By: Maya Mendell, Alumna
My connection with Camp George is lifelong, and my memories of camp are something that I will happily reflect on for the rest of my life. Going to camp for 9 years has left Camp George with a very special place in my heart. Even as a Camp George alum, when I think of summer, I picture those summers I spent on Maple Lake with my closest friends, surrounded by beautiful nature. At camp, I made endless connections; to friends, to staff members, to nature and to Judaism. Although I have moved on from my summers at camp, the connections and skills that camp taught me are part of every aspect of my life.
Before arriving at camp as a Lehavot camper, I was extremely nervous, but excited for my first summer at overnight camp. After arriving, I immediately felt at home amongst my new friends, amazing staff members, and on a lake that continues to mean so much to me. I made lifelong friends at camp, friends that have been there for me for years and that I consider to be my family. I feel endlessly connected to those that I shared my summers with, whether it be in a cabin, in a unit, counselors or eventually campers of my own. I am extremely thankful for the memories that I created at camp, and those connections are some that will never fade.
Growing up at camp also strengthened my connection to Judaism. Camp is the place where I feel my most Jewish. At camp, I was surrounded by amazing Jewish role models, and by beautiful Jewish spaces in nature. I have come to have such an intense appreciation for the Jewish services, Jewish programming and Jewish role models that I was exposed to, something that eventually led me to become a Jewish leader in my own community. Camp George taught me that although Judaism looks different for different people, we all share some common ground, and this community is one where I feel right at home.
Not only did my summers on Maple Lake strengthen my connection to Judaism, they also strengthened my connection to leadership in my community. After graduating from a camper to a C.I.T. and eventually to a senior counselor and Cornerstone fellow, camp taught me the skills to be a positive role model and leader in my own community. Being a counselor especially, taught how to work as a team with my co-counselors to create a space where all my campers feel that they can truly be themselves. Creating that space for campers means that they can experience summers as great as I did when I was their age. These experiences of being a counselor have stuck with me, and I am hoping to go into a career that involves working with children. Camp instilled in me the passion for helping and working with others and for that, I am extremely grateful.
My lifelong connection to Camp George is something that I cherish immensely. Camp encouraged me to be open to new experiences and as a result, I met some of my best friends at camp and created some of my best memories, all on Maple Lake. For me, camp is a constant reminder of the relationships I created, the friends I made, and the leader I have become. Without camp, I wouldn’t be the person that I am today.
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