15 Ways You Know You Went to Jewish Summer Camp
1. Havdalah makes you emotional.
Something about a campfire, slow and spirited prayers, and the smell of spices after a rel
axing weekend creates an atmosphere of strong emotions. You can’t fight it. Just give in.
2. The friends you make at camp have become your friends for life.
It’s simply a known fact. It’s rare in life to become so close to that many people in such as short period of time, so it’s no surprise that five, ten, fifteen, infinity years down the line, the people that were in your bunk are still the people you call your best friends.
3. Temporarily unplugging doesn’t make you nervous or anxious.
Most days you are glued to your phone or in front of your computer, and sometimes both simultaneously. But after so many summers of disconnecting from devices, taking the time to unplug is a welcome gift, not a source of anxiety.
4. For some reason, you have leadership skills.
Whether it was as color war captain, a bunk counselor or simply gaining the confidence to become the leader you are today, these skills have helped to shape your character, and you are definitely grateful.
5. You embrace the outdoors.*
*…but only at camp
You can’t necessarily call yourself “outdoorsy”, but you definitely understand how rewarding a beautiful view can be after a hike. Sleeping in a tent however, is still strictly an at-camp experience.
6. You’ve conquered fears.
Whether it was performing in the camp play, conquering the ropes course or finally having your chance to shine during the all camp talent show, you definitely tried something new at camp. Your biggest fear quickly became your biggest success.
7. You’ve mastered the art of teamwork.
Whether it took place during Color Wars, supporting a fellow camper during a bout of homesickness, a camp vs. camp sports rivalry, or an overnight in the woods, being a team player is a major part of who you are. And it’s a skill that has gone on to help you in just about any situation in which you find yourself.
8. You appreciate a handwritten letter.
Even though you know your mailbox will mostly be filled with junk mail or bills, you still anxiously await opening it each day hoping to find a beautiful handwritten letter from a friend. As an added bonus, you know the value of a handwritten letter- whether it’s writing a thank you to a prospective employer or simply thanking a friend for having your over.
9. You understand the importance of healthy competition.
Maccabiah. Is. Everything. And it would be nothing without some team spirit and a competitive edge. But you’ve also gained all of the sportsmanship skills you’ll ever need.
10. You can change the lyrics of any song to reflect any situation.
Truth be told, you can probably take any theme and turn it into a larger-than-life event. But you can take any song and turn it into an emotional, rhyming, spirited rendition of just about any topic you can think of.
11. You understand the importance of being a part of a community.
Whether it’s getting more involved in school activities, joining a sports team, getting involved in local Jewish life or joining a fraternity or sorority, you understand the value of being a part of community and just how great it can be to share important experiences with a bunch of like-minded people.
12. Staying in on Friday night and having dinner with friends is your favorite way to spend Shabbat.
Camp taught you about all of the ways to enjoy Shabbat, so whether it’s a Friday night dinner and board games or observing Shabbat in a more traditional way, the best way always involves good friends and good food.
13. Some of your fondest memories are of staying up all night on the last night of camp. But some of your most traumatic memories are of the last day of camp.
We all know that the last day of camp is the worst day of the year. But we also know that the last night of camp is the most exciting- staying up all night, saying farewells to your friends that you know you’ll see at camp reunion and reminiscing about the best days of summer almost make up for the fact that the summer must come to an end.
14. You think of time in two ways: camp time and real time.
Camp has a very specific and distinct timeline that defies the time-space continuum: One camp day = one real world week, one camp week = one real world month, one camp month = six real world months. But somehow, an entire summer goes so fast that it feels like one real world day.
15. No matter how long it lasted, your first real relationship was at camp.
Your first date was totally a casual Shabbat walk at camp. You learned how be a good friend and a good date, all without leaving the perimeters of camp.
No matter what Jewish camp you went to, or how long ago it was — it’s undeniable: Camp made you who you are today.