Hi there, Camp George!
My name is Rebekah and I am so thrilled to be returning to camp as the Community Care Assistant for summer 2019. My CG journey started 8 years ago, and this summer will mark my 6th full summer on staff. I have worn a number of hats throughout the years, starting with two years as a Drama Specialist, one year as Assistant Unit Head for Barak, and a year as Unit Head for Kochavim, but it wasn’t until last year that I finally landed in the Community Care department. Looking back over my 8 years affiliated with Camp George, what strikes me the most is how much my role at camp has been able to grow and change with me as I progressed through school and settled into my career.
When I first stepped off the staff bus in the summer before my first year of university, I could never have predicted the role that camp would play in my life. I hadn’t been to overnight camp as a child, and I worried about finding my way around and settling into the community. Also, having grown up in small-town Ontario, I had never been anywhere that was completely Jewish. I remember being struck by how familiar everything was, despite it being completely new. That first summer was a blur of small children, play props, sand (everywhere), and a whole lot of Taylor Swift. I left in August feeling both exhausted and exhilarated. I knew this was not going to be my last summer.
Working at camp solidified my own Jewish identity and my connection to the greater reform Jewish community. When I started my undergraduate degree at McMaster University, I began teaching religious school at Temple Anshe Sholom, allowing me to work with many of my campers throughout the year. This was my first real experience as an educator – a role I would continue to covet. When I was reaching the end of my undergrad and deciding on a career path, I remember taking a critical look at all of my past work and extracurriculars. What I found was years worth of camping experience, peppered with roles in Jewish education, mentorship, counselling, song leading, programming, and people management. Camp had not only given me a fun and safe place to explore my own Jewish identity, but it had given me a strong foundation for my teaching career.
I am currently finishing up my first year of teaching Grade 4 at a Toronto Jewish day school. I know that I would not be where I am – personally, professionally, and Jewishly – were it not for my years spent at Camp George. I am looking forward to another amazing summer!