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Returning back to Tamarack Camps

By Rebecca Lewis

After the first week of being at Tamarack Camps last summer, I knew I would be returning this year. I was welcomed into a family with outstretched arms, and I finally found somewhere where I could wholly be myself, and people loved me for it. As I’m writing this, I know I sound so cliché, but the truth of the matter is that my summer at Tamarack changed me as a person. I learnt so much about myself, and I am so much better for it. One moment which I believe sums up my experience was something that happened on my second day. I told a senior staff I was cold at night, as I didn’t have a sleeping bag. He said he would sort it, and if I’m honest, he seemed unengaged, and I thought I would just have to suck up the cold. My camp has over 200 staff, yet, he went to the trouble of not only finding me a sleeping bag, but figuring out which cabin, and then which bed was mine, and put it on my bed without me knowing, with a pillow too, to make sure I felt at home and comfortable. That is camp summed up.

This year, I have been invited back to work as the Supervisor of Theatre and Dance. I feel so honoured that my camp trusts me with such a position, and I know I will face many challenges ahead, but I can’t wait to start my new Tamarack journey, and have another indescribable summer. If you are lucky enough to be going to camp this summer, take in every single moment, throw yourself into everything, and be yourself. These memories are going to stay with you for a long time. Make it count.

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You can take a read of Rebecca’s poem about her first summer at camp here.

Going to Camp JCA Shalom

By Jemma Wolff

It’s just a few weeks to go until I take up my first job at Camp JCA Shalom in Malibu, California! Working as an inclusion specialist, I’ll be responsible for providing one on one care to a camper with special needs. Having already been lucky enough to have had experience working in this field, I knew that working with young people with special needs was something I wanted to pursue during my camp experience. Thanks to Jewish Camps USA, I was able to assess all my options with minimal stress, and find a camp that worked best for me.

I have no doubt that this summer will be the most rewarding and life-changing challenge that I will ever have to face, but with a great British delegation going to camp together, I feel like camp is a challenge that I’m now ready for! I anticipate that my role will require adaptability, tolerance, organisation and an endless supply of energy, as well as commitment and, of course, teamwork.

Now seeing the other counsellors who will be working at JCA this summer via the camp Facebook group, I can’t wait to meet other young people who come from completely different cultures and backgrounds to my own. It’s strange to think right now that by the end of summer these people could be my new best friends, and who knows….in ten years time, we might be at each others’ weddings!

So all that’s left for me to do now is finally get my visa from the US embassy, confirm final plans and start the very lengthy packing process! Though I am obviously nervous, I’m sure that all my anxieties will be dispelled as soon as I get to the airport on the 9th June. I just have to trust the words of all those who have gone to camp before me, that it is too incredible to put into words. And I’m sure by the end of August, I’ll agree!

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Campus Unit Heads

Hi! I’m Gabby, the outgoing Unit Head at Birmingham – I can’t believe how quickly my time as unit head has gone! I went to Camp JCA Shalom for two fantastic summers, the first as a general counsellor and the second as an inclusion specialist. I returned from my first summer and still wanted my camp journey to continue in the UK.

I became an ambassador for JCUSA interviewing prospective applicants, helping to organise Friday night dinners and other events on campus to get people excited for camp. I came back this past September and had the honour of becoming unit head for my final year which I have absolutely loved doing! I have met some amazing people along the way and I am so excited to see where their camp journey takes them. I hope that the Birmingham delegation only grows stronger and bigger each year along with the JCUSA family growing up and down the country.

I’m Sadie and my time as the Leeds unit head has unfortunately come to an end! I went on B’nai B’rith Oregon 2 summers ago and had an amazing summer! I couldn’t return to camp the next summer but I didn’t want my JCUSA journey to be over. So I became an ambassador for Leeds where I would interview potential people for camp, I loved doing that and then had the honour of being unit head for the last year.

I have loved every second and met some amazing people along the way. Our delegation has grown massively this year and I am proud to be able to send so many people to camp this summer! I only hope our Leeds family will continue to grow bigger and bigger each year along with JCUSA!

Campus Orientation

This year we held part of our orientation day on campus in Birmingham, Nottingham and Leeds. A big thank you to all of our unit heads, ambassadors and alumni that helped to make this happen. Here are some pictures from the day…

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