For the past six years, I have been lucky enough to spend my summers at URJ Eisner Camp, and, as you know, next summer I will be a counselor in training. When I think about my next role in camp, I reflect on the relationships I have—not only my friends but with you, my counselors.
Back in 2012, during my first summer at camp, I spent the first three nights feeling extremely homesick, as this was the longest I had ever been away from my parents. One night, I decided to walk over to my bunk counselor’s bed, and let her know how I was feeling. She had me lay down with her and kept me company the rest of the night. Although it has been a little more than seven years, I still remember this night vividly — the night I started to feel comfortable at camp, bringing me back for many years after. And while nights like those might seem insignificant for you, they made my camp experience.
Being a counselor is stressful, but no matter how challenging things were, you were all always so strong. As a counselor, responsible for a group of young campers, you need to be “on” at every moment of the day. Campers have various problems all the time, and you guys take these into your own hands, while also dealing with your own issues. This is something I have always appreciated.
It has been the little things—singing us “Pooh’s Corner” or teaching us the power of silence while hiking—that have been most special. I remember one Saturday night at a “l’dor l’dor” Havdalah, our past counselors came to join us and spoke about their own camp experiences. It was at that moment that I realized we are one big connected family, and although at times those bonds may become quieter, we will always have the summers we spent together.
To me, my counselors are perfect, flaws and all. Every word you said, song you sang, activity you lead, hug you gave, joke you made and love you gave me, I appreciate it all.
I wish that each one of you knew just how much you mean to me. Whether you were my counselor my first or last year, you have my an impact on me and I will strive to carry on what you have given to me. You would wear crazy outfits and ROCK them, showing me that you don’t have to follow the crowd because being different is awesome. I learned how to be silly, while also being able to stay serious, and you have taught me not to be defined by my mistakes. Each of you has been my role models, shoulders to cry on and people to laugh with. With this, you have also shown me how to be the best possible version of myself, and to always look out for others. Soon I will be a counselor and I hope to give my future campers what all of you have given to me.
Halle Sisenwine is a rising junior at Gann Academy in Boston.