Words for the Wise – A Shabbat Message from Rabbi Dan Utley

Shabbat shalom from the Home of Happiness!

We’ve reached the final Shabbat of Trip 1! How blessed the Camp Wise community is to have shared a healthy and exciting first session of summer 2022. Looking around camp this morning I noticed tired, yet fulfilled eyes – faces full of learning and camp growth. Our campers have begun to feel the transition toward home and even have expressed some trepidation towards saying goodbye this summer.

I want to share with you a few thoughts on the subject of transitioning to home from camp. Last night our camp leadership addressed this topic with our staff members. We spoke about how transition from this session takes place on two levels: One – for our campers, who are very much on a high of social energy and connection, return home to their families needing space to decompress and support to re-enter their home lives. Two – our staff members, who feel so close to the cabin groups they’ve built, now they must say goodbye their campers and in three days time be ready and fresh to start the process over again.

To our camper families: After camp pickup you have an opportunity to intentionally support your campers as they transition from the intensity and structure of the positive camp environment to the more intimate support and loving energy of home.  Whether you’re leaving on vacation next week, just chilling at home, or helping your camper begin sports practices, a new day camp or another camp experience – it is helpful to hold space with them to name and discuss this adjustment time, rather than immediately jumping into what’s next.

Some strategies that help support a positive post-camp transition:

  • Periodically ask about highlights of the camp experience: what was fun? what’s one challenge you overcame? what did you learn? Show them you value their experience and growth at camp as real (even if you’ll never understand the inside jokes!)
  • Give your camper a journal so they can reflect privately on their experience to remember it later for themselves
  • Offer to help facilitate a reunion for their cabin or friend group (families will receive camper contact information next week!)
  • Ensure your camper reconnects with mental well-being support structures at home – therapy, workouts, healthy eating, arts, activities, etc.
  • Follow your camper’s lead – if they need downtime, space, or engaging activities – follow their cues.
  • Set healthy parameters around screen time and social media time, encourage face-face interaction with friends.
  • Compliment the positive growth you notice in your child.

Lastly – if you need any support in this transition home, please call our camp leadership– we are here to be connected with camp families year-round to support our campers’ growth and development. We are honored that you’ve chosen Camp Wise as part of your children’s summer experiences and we affirm that this sacred relationship doesn’t end with departure day.

Wishing you a Shabbat filled with joy and anticipation for this next chapter!

–Rabbi Dan


We had such a fun week in Chalutzim! We’re sad to be going home soon, but have enjoyed our last chugs and activities here at camp. We said goodbye to our supervisor Becky with a mini CW night and watched and sang along with the camp play. We also enjoyed an amazing overnight campout in tents! We’re looking forward to our last Shabbat at camp and CW night tomorrow!


Ohalim said Mazel Tov to our counseors Simon and Anna who got “married” this week! We learned all about Jewish weddings and celebrated with a hora! We are going to miss camp but are so excited to come back next summer!


We had such a fun time at the Noar car wash! Our counselors pretended to be cars and we threw condiments, pasta sauce and milk all over them and then had to wash them squeaky clean. We also had an amazing time with Rabbi Shana’s sister, Dina, where we got to practice our improv and comedy shows. Sad the session is almost over, but it’s been a blast!


The big Solel highlight was our final banquet evening – with a trip to the observatory. We also traveled this week to Pittsburgh, Ohio Pyle and Falling Waters. This shabbat is Solel shabbat!!


ILS is back in Tel Aviv after an amazing week of electives at the Kibbutz and the Sea to Sea Hike. Check out our pic here and on instagram


The SITS are making the most of their final week at camp. They finished working on their SIT project which they are so proud of. As a group, they got the chance to leave camp for an afternoon to kayak and get milkshakes, and all of them enjoyed a delicious meal during their SIT banquet, where staff they worked with throughout the session spoke to them about their accomplishments and what makes each one so amazing. It was a truly a special night. These SITS have done such an incredible job this session and the future of our staff is in good hands!