Jan 9, 2013
Summer's Impact on My Son

From the COLlive inbox: A Shliach writes how an Chabad overnight summer camp has impacted his son, a first-time camper.

Dear Rabbis Shemtov and Futerfas and the entire Camp Gan Israel Parksville staff,

This thank you is late in coming but fresh in concept.

Thank you very much for accepting our son to camp this past summer and for making the necessary accommodations.

It was his first time in a mainstream overnight camp and he had a wonderful experience. His counselors, learning teacher, personal aide and general camp staff allowed him to have a regular camp experience, and that is what made it so wonderful.

Perhaps the staff were not in the position to see it, but as his parents we speak of the 'before' and 'after' of this summer.

He came back from camp and is more responsible and cooperative in all aspects of life. He takes the initiative in taking steps forward and assuming new elements in life. His interaction with his peers is improved as a direct result of being with a bunch of kids that just treated him and expected of him as another camper.

Last week we had his annual review at his school, where we sit with his teachers and therapists and review the past year and set goals for the future year. Without any initiating on our part, his teachers and therapists were 'Peh Echad' of how different our son was after the summer in comparison with his situation when the previous school year ended, and how far he came over the summer months.

It is a difference that they see every day in the classroom and in his interactions. They were in complete agreement that it is to be attributed to his time at Camp Gan Israel Parksville.

Thank you again for what you might have considered to be a small favor, but for our son has made a tremendous impact.

Very appreciate parents

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Opinions and Comments
Perhaps you should thank the counselor and other staff members by name as they most likely had more of a direct impact on your sons daily camp experience than the camp director.
(1/9/2013 6:46:39 PM)
what a summer can do!
(1/9/2013 6:47:55 PM)
what about all the damaged kids?
were quick to blame teachers. do you not think seventeen yer old counselors, without experience or supervision, could do more damage?
a hurting parent
(1/9/2013 7:17:35 PM)
So true....
the best days of my life where in camp, i cant wait until my son is old enough to go to camp
(1/9/2013 7:25:06 PM)
We sent our son to Gan Yisroel NY for the past 2 summers.
He loved every second. His Chayus & Chasidishkeit grew - we can't wait for another summer
(1/9/2013 8:19:46 PM)
something for directors to think about
we need to re assess visiting day and its pros and cons. the cost to parents, the heartache for boys whose parents can't come or who don't have a parent r"l, and the difficult days staff have resettling campers after visiting day. hakaras hatov (tipping) is a big part of visiting day which camps can set up in advance through on line payments or as part of tuition. per haps there should be one optional visiting day on the change over day between two sessions where parents can visit kids who are staying for two months.just because something was always done a certain way, doesn't make that the best way. there's always room for change that brings improvement.
(1/9/2013 8:25:05 PM)
Something else to think about
Young energetic counselors start out enthusiastic but by the second month many are burnt out and have patience for the kids. The counselor that was a barrel of fun the first month becomes bitter and angry the second month. Not all of course but plenty. What can you expect from young kids taking care of other kids for weeks on end. At least shift them around to different bunks for the second month.
(1/9/2013 9:14:37 PM)
#6 Amazed
your idea is ingenues and i would love to send my kids to your camp....oh wait you obviously don't run a camp and never will with your ideas
(1/9/2013 9:51:40 PM)
#8 brilliant i support
#6 so your saying send your young kids to an overnight camp for 1-2 months and be like.. well..i might visit you once and have a nice time:)
im sure the kids would take to that
you dont want the kids coming home after 2 months "who are you again?" (exaggerated but you get the point)
and btw visiting day os kind of a little vacation for the staff with some time off and possibly money
Note to Parents: if you do visit your kid and you do meet the counselor learning teacher etc.. TIP THEM right there and then don't say "well ill wait till the end when we can see how the summer was
they do feel let down if you meet them and they get nothing especially when you say "oh my son loves you, your his favorite counselor of all time...(no tip...AKWARD!!)
(1/9/2013 11:25:56 PM)
to #8
What camps are you familiar with? #6 is actually describing how most overnight camps work. Go check it out before you dismiss. I'm not going to send my son until our camps get with times.
-A Die Hard Camper :-(
(1/10/2013 12:17:08 AM)
#6 thumbs up
gr8 idea i'm all for it. an optional on visiting day will do wonders and really 4 weeks isnt such a long time to be away from hm. all camps shud do it and it will become the new norm
#8 go learn perek lamed beis :P
(1/10/2013 4:38:16 AM)
credit to Ari raskin
Was your son in NOD? If so, he deffinatley deserves some credit. A real breath of fresh air for parksvile, and a real quality bochur overall!!!
(1/10/2013 8:58:55 AM)
on staff tipping
For those of you who advocate tipping staff. Please be aware that the American Camp Association policy does not allow families to tip staff. Counselors are (suppose to be) professionals who are dedicated to serving every camper equally during the summer and it's impossible for a staff person not to provide preferential treatment for a child whose parents gave them a "big tip" on visiting day.
With this being said, our camps should be paying their staff a fair wage and stop exploiting our young people in the name of "shlichus." BTW, there is a place for volunteerism but not for 8 WEEKS WITHOUT ANY DAYS OFF.
(1/10/2013 10:04:04 AM)
BJJ Teen Camp
My granddaughter came back from a month at the BJJ Teen Camp far more mature than before! It had a wonderful influence on her, both in organization skills and responsibility, and in ruchnius. Sarah Hecht is doing a great job!
(1/10/2013 12:03:36 PM)
on camp in general
camps should start on sundays and end on sundays it will be much better for people who have a job, and live out of town and have to take off from work to drop off or pick up campers.
especially since camp tuition keeps on going up and up
making it harder for parents to afford to send there children
to camp we need to work that extra day to afford the increase
(1/10/2013 12:49:52 PM)
go Yaakov
Thanks for the amazing job well done
(1/10/2013 5:11:06 PM)
out of towners #15
Those of us who live far and have to fly our boys to New York to board camp busses usually have to fly them in the night before. Your idea means sending them Thursday or erev Shabbos to leave on Sunday for camp. No thank you.
Better an adult take a day off then to send children days earlier, unsupervised, and then showing up to camp already with a laundry bag of dirty clothes!
(1/10/2013 5:26:11 PM)
go parksvile camp!
best camp!
(1/10/2013 9:17:47 PM)
Oír of towners #15
Sunday finish?! When should the campers pack to come home?!
(1/11/2013 3:57:31 AM)
To #13
You were obviously never a counselor that is is totally not true I was a counselor it made no difference to me who gave a bigger tip!!
(1/12/2013 6:30:53 PM)
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