Its been a while since I wrote a letter having anything to do with Ramah and it made me realize that I should revisit this topic. It’s been three months since my camper Ari Weiss was killed in a plane crash after a vacation in Costa Rica. The first month was hard for me and that might’ve been a reason for steering away from this topic but I then thought that my campers were struggling the way I was and I need to be here for support. While this might be three months late and I still struggle to grasp this here is a letter to all my campers to know that I am always thinking about you.
The years I worked at Ramah I had three separate age groups but I also claim other campers as my campers whether I taught them, they CIT'd for me, or if they developed a relationship with me just because. I don’t know an exact number of how many campers I have so I’ll say around the number of 200.
To my campers,
Whether I was your bunk counselor, your climbing instructor, a counselor you CIT'd for, a CIT for you, or even someone you just talked to a lot you are the reason I came back to camp all these years. Being a camper at Ramah I was lucky enough to meet some of the best friends I could ever ask for. When I was a camper I was lucky enough to have a counselor for four years and many counselors for two and three years. These were the counselors I was the closest to whether I had them for one year or more and they are still people I keep in touch with to this day. Similar to each year you all return to camp without some friends I have done that as well but I have learned why I come back each year and that is because camp gave me so much and it is time to repay the place that gave me everything.
As I went from camper to counselor to rosh I saw camp in a different way each time and I hope you see that as well. I have been lucky enough to still keep in touch with my friends from my Gesher and create relationships with people of other Geshers. My advice to you is to create those relationships with people outside your eidah because you never know who you’ll find.
Camp is responsible for making me into the man I am today and it has also helped each and everyone of you whether you know it or not. A few days ago I saw many of my campers join in the march in Washington and also participate at their own school walkouts and protests. Seeing this especially at a high school age can all be traced back to camp teaching you to fight for what you believe in. When I was in high school I had to deal with anti Semitism and bullying but based on what I learned from camp I knew I had to be the bigger man and not get involved. I can say that as a college student being the bigger man was the best choice.
There are going to be times where life won’t be easy and I am here to say that it will get better. I have faced so many ups and downs and I just have to look on the bright side and just keep moving forward. You are all going to do amazing things in the future and be sure to bring passion to everything you do.
Finally to my campers who will be in Gesher this year. Since meeting many of you in 2014 when you were in Cochavim your eidah always reminded me of my eidah. As you grew up I saw the passion for camp and the fun brought in by the eidah. I know it is still hard to do this summer without Ari but I just want you all to know that he is super proud of everything you have done and will do and I know you guys will always be thinking of him this summer. I am always here for you when you need me. I know I might not be here this summer but I will try to facetime or work family camp sometime during this summer. I love you all so much and you continue to impress me every day.