As the weather (finally) warms up, I am constantly bombarded with people exclaiming their love of spring. But I have to say, spring is not my favorite season. With the warmth, the rain, and the increasing amounts of green, comes a feeling of nervousness. People are counting down to the end of the school year, counting up to the beginning of summer, and we all know what that means: CAMP. Ask any camp veteran and they will inevitably get a glazed over look in their eyes as they describe the ruach, the laughter, and the joy of camp. But camp is not a place of pure, unadulterated joy. There are challenges. There are fears. Acknowledging these feelings of trepidation are important; they are also crucial to enabling a successful summer. While this is my first calendar year in the role as Breira Director at Ramah Berkshires, this is my 12th summer as a Ramah staff member. I am all too familiar with the feelings of anxiety as the summer approaches.
This year has been an amazing year for me to meet so many people. Not only have I met members of the Ramah Berkshires community, but I have also had the amazing opportunity to meet other Tikvah Directors in the greater Ramah community. I have been struck with how similar our feelings are as the summer creeps closer. Across the board there are always feelings of doubt and uncertainty. There’s a part of me who always wondered if it was just me who was feeling this. Imagine my thrill when I realized I was not alone in my anxiety. Everyone always talks about how ecstatic, enthusiastic, and psyched they are about camp. I think it’s also important that we recognize the other feelings. Those feelings that we wish would just go away. By recognizing and talking about these feelings, we can prepare for a more holistic camp experience. Camp not only gives us lifelong friends and pure joy, but also the skills to deal with challenging moments. So as we count up to the first day of camp, don’t forget to acknowledge all the emotions circling around us. Ultimately, we need them all to make for a successful, invigorating, and fun Kayitz 2018.
Elizabeth Chipkin is the Director of Breira at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires