Camp love story 02.13.18

Summer Lovin-Valentine’s Day Edition- Mark & Sharon

Mark & Sharon Shapiro

JCC Camp Chi

When/how/where at camp did you meet?

Here’s a bit of our camp love story… We met at Camp Chi back in the summer of 1993. Ultimately, we worked at summer overnight camp together, fell in love, got married, and had children all because of Jewish summer camp!

We officially met prior to camp at the camp winter offices. Sharon thought this Camp Chi “newbie” was sort of invading her camp world but soon became great friends because he sure made me laugh! That summer, Sharon had been the veteran Teen Camp Director and Mark was the new Judaic Director. Then that fall, Mark became the full time Assistant Director.

The following summer, Sharon decided to not come back to camp, after +10 years at camp it was time for her to find her future husband. During the first week of camp’s first session, Sharon received a phone call from Ron Levin, the Camp Chi Director. He had just fired the current Teen Camp Director and needed her back for the last seven weeks. Honestly, Sharon was camp-sick, bored at home anyways. So, off she went back to her home away from home!

Was it love right away?

To make a long story short, from the day we first met, Mark always says he had a bit of a crush on Sharon. However, Sharon thought he was way too young for her. She thought she needed a future husband who was established with a fancy professional job – not a camp guy. Thankfully, sweet Mark never gave up.

Ending up back at Chi that summer, there, she realized this incredible guy has been right in front of me all this time. Summer after summer after summer, we went to camp together, 23 summers for Sharon and 13 for Mark.

Do you find that your time at camp has influenced your relationship/marriage/family?

In every possible way!  We speak camp. We live on camp time. We parent our children as we trained the counselors to. We only do laundry on Wednesdays. And we openly cheer when we find out that it’s grilled cheese and tomato soup day!  We rarely have plans with our friends. Instead, we have evening programs!

Did you have any camp themed thing at your wedding?

Knowing our love for camp, my in-laws threw us a camp themed rehearsal dinner.  All the guests visited the canteen on their way in the restaurant and got a Camp Mark & Sharon logoed baseball cap. The event began with a great camp Havdallah surrounded by all our camp friends.  As most nights at camp end, our prenuptial dinner concluded with a spirited song session around an indoor “campfire”.  In the spirit of L’dor V’dor, our daughter Carli’s Bat Mitzvah was themed “Camp Carli”.

Do you send your kids to camp?

While our two daughters spent their first 4 and 6 years at Camp Chi, they grew up at another wonderful JCC overnight summer camp, Camp Interlaken JCC for the rest of their summers. We’re grateful that Carli and Sophie love camp so much and will be counselors together at Camp Interlaken this coming summer. We truly believe camp is in their blood!

The Shapiro Family in the early 2000’s at Camp Chi!
Mark, Sharon and their daughters today.