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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Camp Coleman - the place I learned to be me!

Shalom Y'all!

I have now been a rabbi for just over 13 months.  What a year it has been!  The community that I serve is amazing, wonderful, and welcoming; my family and I could not be any  happier.  Well, I would prefer a few more baby namings and no more Shiva minyanim!  Anyway, one of the GREAT benefits to being a rabbi at Temple Kol Emeth is the opportunity to return to Camp Coleman every summer and serve as a member of the faculty.  AND, Carlie gets to go with me...this summer as a "day camper," and next summer as a first year camper in Bonim - the youngest group at Camp Coleman.

It seems that every time I get ready to go to camp, I get butterflies.  I have worked at so many summer camps that I almost need 3 hands to count them!  However, there has always been and will always be a special connection to Camp Coleman.  After all, I attended camp as a camper there.  I spent several years attending SEFTY events at Coleman, and I worked for 5 summers on staff at Camp Coleman.  I do not know how many of you remember that jingle (from Showbiz Pizza originally...now Chuck E. Cheese): "...where a kid can be a kid."  I have always thought that should be the motto for Camp Coleman.

Camp Coleman is so much more than that.  At Camp Coleman, one learns who he really is and that nothing is unattainable.  This is not to say that kids never make mistakes or fail at Camp Coleman.  But, what is really special about Camp Coleman is that when you do fail or make a mistake, you are in a safe environment where you can learn from the mistakes.  Counselors, Unit Heads and all of the staff (all the way up to Bobby Harris) spend most of their day taking care of you and spending hour upon hour trying to figure out how to make your summer the greatest experience of your life.

I have so many memories from Camp Coleman.  As Carlie gets older, I will share many of my memories with her.  However, I want her to be able (and I am so excited for this) to form her own awesome memories.  I look forward to the day when Carlie says to me, "Aba, when will it be time for Camp Coleman again?"  Truth is - many of us "spend time getting by" from late August to early June...just to get to those 2 months of summer when we can return to Camp Coleman.

As I get ready to head back home this evening, I carry with me all of those memories and great times!  And, I am looking forward to making many, many more memories!

Rabbi Erin Boxt