100 Reasons Why We Love Camp Wise

By: Maya Cohen

Thank you to all of our campers, staff, alumni, and parents for contributing their “reasons why” for this blog post!

  1. It’s where I met my best friends, discovered who I really am, and how to embrace everything that is great in life 
  2. I feel welcomed and accepted for who I am as a person
  3. I have met friends from out-of-state that I wouldn’t have met otherwise and only get to see during the summer 
  4. Sitting in the chapel on Friday nights and Saturday mornings, looking up at the canopy of trees, makes me feel at peace
  5. Saturday lunch dance party is one of the greatest parts of the week at camp where everyone lets loose and has fun — from the popcorn dance to sandstorm to time warp and ba kalil
  6. It introduced me to counselors that have remained lifelong friends and mentors
  7. It helped me overcome my fear of thunderstorms because I had friends and counselors who helped me find ways to feel safe and actually enjoy being stuck in a cabin together
  8. It’s a place where I can meet new people every summer from around the world and learn about different cultures, religions, and lifestyles
  9. It is the place I love going to where I can unplug and escape the pressures of social media
  10. I have the opportunity to make new connections with staff and campers each summer
  11. We have a cheer for everything – and our ruach (spirit) for things big and small is off the charts
  12.  Our nightly village campfires give us space to have meaningful conversations with our friends and counselors and reflect on the experiences we are having at camp and how to carry them with us all year
  13. It’s the only place in the world where I can jump, flail, and scream…and it’s encouraged
  14. As soon as you get off the bus on the first day of the session, you feel home
  15. The incredible staff and year round team make camp a safe, welcoming, and incredible place for campers
  16. I can let go of the “outside world” for a second and focus on just being present at camp 
  17. It gives me an opportunity to spend time with people whom I feel comfortable being myself with
  18. It’s a place for me to be silly and I get to witness my campers feel that same safe space to be themselves
  19. It’s a way for me to press the pause button on using technology and instead just connect with people face-to-face 
  20. I can learn about Jewish values and Israel in a way that is meaningful to me
  21. It’s my second home and family and I feel comfortable talking to anyone there
  22. It’s where I can try cool, new activities I wouldn’t otherwise try or have the opportunity to do 
  23. On any given day, somebody in the Chadar can randomly stand up on their bench and start cheering, and suddenly every cabin is up on their feet cheering at the top of their lungs
  24. Spirit Circle on Friday nights in the Chadar makes the entire ground shake from everyone stomping their feet and going crazy
  25. During Maccabiah, campers and staff come together across villages (even if they didn’t know each other the day before) and cheer each other on in order to try and help their team win
  26. No one will judge you for eating your ninth quesadilla
  27. When I’m there, I’m the best version of myself and try to embrace that version throughout the rest of the year
  28. I get to spend my summers surrounded by nature and have the opportunity to explore it
  29. I’ve stuck around long enough to watch my past campers grow up and become incredible SITs, staff, and supervisors
  30. It shaped who I am as a leader, friend, community member, and Jew
  31. It taught me to celebrate every good moment, no matter how small it may seem at the time
  32.  The energy on the first day of camp in the Chadar is unmatched
  33.  Intricate costumes can be made for any occasion if you just spend a few hours at the Art Shack
  34.  Singing prayers like Hamotzi and Birkat Hamazon at camp is more meaningful and fun…and, you know you’ve really made it in the CW world, when you can do the Birkat Hamazon from the loft
  35.  CW lifers and songleaders teach us new songs and traditions that leave a lasting impact on camp
  36.  We welcome visitors and guests to camp in the most excited, celebratory way
  37.  Shabbat walks to the chapel with family and friends bring back such fond memories
  38.  Our alumni carry the CW spirit with them and continue to care about and help camp as much as possible
  39.  You learn how to create a program, lead it, and communicate and work with others
  40.  Skits can last either 45 minutes or 10 minutes…there’s no in between
  41.  You get to go on day trips and create experiences that you might’ve never experienced before
  42. You can make a purple soup with your village at 7:45 a.m.
  43.  All of the amazing staff who planned virtual programming for us these past few months went above and beyond for the CW community
  44. Maccabiah breaks
  45.  Shabbat is a really special part of the week where you can spend time with your siblings, cousins, and friends from another village or cabin
  46.  Everyone gets to play a part in leading Shabbat with their village and be on a planning committee–from decorations to interpretive dance, creative writings, singing and more (shout out to the pageant committee from summers past)
  47. You can dance AND shower in the rain
  48. You learn the craft of how to toss a water balloon over 20 times without it breaking
  49.  You can play gaga until the sun goes down, and as soon as the sun comes up
  50.  You can get stuck inside your cabin for hours during a storm and have several dance parties, play cards, learn new games, write letters home and be in the best company
  51.  Friendship bracelets are the camp currency, and I love learning how to make new designs
  52.  I feel free during crazy-go-nuts and paint party evening programs 
  53.  Alright, alright, alright — okay, okay, okay — alright, okay — okay, alright, let’s WALK to breakfast (never happens, we always run)
  54.  The walk down to and up from the lake is a chug in itself…and lake lifers love it
  55.  I feel confident to get up in front of 500 people and sing a song, dance, or perform a skit or musical which is something I’ve never done anywhere else
  56.  Tie-dying in the art shack is never a clean endeavor, and I’m always the one with an ocean of dye under my shirt
  57.  Long Solel bus rides with 14 different movies/TV shows, deep conversations, and napping make every trip worth it
  58.  Shabbat dinner isn’t complete without eating delicious strawberry shortcake or red jello and whipped cream
  59.  There’s a certain kind of feeling you get when the bus turns onto Taylor Wells Road that you don’t feel anywhere else — the anticipation of an incredible summer that’s about to begin
  60.  You can debate, on a daily basis, whether potato bar is a meal…and it is
  61.  There’s no such thing as a short song session…the longer the encore, the better 
  62.  Day trips to the pencil factory are unforgettable
  63.  When you get through instructional swim on a cold morning, you know you’re a true Camp Wiser
  64.  There’s never a meal without a meeting at the picnic tables outside of the Chadar 
  66.  There’s nothing like jumping in the pool with all of your friends on the hottest day of the summer
  67.  Canteen in the the little red wagon is an iconic camp experience
  68.  Shabbat prep is a time when you and all of your cabinmates are together, helping each other get ready, and blasting music
  69.  Getting mail delivered to your cabin at rest hour is like winning the lottery
  70.  It’s the best place on the planet for stargazing
  71.  Whenever there’s something new in canteen, it’s all anyone can talk about
  72.  Late night homemade chipwiches are the best
  73.  Bunk night, the first night of camp, is always buzzing with excitement and electricity…and always ends with scream and runs
  74.  When it rains, we know how to make the best of it even if we’re carrying 100 benches to the gym so we can celebrate Shabbat together
  75.  Cleaning the Chadar after meals is a rite of passage
  76.  Sometimes we get into “pizza trouble”
  77.  Shabbatones always put on a incredible show
  78.  You can sing “Love Story” by Taylor Swift 18 times a week and never get sick of it
  79.  I can learn a new card game on the first day and then it’s the only game we play for the rest of the session
  80.  When a program gets rained out, our staff always find some way to improvise and make it a night we will remember
  81.  Chicken tenders and fries for dinner….enough said
  82.  Wednesday night village cookouts brought our village together like a giant family
  83.  Overnights are always an adventure, even if it storms and you end up in the moadon
  84.  Running the Great Race during Maccabiah is an epic experience you never forget
  85.  It’s where being Jewish is cool
  86.  I can spend all of Chofesh walking to and from the Chadar with my friends to get an apple 
  87.  There’s always a debate on whether we should play Queen and the Soldier or not
  88.  When you wake up on the 4th of July, you’re waking up because staff are blasting music from a truck driving all around camp
  89.  Our incredible kitchen and maintenance staff go above and beyond to make sure camp is safe and our bellies are full 
  90.  These past few months and learning how to live through a summer without camp have taught us the importance of our camp friends and community and to never forget our incredible experiences together at camp
  91.  You can wear a trash bag or a duct tape hat and call it fashion
  92.  CW night gives us space to reflect on an amazing summer together before it all ends
  93.  Outdoor cooking is the best fourth meal of the day
  94.  It’s a place where I am “free to be me” (and you, you)
  95.  The wishing rock is always there for us
  96.  The anticipation when you know Maccabiah is about to break
  97.  It’s where the wise kids go
  98.  It creates lifelong friendships that we wouldn’t be the same without
  99.  It taught me how to be unapologetically myself and raised my expectations of the person I could be
  100. It has been our Home of Happiness since 1907

Click here to donate to the philanthropic efforts to support and stabilize Camp Wise’s financial condition at this time. Every donation counts to help ensure we can provide many more life-changing Jewish summers for our campers and staff. Currently, all donations from our community will be matched through the All Together Now matching grant program, made possible through JCamp 180, a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.