By Sandi Smith.
As the Spring is almost here, and the snow has finally melted, I think about summer and Camp George. My first thoughts are practical ones – has the ice on the lake melted and what will be the water temperature when the kids do their swim tests? Those thoughts are quickly replaced by something more philosophical – how important Camp George has been in our children’s lives and the impact the Camp George experience makes on all kids who attend camp.
When our sons were younger we were looking for a camp that provided a deeper Jewish connection and experience, a place where they could feel secure, make life long friendships and celebrate their Judaism. The summer before we were thinking about overnight camp, we headed up north to Parry Sound on Visitor’s day to see the camp in action. The site was very picturesque with a beautiful waterfront and activities, modern cabins and many land sports activities. My two oldest sons were excited but nervous with the possibility of attending camp the following summer for one month.
Those first nervous days seem long ago but both the parents and children have never regretted that day. For the last 13 years our sons have attended camp as campers, CIT’s, staff, heads of specialties and assistant unit heads. Camp is a part of their lives during the summer where they have grown up, connected to their Jewish community and have an acquired a seemingly life full of memories. During the rest of the year they stay connected with their friends through both our synagogue’s and Reform movement’s youth programs and continue to make Jewish memories. My husband and I also have connected with the Camp George community and are both actively involved as Vice Chairs of Development and the Steering Committee. We call George our home and our community.
Camp George is our Reform community camp. It’s the place where our kids make their connections with friends and Judaism and when they get older and depart from camp for the last summer they will come to the community as engaged Jews.