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STuFF: Episode 36, Summer Camp Memories

 

STuFF (Sara’s Totally Fantastic Finds) posts are our chance to post fun things, not necessarily photography-related, that we like.  Everything from interior design to recipes to music – really it’s a free-for-all and who doesn’t like that?!

This year marks 21 years since I was a CIT (Counselor-in-Training) at my summer camp.  For 7 summers from ages 8 – 15, my favorite place to be was Pinemere Camp in Stroudsburg, PA.  For anyone who’s been to Jewish overnight camp, you get it.  The friends I made, the experiences I had, the things I tried for the first time, the responsibilities I learned to take on, the confidence I gain, everything added up to the best time of my life.  I have such great memories of camp and when a friend mentioned last summer that it had been 20 years since we were CIT’s, I decided we needed to get back.  So I arranged a reunion for my CIT’s of 1991 a few weeks ago.  I hadn’t been back to camp since then so I was downright giddy to see what it looked and felt like to be back on the grounds, to see old friends and show Nick where all my camp stories came from.

The “Lower Maple” is this beautiful sprawling tree surrounded by a sitting platform.  It is the main meeting place at camp and was the spot where the entire camp would gather every Saturday morning (Shabbat Sing) to sing camp songs.  (Shabbat Shalom, Frankie & Johnny, The Cat Came Back, Mountain Dew, Rattlin’ Bog…)  I often find myself still singing these songs when I’m having a particularly good day.

Nick and I sitting at the Lower Maple.  So excited to be back at camp!!!

Pinemere was my first experience away from home.  It was scary and uncomfortable and filled with all these new things that I just didn’t know.  As a shy little girl, it was really hard to make the adjustment.  Thanks to my brother for all those hugs and talks!  But as soon as I did make the adjustment, my world opened up.  I learned that I could do things I never even imagined and I gained an unbelievable amount of confidence.  The friends I made there are some of my favorite people and reuniting with them was better than I ever imagined.  It was as if no time had passed when we met by the Lower Maple.  It was truly amazing to experience that bond all over again.  Isn’t it amazing how some friendships never change no matter how much time has passed?

We hiked up to one of the overnight camp sites for our lunch cookout.  A Pinemere camping tradition is mushburgers.  Chopped veggies mushed up with burger meat, pounded flat, and thrown on the fire.  It was just as delicious as I remembered.  On the left, Marc and his adorable son.

The making of the mushburgers.  Toby, in the blue shirt on the right, is the camp director, and was so amazing to spend the afternoon with us.  She is relatively new to camp and has really taken the traditions of Pinemere to heart.  I was so happy to hear that things I loved about camp continue to be an important part of the camp experience.

My girls!  Me, Riki and Lisa in the Rec Hall.  While we took this picture, Bunks N and O girls were scattered throughout the Rec Hall painting signs for “Sing” the next night.  Ah, the memories!

Inside the CIT unit, we found our plaque.  The gang (L to R) Me, Marc Blumberg, Lisa Wolf Levine, Eric Frank and Riki Mitzner Josepf.

In my last year as a camper, I was in Bunk O, the oldest girls bunk.  I was so excited to see the bunk especially with two of my girls who were also in the bunk with me.  The rustic bunks, screened in with rain flaps, metal twin beds, wooden bookcases and years of history.  It was fun to see who the current heartthrob was – when I was a camper I think it was Tom Cruise.

(Hope the Bunk O girls don’t kill me for posting this of their beds!  But how neat and clean is this bunk!?)  When I saw the job wheel, I giggled out loud.  Every day the wheel spins and the campers are assigned different responsibilities to keep the bunk clean.  These job wheels were my first experience with chores that made me feel like I was part of a team.  I mean, my mom and dad used to have me make my own school lunch, but cleaning the toilets in my bunk gave me a totally new perspective!  Such a great way get the bunk campers to work together, bond… and complain about that gross bathroom floor!

The whole gang with spouses and kids! (minus two kids playing in the sand nearby)

Marc, Eric, Lisa and Riki, thanks for making the trip, bringing your families and making our reunion so special.  Can’t wait to see you again soon.  25th reunion???

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