m back at school. But at the same time I’m excited to see what’s in store for the last few weeks because like I said every day is a surprise at Camp Keff.

My Experience as a JCC Camp Counselor

by Louis Rosenbaum

This is my first summer in Louisville, and working at the JCC summer camps has been an excellent way to settle into the city.

I grew up in a predominately Jewish suburb on the east side of Cleveland. Last year, when my parents told their friends that they were relocating, Jewish life in Louisville was a popular topic of conversation.

As is typical, both my maternal and paternal lineage is rooted in Cleveland, a trait common among may Jewish families in the city. So, naturally, many of my peers were baffled by the move. When I decided I would spend this summer in Louisville, I had no idea what to expect.

What I found is a city that embraces diversity, and a Jewish community that is well integrated and established. The JCC camps cater to a wide variety of children and staff, gaining respect throughout Louisville.

These summer camps truly compose one diverse community centered around Jewish values. It is fun to watch children of different cultural backgrounds learn about Shabbat and Jewish tradition. It provides a lesson in teaching and learning, as well as early exposure to acceptance of differences.

As a staff member, the camp management is very accommodating and appreciative.

I came to Louisville and the JCC with no preconceived notions. When I leave, I will be able to recommend these camps to any family or potential staff member as an excellent way to spend a summer.

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