Shanah Tovah – Camp Meaning in Our Year

Shanah tovah to Camp Wise campers, families, staff, alumni, and supporters!

Thank you for choosing Camp Wise for your child, for your presence in this special community that spans over 5 generations, and for investing in the Jewish future through camp. The ruach, pride, and love among our camp community made Camp Wise’s 115th summer a memorable one.

Writer Maya Angelou reminds us – “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This wisdom expresses what we try to accomplish at Camp Wise each year. While we strive to invest in amazing programs, our primary goal is affective – that campers, staff and families feel seen, heard, and find Camp Wise to be the safe Jewish place to express their authentic self.

As sad as we were for our 2022 camp season to close, we know our campers were welcomed home by excited families more eager to hear about their summer experiences than to tackle their laundry! We love that our campers returned feeling excited about the next summer (We’ve seen this already in over 310 returning registrations for 2023 in two weeks!) Now at Rosh Hashanah, a month into “back to school,” we hope our campers carry Camp Wise’s core values with them: in the hallways at school, conversations at the dinner table, at team practices, and in navigating everyday conflicts and challenges. These values can guide our spiritual work of teshuvah as well, the way we repair relationships and seek forgiveness for our mistakes. In this way, the camp experience extends beyond the summer .

Transitioning into the year involves big changes for our campers. As parents we can help ease the transition and integrate camp into the with our children is by showing genuine interest in our children’s experiences at summer camp. As parents we might have asked if they took a shower, ate vegetables, made friends, or took their allergy meds if they were sneezing. (And yes, health and safety is an area of constant focus!) But what about conversation about their camp experience and feelings? Have we reflected on the growth we’ve seen? Have we asked about the ingredients behind this powerful confidence building experience and what they learned by making lasting friendships in a cabin group? We’ve compiled some Rosh Hashanah dinner table questions that you can use to elicit feedback and stories.

  • Tell me about your favorite evening program at camp
  • Tell me about your favorite cabin activity
  • What was the theme of Maccabiah (color war)?
  • What team were you on? Did your team win?
  • What’s something new that you tried at camp this summer?
  • What are you most missing about camp this past summer?
  • What’s one thing you are already looking forward to for next summer?
  • Tell me about your favorite part of Shabbat at camp? What’s one way we can add that into our family?
  • Are there any camp friends you want to have over this year? Maybe we could host a cabin reunion? (be careful with this one!)

As we head into this new year of 5783, please know that the Camp Wise team is here to connect with you – yes, of course about your camp experience and how to continue striving for excellence, but also as a resource for yours and your children’s growth and development through the Jewish community and the Mandel JCC.

May this year be sweet, healthy, and bring increasing peace to us and our world.

Shanah Tovah!

Amy Kalk, Community Care Manager and Rabbi Dan Utley, Director, on behalf of our Camp Wise team.