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Hello! My name is Erika Rakowsky and I had the privilege of taking part of the CIT program this summer.

I guess you could say that I’m a dedicated camper because I’ve done the math and I’ve spent approximately 8 years, 15 sessions, or 735 days, give or take, at camp. I’ve spent my entire camp experience waiting to become a CIT and do the special things that only CITs get to do. My fellow CITs and I can tell you, we’d spend hours talking about what placements we’d be on, what our Maccabiah theme would be, what CIT trip might be like, what our CIT sweaters would look like and our CIT song might sound like. Suffice to say, we were crushed when we found out that camp had been cancelled. Our home away from home, our break from city life, the place we knew we could count on for unforgettable memories and new opportunities had been ripped away from us. We knew it was necessary and we knew it was to keep us and the community safe, but it still hurt….a lot.

But at the same time, I know I am extremely lucky. I am lucky because I still got to experience being a CIT in a way that was different, but fun, something that most camps didn’t do for their campers. To say that our twice weekly Zoom meetings were the highlight of my week is a bit of an understatement. Our hadracha meetings helped me understand how to be a proper staff in a fun and interactive way, and our zEPs (Zoom evening programs) gave me a break from the world we’re all collectively living in. Being a part of the CIT program helped me realize that going to camp is a privilege I seriously took for granted. Not being able to see my friends every day or just being on the campgrounds was a hard adjustment to make, but it wasn’t like I was alone. All my camp friends were experiencing the same feelings I was, and I knew I could count on them. Being away from everyone for so long helped me realize how much I loved them and camp in general.

Although I would trade my soul to be a CIT at camp, going on Zoom every week is still special for me because it’s unique just for us CITs, it’s different from what every other CIT gets to do, and that’s what makes our CIT summer so special. I am lucky to be a part of such an energetic and spirited group of CITs with amazing unit heads to help make this summer something we’ll never forget.

Saying goodbye to this weird, stressful, time we’re in is going to be easy, but clicking off Zoom at the end of our meetings for one last time isn’t. CIT SUMMER 2020 FOREVER!

-Erika Rakowsky, CIT 2020