My CGConnection is international! I began attending Camp George in 2002. I went through Lehavot, Kochavim, Barack and C.I.T. units, eventually becoming staff and spending 2 summers as a Unit Head. I made friendships that lasted summer after summer, many of which have remained to this day. Although I grew up and still live in Ontario where Camp George is located, these friendships have helped me see the world! I have visited camp friends across the globe, allowing the connections I built at camp to transcend 45 Goodfellowship road. Here are a few of those stories!
In 2011 I went on a URJ Kesher Birthright-Israel trip. After spending so many years at camp and participating in NFTY, I knew my Israel experience would be most meaningful if I was able to go with young adults from across North America who had similar experiences as me. This turned out to be a wise choice. Of the 22 young adults on my trip, five were other Camp George Alumni! I had an amazing time exploring Israel with old camp friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen in years. Not only that, but 2 Shinshinim (Israeli staff) that I had worked with during previous summers came to meet me at one of the hotels and we caught up over ice cream on a hot Israeli day. This trip allowed me to reconnect with camp friends halfway around the world and made the experience even more incredible.
In 2013, I spent a semester of university abroad in Melbourne Australia. On my first weekend in Australia, a former CG staff invited me to her house for Shabbat dinner. It was a perfect way to being my trip, allowing me to settle into a new country, while reminding me of home and of my home on Maple Lake. We lit candles, said blessings and ate a wonderful meal, all while catching up! Immersing myself in a new culture, with family and friends far away was challenging, but knowing I had a camp connection with me on the other side of the globe made the transition so much easier.
Most recently, a camp friend began a year of travel around the world. As she was planning her trip, I knew it would be a fun chance to explore a new country and visit her along her journey. When she decided to travel to South America, a longtime bucket list location of mine, I knew I had to join her. We spent a week exploring Argentina and Chile and trying to explain to the people we met that we were childhood friends from different countries (she’s American). It was an amazing way to connect with a long-time friend by continuing to create memories and try new things, even after we stopped coming to camp each summer.
The network of CG Alumni is strong and diverse. While all my amazing years at camp have made me who I am, it is my long-standing friendships that are most present in my day-to-day life. I am grateful for all the connections Camp George has created for me; to Judaism, to Maple Lake and most importantly to friends across the world!