Overnight camps are far more than a summer indulgence.
DEBRA B. DARVICK
Special to the Jewish News
onfiden-ce. Jewish identity.
Mastery of new skills.
Summer camp experiences provide
all these and more.
Campers of all ages talk about
camp with great nostalgia. Freed
from parents' watchful eyes yet pro-
tected by camp rules, campers
uncover hidden talents and interests.
They blossom at camp in ways
almost impossible the rest of the
year. To talk to any adult who
attended camp year after year — one
interviewee called them recidivists
— is to hear tales of heaven on
Ellen Yashinsky-Chute, director of
clinical services for Jewish Family
marry; they just take them as they
Service, understands the profound
are for that period of time.
impact summer camp has on a
"Most camps are structured so that
child's development. "Independence
kids are busy and have little time to
is number one," she says.
act out, yet they have an
"Kids learn from camp
opportunity every year
that they are able to
to fully explore all of
On USY Outdoor
function using their own
who they are. And they
do this in an environ-
Zwickl, Alicia Harvey,
"Second, they learn
ment where that's what
that they can get what
the kids are doing.
Elisa Schwarz, Mindy
they need from people
It's really extraordinary."
Sher and liana Levine
other than their immedi-
reached the top of
"Being at summer •
Nebagamon, a boys
Mt. Fremont in Mt.
camp is unlike anything
camp in Lake
Ranier National Park.
else in life," Yashinsky-
Nebagamon, Wis., from
Chute explains. "It gives
sixth to ninth grade. "I
kids a chance to be with
was a shy kid, certainly
people who have no preset expecta-
in those early years at camp, and it
tions of them ... [Counselors] don't
gave me the opportunity to choose
care if they go to college or if they
my own activities," he remembers.
"[Being at camp] is often the first
time that a parent or teacher isn't
scripting your day. You learn about
yourself. Are you going to do the
same thing every day or are you
going to try out new activities and
broaden your horizons?"
When a counselor suggested that
Michael try doing something with-
out his friends from home, he
learned that branching out made the
camping experience "tenfold better."
Goldberg, of Bloomfield Township
and now a history/education junior
at Oakland University, returned to
Nebagamon as a counselor in 2001
and 2002. His experiences working
with campers had a direct impact on
his choice of career.
Dif erent Lessons
"Being a counselor was a huge chal-