Growing Into Camp – Not Out Of It
By Lillian Feldman-Hill, RN
For many people, camp is an experience of childhood, frivolity, and an escape from the drudgery of school or professional life. Even for many of our counselors, the expectation is that they will work in the summers during college, but once they have a “real job”, their time with 6 Points will expire.
But I imagine a world where people do not grow out of camp – they grow into it. In 2013, I was working as a Jewish Educator in LA when whisperings of URJ’s new specialty camp, 6 Points Sci-Tech, began floating around. I jumped on board immediately and had the distinct honor of being hired as our inaugural digital film instructor, program founder, and great grandma of today’s digital film production students. After five incredible years, I knew that for my baby program to grow and thrive, it was time for me to leave it in the capable hands of the people I’d trained over the years. I had “grown out of” my position. In my home life, too, I had found myself growing out of my career in Jewish education – not for lack of love, but simply lack of energy after seven long years of overnight NFTY events, Purim carnivals, and lock-ins. I didn’t have a plan.
In 2017, I remember sitting in the mirpa’ah (health center) with our Health Center Director and head nurse, Cindy, complaining about how I felt trapped in my job with no other training or prospects. Without missing a beat, she told me, “Lillian you’d make a great nurse!” I brushed it off. I knew people who were nurses, and I was nothing like them. But that simple comment lingered and lingered and took root in my brain, and over the course of the next off-season, I decided she was right – and away to nursing school I went!
Flash forward four years, and I’m returned to Sci-Tech, having continued to work with camp through the pandemic, as the Camp Health Director, a new but desperately needed role in our community. While other people in my life remind me that one day, I’ll “grow out of” camp and I’ll need a “real nursing job” (which I have), I simply can’t accept that anything will keep me away from camp. This is my real job. I want to show that no one has to grow out of camp. In fact, there are countless avenues of growing into camp. By learning, growing, and changing in our personal or professional lives, we can still contribute and benefit from this place our campers, and we, so badly need.
There is always a place for you in our camp family. Now, wherever you are in the future, and always.
Lillian Feldman-Hill is a Registered Nurse in Columbus, Ohio with a passion for community wellness and health justice. As a life-long Jewish camper, she has been a part of 6 Points Sci-Tech academy since its opening summer in 2014, and her role has evolved through several different positions in camp leadership.