10. Our kids aren’t the privileged city kids we think they are. Not only do they go without A/C all summer, our kids slept in tents, used port-a-potties for a month straight, walked a mile to the closest shower, drove tractors and farmed their own vegetables.
9. We have an accent. All it takes is living under one roof with Jews from Chicago, Minneapolis, Israel and Paris to realize that we may speak a little differently than others, but we are all one family.
8. Let it rain!!! Because when it does, we all gather together in one of the few truly dry shelters for a spontaneous talent show.
7. Teens’ thumbs do not fall off when they don’t use their cell phones for a month.
6. One week. That’s how long it takes someone at camp who has never prayed in Hebrew to learn most of our daily prayers. And if you ask them, they’ll tell you they didn’t study for a single minute, it was osmosis!
5. Kids need to be kids. What happens when you give kids unstructured time, a safe place to be themselves and a bunch of their peers. They look and act like kids again – and it’s the best gift we could give them.
4. Tfifloat: What happens when you are floating down a river with 18 campers and they continue a well-known camp tradition of singing the morning service. Don’t be surprised if a bald eagle soars in to pray with you.
3. Our kids have a bigger family than we think they do. We often talk about the bullying behavior among youth – but for every mistake a kid makes treating someone poorly, camp shows you that there are hundreds of moments where campers care for each other with immense compassion and empathy. They share their vulnerabilities, challenge each other and figure life out together – all while making it look easy.
2. Don’t worry about bringing up God, because they will ask you before you can get the words out – And don’t worry about proving God’s existence – nowhere is it more obvious than at camp.
1. Camp shouldn’t end with childhood. We would be a kinder, happier, more giving and more confident people if each of us got to do what our kids do at places like OSRUI, Shwayder, Sabra and Herzl every summer.