Apr 20, 2015
To the Camp's Staff Member Reject
Illustration photo by Israel Bardugo

From the COLlive inbox: A Head Counselor shares thoughts with fellow yeshiva classmates struggling with summer camp culture.

Yisrolik is an 18-year-old bochur in his second year of Zal. He goes to bed and wakes up on time, and keeps a full day schedule of learning, davening and everything else good. He has had to work hard in life.

He grew up on Shlichus and arrived at Mesivta just a little bit behind academically, struggling through the first year and a half getting accustomed to Yeshiva lifestyle. The combination of his modest manner, bright mind and hard work has earned him the respect of his peers across the spectrum of the bochur scene.

Purim time is here again, and with it the first whispers of summer plans begin to drift through the dining room and dormitory. Their next inevitable destination is Zal, where restless bochurim pulling themselves through the last endless stretch of winter welcome them with outstretched arms.

Yisrolik's friend Yossi is excited, and Shmulli is excited too. The calls are pouring in, and for them it's a question of counselor, counselor plus or head counselor, but at night in Zal, between Chavrusos, Yisrolik is a little confused.

The thought of camp has never really crossed his mind, although he kind of likes the idea. What he doesn't know at that moment is that ahead of him lie months of being turned down and hurt, begging to be accepted to work for a month without pay. Ahead of him lies a month or two of feeling inferior to his surroundings, as he struggles to get a hang of the elusive "camp spirit." By summer's end, his self-esteem has taken a substantial hit.

I am not here to moan and groan that our Yeshivos don't promote learning enough or that camps are "ruining school." Camps give kids a great time, and Yeshiva staff tries hard to do what's best for bochurim. If life has played a fast one on Yisrolik, that's just life. Things dont always work out perfectly for anyone.

What I do want, as a successful fourth year camp staffer whose friends have long prophesied a future as head staff, is to share a quick message with Yisrolik and all my dear friends out there who share in Yisroliks predicament:

Life is not about camp. Life is about Torah, Avodah and Gemilus Chasadim, infused with the light of Chassidus and Ahavas Yisroel. Life is about hard work and Aidelkeit, honesty and Chassidishkeit.

And I have a little secret for you: Traditional camp spirit is high voltage energy. The measuring stick of good camp staff is energy capacity. So if you dont quite fulfill camps requirements, look at it as a sign that maybe you have more to offer the world than a flying chimpanzee at the zoo.

You are at the center of the world. All of existence since day one of creation awaits your arrival in Zal each day, for you to overturn the higher and lower worlds with each word of Gemara and Chassidus uttered from your lips. You are the pride and joy of Hashems chosen people, a people who cling dearly to Torah and Mitzvos through thick and thin.

One day, when the light of truth will shine through the darkness of Galus, youre true value will play itself out on center stage of history, and all of humanity will envy you. You are leading us all toward Geulah.

Your friend, the head counselor

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Opinions and Comments
Time to shut it down.
Not sure where this article is going, but it's time for Yeshivos, especially Beis Medrash, to cut out this insane 10 week vacation every year. The Rebbe was fiercely opposed to this.

Summer camp should be staffed by older Bochurim whom have already completed Beis Medrash.

Zal Bochurim belong in Yeshiva 12 months out of the year. End of story.
(4/21/2015 1:15:24 AM)
very true.
People should not be upset if they are rejected they should know that everything is Hashgacha Pratis,
and everything will work out for the good.
(4/21/2015 2:08:36 AM)
To number 1
Bravo! I Agree and have been saying this for years!
(4/21/2015 2:13:38 AM)
a bocher that's 18
I don't know who you are but I feel you this head counselor is just straight up full of.... Most camps these days don't care they are all in it for them self they are just trying to push you off don't give up try other options you'll find a place and to#1 its not easy to learn for a year straight
(4/21/2015 2:25:03 AM)
to # 1
Burnout is a psychological term that refers to long-term exhaustion and diminished interest in work. Burnout has been assumed to result from chronic occupational stress (e.g., work overload).

Still a bachur
(4/21/2015 2:31:55 AM)
d l
Beautiful article. Truly beautiful. Thank you.
(4/21/2015 3:45:32 AM)
I don't think you're right, #1. Not every bochur is cut out to sit in yeshiva 12 months a year....or at all...
And how will those older bochurim know that they ahve talents if they've never used them?
The Rebbe wasn't against being out of yeshiva, he was against wasting time. Vacation is vacation from the yeshiva's seder, not from Torah.
(4/21/2015 4:00:29 AM)
I can relate to "Yisrolik"
I am now a bit beyond the zal bochur stage which the author is describing, but I went through similar experiences when I was in zal. Throughout mesivta and my first two years in zal, I always spent my summers in yeshivas kayitz, either as an independent entity from my yeshiva, or under the auspices of yeshiva, and looking back, it was time well spent, and I have many good memories from those days. But like the description above, after my second year of zal, I found myself, through no deliberate fault of my own, not having the connections or the savvy camp-drive that many of my friends possessed. In the end, it worked out, and I was a staff member that summer, but the angst which was felt in that time, and indeed in subsequent years in that time of the year, wasn't lost on me. It's definitely an issue, but at the same time, in truth I don't think that I would have necessarily been so happy being in camp, regardless of whether I had had the connections or savvy to have been in a better position. BH, today there are many more yeshivas which offer summer programs, as well as shlichus opportunities, in which a bochur with a disposition such as Yisrolik could be in and be happy and fulfilled with. Thank you author, for bringing this topic to light. It's important to emphasize that one size doesn't fit all.
(4/21/2015 4:36:46 AM)
Thank you
That was a great and very sensitive letter of a camp staffer. BH our camps do great work but our bochurim need to remember the true value of learning Torah!
(4/21/2015 5:12:10 AM)
Wow I'm really inpressed
Yasher koach
Bring a head counselor myself I totally agree.
If ur not the 'campy' type n have a hard time getting urself hired due to that, know it's cuz ur needed for something more real, something more then cheering and screaming w ur campers.
Camps not everything and ur still the most imp and special person in the world.
(4/21/2015 5:27:43 AM)
reply to 1
Some Zal bochurim need the camp break. Those who don't, should continue their learning, perhaps in a camp setting. That's how it works in other Yeshivas.
(4/21/2015 6:55:05 AM)
So right, sensitive and perceptive of you! I was that Yisrolik Just in a girl. Never understood the wild cheering going on said to be "lubavitch chayus" when I was brought up on chassidishe eidelkeit.... somehow I managed in camp as a great counselor too, tried to use that funny concept of crazy camp exuberance to instill chassidishkeit in my campers even though much of the time i was going against my nature, putting on a show, otherwise you indeed have no place in camp atmosphere. I ended up marrying a "Yisrolik" too. ... and it continues on shlichus too. The "successful" shliach is the one who builds the buildings, runs the huge events and brings in Good moneys. Somehow the ones who make the kesharim, bring in the neshamos, teach chassidus And reach the individuals are the ones who struggle more. ... that's life. But thank you for this heartwarming article. BH that there are people like you who value emesdikeit, pnimiusdikeit.
(4/21/2015 6:55:15 AM)
Here's an idea
I've been in your shoes where the camp I was "recruited" to did not want to accept my friend (who was a great bochur).
I told them it was the 2 of us or none of us. The said none and we both went to a different camp. worked out EXTREMELY well for us. Had an amazing summer in an amazing program, while the program I turned down was a HUGE flop that summer.
Want to make Yisrolik fell goo about himelf and boost his self esteem? Tell him he's going wherever you're going and keep to your word.
Knowing he has a true friend is the best confidence booster someone can have.
(4/21/2015 7:05:54 AM)
11 week vacation is insane
Time to act.
(4/21/2015 7:26:06 AM)
To #1
Time to shut down camp? So who should be your sons counselor when he goes to camp? This is so typical, the same parant that wants yeshivas to go through the summer is the same ones who complains that their sons counselor is not chassidish enough. You can't have it both ways.
(4/21/2015 7:27:06 AM)
Losing 25%
Every Summer vacation we lose 25% of our bochurim. 25% don't come back to Yeshiva.

It's time to drop this summer "vacation" from 1st grade to above.
(4/21/2015 7:30:32 AM)
What exactly are you saying?
I don't think many people will really be able to deciphere what the actual point of this article is, however I'd like to mention a few things here based on what you have written (and seem to be trying to say)

1. Trying to make "yisrolik" feel good by telling him that he's not built for camp and it's going to hit him and ruin his self esteem isn't quite going to be helping him either.

2. I'm not sure how you think you can address yisrolik when you are so out of touch with him and what he's going thru. After all you said yourself
"as a successful fourth year camp staffer whose friends have long prophesized a future as head staff"
You don't know what it's like, so please try not excuse his being rejected with an oped.

3. What about all the yisrolik's out there? What do you suggest they do?

4. Do you really regard your staff, and have expectations of them as "flying chimpanzee's"?
For your own good, the good of the staff, and mainly the campers, you may want to explore different titles. Because if not, you may just end up with a bunch of bochurim trying to please you, and making sure to fit your description to the fullest!

Wishing you much Hatzlacha!
(4/21/2015 7:36:32 AM)
To #5
Too much vacation can have that same burnout effect. Three weeks would be a sufficient vacation. Also, have you forgotten that Pesach vacation is three weeks? Have you forgotten that Sukkos vacation is three weeks? That's six weeks right there.

To #7 get your facts straight. The Rebbe was openly against Yeshivos closing for the summer. Surprisingly, no matter how much the Rebbe was opposed to it, we just never listened. Gan Yisrael was founded for kids that were not frum, not for our kids. Amazing how the new generation knows literally nothing!

To #15 pay more attention to the comment. It says that camps should employ bochurim that have already completed Beis Medrash.
(4/21/2015 7:56:52 AM)
Don't take it too hard if you can't get a position in a camp. We live in a political climate where any bochur who works in a camp is placing his neck on the chopping block; he can easily be wrongly accused of child abuse, even years later. If you don't get accepted to work in a camp, it's all for the best.
(4/21/2015 7:57:53 AM)
A parent of a bochur
To the writer: beautiful article, very nice sentiment. But as a mother of exactly the bochur you describe, I have to say, I blame you! YOU and Others like you are the ones who continuously do not hire the "Yisrolik"s! You are the ones who overlook the the aidel, kind and intelligent bochurim in favor of the loud boisterous (not necessarily so chasidish) bochurim for the camp positions. If you really believe in what you wrote, then YOU and ONLY YOU can make the difference to a bochur being rejected who deserves to be valued for his amazing qualities.

- a mother who has seen her son go through this...
(4/21/2015 8:00:05 AM)
Big talker
To #1: Are you hanholo or a parent?
To #16: Where do you get your "statistics"?
(4/21/2015 8:06:17 AM)
A different perspective.
Years ago there was a famous saying from the then Camp Rabbi in Gan Israel Montreal who was truly a Chassidishe Yid and a Talmid Chochom and Yerei Shomayim.

" A summer in Gan Yisrael can accomplish more then a year in Tomchei Temmimim, and a color war can accomplish more then a summer in Gan Yisroel.

A summer in a Gan Israel was living a Chassidic lifestyle full immersion with the outside world not existing at all. The chassidishe, stories, teaching and way of life picked up in Camp was extemly important in developing Chassidish Bochurim.

There was an eltere bochur, who later became a top Rosh yeshiva, who wrote in to the Rebbe about his options for the summer. Sit and learm in 770, Merkoz Shlichus or Camp. The Rebbe crossed out sit and learn and said to discuss the other two options w his mashpia.
(4/21/2015 8:14:58 AM)
So four years into yeshiva there are no bochurim left AT ALL? if we bleed 25% each summer, that should mean an empty zal by year 4. I think that every summer we lose a couple of boys, but I am not sure that is due to summer break, or just the sad reality of the struggle some of our boys endure. Being a chassidish bochur is the single hardest 'profession' right now! I say kudos to any and every bochur who manages to see the beauty in yiddishkeit, even when it is being eclipsed by the narrishkeit of the world. Who manages to stay strong against a tsunami of influences and confusion. These boys are the heroes keeping our nation alive!! We need to let them know how precious and important they are. The camp guys have a purpose, with their chayos and fun (for some kids, that crazy summer break is all that IS KEEPING them in the system)... and the Yisroliks, with their aidelkeit. All are treasures. We are so fortunate to have these temimim in our world.
(4/21/2015 8:35:09 AM)
Rejected twice
Having gone to a good yeshiva and being a good student, i was still having a hard time to go to an over night camp not knowing the right people or not being friends with the right people.

1. The yeshiva i went to REQUIRED all Bochurim to go to an over night camp or yeshiva kayitz.

2. Being a Bochur of just 18,19 years old and being told there is no place for you at the last moment of just 2 or 3 weeks before camp doesn't help.

3. Having peer pressure at the age of 18,19 to go to the BEST camp and be a staff member is very difficult for a Bochur's self esteem.

4. I do understand that there are the right Bochurim for the right jobs but there has to be i job for everyone even a lone Bochur.
(4/21/2015 8:56:26 AM)
Other Options?
What options are there for the quiet, aidel boy with yiras Shomayim, who is in zal and wants to be a staff member in camp like his friends?
(4/21/2015 9:02:13 AM)
Camp is not for Lubavitch kids in Lubavitch schools
If your kid is in a school for Lubavitch kids and NEEDS camp for his chassidishkeit you need to switch schools or communities. When the Rebbe talked about 24 hours a day in an environment of Torah he was referring to the original intent of CGI - non frum kids.
Unfortunately we don't get those kids, and camp has become a rehab for kids with uninspiring teachers.
My kid is in a great Chabad school in Chicago and have sent them to camp and aside for the fun and games there's no gain, because they get it all from home and school.
Camp should be for 2- 3 weeks and school for till Tisha B'av.
(4/21/2015 9:04:01 AM)
"So if you dont quite fulfill camps requirements..."

Wow, get over yourself.

Point is that being head staff isn't rocket science and though not everyone can do it, many more can than there are positions to field. So no, your head staff are not precious snowflakes, one of kind supermen who can 'meet requirements' and get the job done.

When there are many more eligible applicants than there are positions, other differentiating characteristics need be considered, and though life isn't fair, and "it's just life" that didn't work out for your perfectly, it isn't about being qualified or not qualified.

(4/21/2015 9:28:00 AM)
question to the author
being that camp is an integral part of the chinuch of our children, and as you write:
"You [Yisrolik] are at the center of the world. All of existence since day one of creation awaits your arrival in Zal each day, for you to overturn the higher and lower worlds with each word of Gemara and Chassidus uttered from your lips. You are the pride and joy of Hashems chosen people, a people who cling dearly to Torah and Mitzvos through thick and thin."
Then why don't you hire Yisrolik to be mechnech the children in what you clam to be a superior quality.
Its time that we truly be proud of our bochuirim -lomdim and not just the ones with "high voltage energy ".
(4/21/2015 9:33:20 AM)
To the camp staff member reject
You sound like an arrogant adolescent. How about 'to the Bochur who cannot find a spot in a camp' or even 'who gets rejected' or even 'whom the camps reject.'

I understand that you identify with your status because, heh it works for you, but really it ain't that big a deal. Learning toisfois is a big deal. Doing mitvzoim is a big deal, your resume is not a big deal.
(4/21/2015 10:08:16 AM)
At #23
Go learn math
if about 25% of the bochurim in yeshiva leave means that if there's 100 the first year there's about 75 bochurim the next year about 56 (not 25% of the original number) the next year 42 the next year 31
And now there's still people in yeshiva
(4/21/2015 10:48:40 AM)
on the money
why dont they pay? the owners of the camps seem to live very well.
(4/21/2015 10:58:33 AM)
Camp is very important
I agree with #22. My sons come back with from camp every year charged and ready to learn with more enthusiasm and dedication. They get periodic phone calls from there dedicated counselors before each yom tov and have kept in touch with them many years beyond camp. I thank the dedicated bochurim that work 24/7 during the summer to make a great camp experience. Also, I have one daughter that is not an "A" student. But during the summer its her chance to shine and inspire younger girls with great chayus as a camp counselor. We need to find a place for each bochur whether it be as a counselor, learning teacher etc...
(4/21/2015 11:17:13 AM)
Since when does a "high flying cheepanzze" give advice to a bochur a shliach
The problem with the young high flying is that just because so many lives were put in your hands you have no right to hurt them
And at fault are the leadership who give such unbelievable power to "high flying cheepanzzes" sorry for my spelling of cheepanzzes I was never one
(4/21/2015 12:25:24 PM)
Nice article
from reading the comments it sounds like most of you are the more quiet type which your greatest specialty is not "camp chayus"
Just bc this is not your strength does not mean you have to diminish the importance of this great quality

Learn to boost your self esteem by focusing on your great abilities instead of putting down others

Same to the author, yisroliks outlook should be focusing on what he does best but calling the staff flying chimpanzees I just don't get!!
(4/21/2015 12:30:08 PM)
to all the holly camps
Camp is a place where the owners of the camps have a great buisness for themselves and families.
they would fight if the yeshivas were to stay open for 11 months a year, wherewould their parnossa come from?
the bochurim are not such groiseh tzaddikim like all would like to think, very very far from it.
and when a bochur is rejected by the very very chosheveh head counslor, it is only bc he doesnt have the correct proteczieh in life. Not that the bochur is no good. Maybe he is quiet , not such a chevraman vchulu, half the time it has nothing to do with his yiras shomayim.
and the chosheveh staff can also shape up, together with their vey znuisidike wives that hang around in camp...
(4/21/2015 12:37:13 PM)
To #26
Which Yeshiva reads to its students every day the long letter from the Rayarz to his daughter, the memoirs, the Likutei Diburim, all other stories from Sichois.

The problem is what camps may have become, not where a bochur belongs. Seeing the tfilah bavoidah of the director and head staff etc and farbaringing with such staff has a greater impact then a Yeshiva may have.
(4/21/2015 12:44:14 PM)
Patronizing article
To #17 & #20 - absolutely agree. It's always the same - the loud, ra-ra-ra bochurim AND girls are offered multiple positions in multiple camps. The rest are offered sweeper-upper or canteen or something where very little interaction with campers is part of the job description - if they are lucky.

Future Head Counselor - you really are pompous. I often don't agree with op-eds, but this is insulting & demoralizing to so many hopeful camp counselors. You may be a future star (& so full of yourself I can hear the smugness) but you are not someone I want for my daughter. We don't do elitist or snobbery.

And a postscript: ALL of my children had the camp jobs they wanted.
(4/21/2015 12:49:04 PM)
To The Author
Although your message is definitely a valid one; that Bochurim should be able to have the option of staying in Yeshiva for the summer if they so wish, and that even the Bochurim who go to do Shlichus'n should at least know that sitting and learning through the summer is a beautiful thing,
I couldn't help but smell a different message, at least in-between-the-lines of what you wrote: you wax poetic about the importance of learning, "You are at the center of the world. All of existence since day one of creation awaits your arrival in Zal each day, for you to overturn the higher and lower worlds with each word of Gemara and Chassidus uttered from your lips. You are the pride and joy of Hashems chosen people, a people who cling dearly to Torah and Mitzvos through thick and thin."

But I just don't feel the person behind these words. They seem to be scripted.
YOUR message seems to be much more clear in the other lines like "If life has played a fast one on Yisrolik, that's just life. Things dont always work out perfectly for anyone.
What I do want, as a successful fourth year camp staffer whose friends have long prophesied a future as head staff... And I have a little secret for you: Traditional camp spirit is high voltage energy. The measuring stick of good camp staff is energy capacity."
Ah! NOW I see words coming from the heart, not the pen.

A correct message is not enough. It needs to come from the right person as well. Similar to what the Rebbe says, when something not good is (R"L) happening to someone, he should know that everything Hashem does is for the best. But if the not-good thing happens to someone ELSE and he says that, he is a cruel and heartless person.
So if this article was written by a Mashpia etc. voicing a campaign to have yeshivos open in the summer, then Kol Hakavod. But I get the feeling of someone trying to excuse himself and justify his position of not wanting to accept Bochurim like Yisrolik. I may be wrong, but that's just what I feel.

A 'successful three year camp staffer whose friends have long prophesied a future as head staff' (Ew, repulsive...) and actually got offered a few head staff positions this year, and hence knows EXACTLY what's going on behind the scenes with fellow Bochurim like yourself...
Bottom line - Good luck this summer! :)
(4/21/2015 12:52:24 PM)
A bochur who doesnt get it
Dear author, i have much trouble with your article in that your message is basically " chasidishe/ learning bochurim shouldnt bother applying to camp while you yourself have been in camps for years and seem to enjoy it. The chasidish ones who also want to be a part of these fun things should not only have a chance but give Hashem and his chosen nation much nachas thrue educating this wonderful nations children!
(4/21/2015 1:00:24 PM)
Sounds Oxy-moronic to me
I think i would value this opinion more if he himself was learning in yeshiva and not climbing the ranks in camp.( im sure having a great time there as well) maybe he shouldnt be leaving the sacred job of learning to a few "special" individuals i guess learning is just meant for the elite
(4/21/2015 1:07:54 PM)
To #18 (and #26)
In terms of "Getting your facts straight" and "Amazing how the new generation knows literally nothing!"
-With all due respect, I don't know which generation you're from, but listen to the "new generation": I heard directly from a respected and well-known Chasid and Shliach (whose name I'm not writing only because I did not ask his permission) who were in Gan Yisrael New York AND Montreal for the first year of both camps, as well as for many following years, and I asked him specifically if there were other Frum Lubavitch boys there (because I knew of this discussion) and he explicitly told me that there were MANY regular Frum Lubavitch boys, and he went on to tell me many names...
(4/21/2015 1:10:17 PM)
#29 RIGHT ON!!!!
Its all about connections.....
(4/21/2015 1:47:10 PM)
As a follow up to my post. I am not advocating no camp at all, 2-3 weeks is plenty to see a chasdidishe bochur davening (if they will, many won't).
Somehow Lubavitch kids in Israel, Europe and the UK come out just fine, as do the kids in Chicago that have school for 11 months.
(4/21/2015 2:30:22 PM)
Some good points but extremeley condescending...what makes u better then yisrolik maybe if you value torah so much you shouldn't be a "four time staff, prophesized to be head staf..." Whoever u are... Its nice what you're saying but get a hold of yourself.
Also maybe encourage the "recruits" to take bring yisrolik with them...
(4/21/2015 2:55:01 PM)
To #26
I live in Israel. Kids have 10 weeks vacation in the summer & there is even less to do than in US.
(4/21/2015 2:55:03 PM)
Talking about Yisroliks...
True story. There is a frum family with three sons. The first two sons did well in yeshivas and camps, got married, have jobs, have kids and generally live a frum lifestyle. The youngest son was a "Yisrolik". This family's "Yisrolik" decided to abandon the entire frum system so his family would not be inconvenienced or embarrassed by his self-perceived failures. He was constantly told that he wasn't "frum" or "chasiddish" enough, and seemingly that is the only lesson he internalized.

This story is about my family. Not all stories have nice endings. When yeshivas and communities in general cannot find a solution for a systematic, widespread problem, the ones who suffer (emotionally and financially) are the parents and families of the so-called "Yisroliks".
(4/21/2015 3:01:14 PM)
I like the discussion here.
(4/21/2015 3:04:04 PM)
What I read here....
....is what has bothered me in some other areas of the Chabad hierarchies: The elite become the unspoken "law" makers, and the others , well they just get pushed out or not included. And then we wonder why there are so many who make less than moral or ideal action in certain areas in their lives!?

I think a spiritually oriented community should maintain a spiritually oriented set of behaviors, including who gets to go to camp! Unless, of course, those leading the camp wish to be honest and put the reality out there: " We are Chabad, but only a certain kind of camper can come here, They have to have a certain kind of personality. They have to be "in" the way we want them to be. They are our fellow Jews, but not really good enough or right enough for our closed camp community."

What do you stand for? Be honest. Look in the mirror. Be a light unto others.
(4/21/2015 3:10:02 PM)
A former counselor
This is the typical head counselor who is trying to save his back and justify his actions he does not sincerely care about yisrolik
His one and only goal is his fame and glory
(4/21/2015 4:07:21 PM)
Do you know of any job openings?
My brother is a good smart chassidish boy who loves spending time with children. He wants to be a camp counselor, but the camps claim they don't have any openings ( aka he is not connected enough) . Do you know of any openings for this summer in a Lubavitch boy's overnight camp?
(4/21/2015 4:34:28 PM)
to all the bashers
not every article anyone writes has to be critcized in every way shape or form.
stop always trying to bring out the worst possible connotations the author probabely didnt mean
stop deciding that the author must be a bad person for a, b, and c most articles are written with an intended good message.
thats all
there is something you can learn from it, or personally disagree without all the resentment
its really really ridiculous how anything anyone writes- which is usually an innocent positive attempt to make a good change of some sort is immediately under attack.
please. ahavas yisroel also applies to your comments, and we really dont have to nitpick and accuse and point fingers.
learn something , and move on.
your job is not to find what is wrong with every article (unless its against torah- that should be pointed out so as not to mislead anyone)how about we actually focus on the positive aspects of what people write??

thanks for this article and showing concern for your friend.
(4/21/2015 4:44:42 PM)
I don't get the arguments
In order to get a job, you must have the right qualifications for it. For the position of counselor you need someone good with kids, chassidish, responsible, fun (yes FUN!), vechulei. If you don't fit certain criteria then you're usually better off at something else. It doesn't mean you're good or bad, better or worse, it just means that that position might not be the right one for you while a different position is.
Camps don't take counselors in order to make the bochurim feel good about themselves. They just take people that will do the job required of them the best way possible. My friend might be better at cheering and leading and therefore was chosen, and I might be better at learning and teaching, and therefore was chosen too - for a different position that would allow my talents to be useful
(4/21/2015 4:49:03 PM)
Best line..
"He grew up on Shlichus and arrived at Mesivta just a little bit behind academically"

Nice to see you have it all figured out.

This line runs a close second: as a successful fourth year camp staffer whose friends have long prophesied a future as a head staff"

Listen Rabbi, your a nice guy but when you realize why these lines are funny you will the be even nicer...
(4/21/2015 5:21:35 PM)
Just another mother
# 20 could have been me. I too have a wonderful son who wasn't accepted. Although he's a serious bocher in Zal he has many talents that no one gets to see because he's either not loud enough or doesn't have enough connections. I know one day I "yh his turn will come to shine, but until then my heart aches for him.
(4/21/2015 5:26:17 PM)
a glimpse of the future
The should be a wake up call for all parents of "Yisroeliks". Yeshiva, at its best, teaches its bochurim raw analytical skills and hopefully some character refinement. In the real world, success requires siyata dishmaya and much work to build out ones skill set. Encourage your sons to go out of their comfort zone and build the skill set they may need to become a counselor, head counsler, shliach, milamed, doctor, lawyer or entrepreneur.

There are many different opportunities within a bochur life to encourage some of the softer skills (leading the class mitzvah tank, lag boamer float, or soft ball games are just a few that come to mind).

The real world is not as sympathetic as the yeshiva zal and it is up to you to help your child. Read #46 and #52 again and please help your child so that they can succeed 10 or 20 years from now.

The Aibershter bleibt nit keen baal chov but He demands your participation.
(4/21/2015 5:42:07 PM)
to #52
Yes, but sometimes the truth hurts. It's hard to
accept. You're right, that dif. people are good at dif. things, and not all people fit the "camp criteria", but nobody likes to be rejected. I know first hand. Not with camp per se, but still.
(4/21/2015 5:50:34 PM)
to 50
i heard toronto is looking for very good staff
(4/21/2015 5:52:56 PM)
to # 16
I believe it's 76%. Where did you make up that number from? What newspaper are you reading?
(4/21/2015 6:13:25 PM)
I agree with # 38!!
Kudos to you for "reading between the lines"! Elitism has taken center stage and sadly has replaced authenticity. Why wait for "one day when the light of truth will shine"? Why not learn and live Perek lamed Beis in tanya? Perhaps internalize your wealth of knowledge and BE the chossid you think you are! As we approach lag B'omer perhaps it is an opportune time to look in the mirror and see how much of Rabbi Akiva's message you have incorporated in to your character. Hashem did not make a perfect society. We are a blend of different souls struggling daily to fulfill our life's mission. Maybe it's time you removed your crown, tempered your "high voltage energy" and be more accepting of ALL human beings. After all it IS the Chabad way
(4/21/2015 6:41:31 PM)
To #51
If you had a son in a position as one of these Yisroliks - WHICH UNFORTUNATELY ARE VERY MANY - you would understand all the bashers.
And let me take that a step further, if you had a son you were sending to a camp this summer, you would probably worry if this is his head counselor...
(4/21/2015 6:56:05 PM)
to #52
you are 100% correct - if we were talking about a regular business or organization running in a normal way. but unfortunately the way these things work when it comes to camps getting their staff, there are MANY good, regular Bochurim, who get pushed to the side-lines because they are not loud enough don't have the right connections. I'm speaking from experience; and not a bitter experience of my own (BH) but of what I saw happening to many of my classmates.
So no, we're not talking about camp accepting Bochurim just to make them feel good, we're talking about camps "riding on their high-horse" andor being straight out obnoxious.
it's not like these guys got other positions of learningteaching etc. it's more like they are totally rejected.
(4/21/2015 7:10:21 PM)
An older bochur
I don't usually write comments, but this i couldn't pass as everything about this article is extremely off base, first of all I B'H have been a counselor in a prestigious Lubavitch camps (Montreal, parksville), I don't write this out of animosity or resentment, I write this for my friends who weren't as fortunate.

First off, this article comes off as insensitive, and unsympathetic, you describe yourself as a camp veteran staff member, now a head staff member, hence, never been through this yourself.
Second, you're recommendation is to "learn Torah", if you mean by that stay in ch or at home to learn, what about a social life? For yeshivas like OT there is no yeshivas kayitz. Is easy to say "learn Torah" when you're getting calls for positions.
Second, you describe "energy" as the sole important quality, now i can vouch that is a very important factor, but generally must be combined with - gezhe - connections - or attend a specific yeshiva.

I've had many friends who were well qualified energetic and chassidish who were rejected, because they didn't fit the "mold" they established, it's time we focus on the "mold" the rebbe would have wanted.

The problem is mainly with the head staff and directors.
1, worry about the important factors when picking a staff member, chassidish - dugma chaya - devotion - caring, and yes energy, etc, qualities that are not important - gezh - connections - last name, the campers have no concept of that anyway.
I understand generally "gezhe" "shpitz" might fit their needs better, that's fine, I don't ask for equal outcome, rather, equal opportunity. If camp were labeled a "business" I understand, people care about status, name, but if we are, ahsreinu matov chelkeinu, and camps are (rightfully) branded the rebbes camp, and rebbes shlichus, we should hold ourselves at higher standard, Atleast as high as is done in The "goyshe" world now.

2, head staff taking their time accepting staff on their expense, what happens is, staff are kept waiting at times up to 2 months for a reply, and the if it's negative, there's little options left, (some staff don't want to apply to a few camps at once, because, 1, it shows lack of commitment to the camp applied, (which can lower chance of acceptance), 2, some bochurim feel bad backing out of camps if they're Indeed accepted to more than one.

3, instead of the head staff copy and pasting a "thank you for applying but we're "full" and we decided to go with other applicants who more closely fit out needs, etc. time they send a more individual email, maybe recommend other options.

- Dovid
(4/21/2015 7:30:51 PM)
to 1#
i know this is a little late but your idea of learning a whole year strait is coming from you either b/c your not a bochur (obviously) or b/c you dont have a son bochur age
im sure when you were a bochur you were pretty happy with the system
(4/21/2015 7:58:50 PM)
to 23 - you go man! your comment is one of the bestsmartest here. to 25 think of how you are describing this bochur. now think of why he may want to be a staff member in an overnight camp. it may shed some light
(4/21/2015 8:34:02 PM)
(4/21/2015 8:48:19 PM)
can maybe collive or someone make a compilation of all these comments and opinions making it straight what is right wrong and will be fixed and how. also if you yisrolik or anyone who feels that he is like a yisrolik just saying that it may be a good idea to speak to some of the rabbis behind baal teshuva yeshivos and go there for the summer. i really think that could be a real fix to this "problem' and the baalei teshuva will gain tremendously from you and you will gain even more from them. really yisrolik. think about this suggestion.
(4/21/2015 8:52:01 PM)
we do it to ourselves
When looking for shidduchim who do people all line up asking for? Why are self promoting videos of head staff announced or follow up reunions of head staff being wined and dined? It creates a herd mentality of these are the best bochurim. They definitely are quality guys but it's not eidel to prop them up as celebrities for all to idolize. Having said that it is upsetting to hear disparaging remarks about good bochurim who like my son are chassidishe good learners all year andwho work so hard all summer using their talents to have hashpoh on our kinderlach.Believe me, the camps work very hard vettingstaff who have BOTH chayus and serve as role models.
(4/21/2015 9:00:48 PM)
To #67
Your comment was well taken until you write "believe me, the camps work very hard vetting staff who have BOTH Chayus and serve as role models" - did you not read the above mentioned article?! Sadly there are more bochurim who truly believe this way of thinking then there should be and sadly when it comes to shidduchim these are the boys whom are sought after.
(4/21/2015 9:27:45 PM)
Camp is wonderfull
the rebbe said that camp is a kvadale where we make chassidim, camp is a wonderfull place, and whoever talks against camps, it is from ingorance ( i have no. 1 in mind)/
about staff that dont get accepted, i sympethise with them, but that dosent take away from camp and its maaleh!.

- A bochur who is being a counsler iy"h
(4/21/2015 10:28:43 PM)
Losing 25%
To #30

Because every year there are new students coming to Zal from lower grades.

The numbers are not going up, if there not going up, there going down. In a business and in everything else, if there is no gain, there is a lose. If your not adding, your losing.

(4/21/2015 10:54:56 PM)
to every one
to blame dropping out of the yeshivah system on camp is absurd any bucher that does had problems before camp.not going to learn in a yeshivah or going to camp is the worst, if there is no learning or its just to get money then u can say its bad to go to camp.
(4/21/2015 10:57:38 PM)
To Number #63

I didn't write comments #1, but I agree with him 100%.

I was a Bochur myself and I am now a father. Discovered when my first son was in first grade that summer vacation is not good for our education.

Only once I realized this, it was brought to my attention to what the Rebbe himself said about Yeshivas and Chiddurim closing for the summer.

(4/21/2015 11:00:45 PM)
to #64
(4/21/2015 11:01:33 PM)
Working Hard
I'm a father and Husband, I (like millions of others) work 12 months a year (no summer vacation). I get Shabbos and Yom Tov off work, which is plenty.

I don't understand how a [young] person whose only job is to study Torah (to absorb more knowledge) , can complain that they need a break [?] Please someone explain this to me? A break from what exactly?

(4/21/2015 11:17:21 PM)
switch it up
maybe we should have the chayisdike guys who need a little extra learnig stay thrue the summer. and the chasidishe ones being the role models. oh and thank you author for basically rubbing it in to all those less prophesied worthy individuals
(4/21/2015 11:23:47 PM)
#48 100% Right
Your comment should be read by the relevant people.
(4/21/2015 11:29:20 PM)
To 69
Well said
(4/21/2015 11:50:19 PM)
I'm a bachur in zal, and it is very hurtful not to be accepted!!! And u mister head counselor CAN accept us!!! So don't just sit and sympathize!!!
(4/22/2015 12:05:53 AM)
I think we should boycott signing up to camps
The head counsellors should be the ones looking for staff
And begging them to come
After all it's a full summer of hard work for free
(4/22/2015 12:41:22 AM)
applies as well
Summer Merkos Shlichus, Pesach shlichus, etc. Too much bochur time is spent 'lining up plans' from Purim until Tishrei.
(4/22/2015 1:13:02 AM)
Just saying
Hey bochurim! Don't let the opinion of the head counselor define you as a good or bad person! mainly because when a head counselor gets 40 applications for 20 job openings he does some "research" and based on the information he got from refrences or other sources he will try to make the best decision in HIS opinion. Your self worth shoulden't be based on that!!

He's a bochur LIKE YOU. trying to do the best he can do LIKE YOU. because he heard about the importance of giving/being mechanech kids LIKE YOU. And just LIKE YOU sometimes He makes the wrong decision.

(4/22/2015 2:05:24 AM)
to #30
Good point. Only thing is, i still DO NOT SEE yeshiva going from 100 boys down to 75 in one year. then dropping to 56. really exaggerated. THAT is the point, regardless...
(4/22/2015 10:18:14 AM)
Another POV
I grew up in a non-frum family but went to a lubavitch run camp as a child... both day camps and overnight. I was probably the only girl in my bunk who came without a chitas to the overnight camp and, for that matter, who felt like Friday night after dinner was a great time to write a postcard home using my flashlight for light. I was 8 and didn't know any better. My counselor, with as much tact as a quiet teenage girl who probably had no idea how to handle explaining Shabbos to an 8 year old, took me aside the next day and explained Shabbos to me along with helping me with davening, brachot and pretty much everything else. In fact, that same Shabbos, she gave me a Tzivos Hashem booklet and that summer, I was the only kid in the younger division who learned the whole booklet. That said, that event could have turned out VERY VERY VERY differently and very badly.

B"H, today I am frum but it was memories of those summers, surrounded by Frum girls that enabled me to brave the many storms that I faced while becoming frum. Believe me when I say that the summers at the overnight camp did much more for me and my yiddishkeit than the years at day camp because I had Frum girls around me that I wanted to emulate.

I honestly believe that while my experience is from a girl's camp, there are similar stories that come out of a boy's camp and the bochorim who go as counselors make as much of an impact on the boys, frum and not, as my counselors had on me and my friends.

My point is that these camps are there for a reason! Either shutting them down or making them shorter may very well defeat the purpose of camp... especially for those of us who don't have a yeshiva/day school that we go back to in September. On the point of counselors, I have had great counselors and terrible ones... and not all are ones who are any specific type of person. Like any job, hundreds of applications are sent in and the person making the decision has to make a decision. Unfortunately, they are human and have human limitations. It says nothing about the applicant perse, just the way the world works.
(4/22/2015 2:00:29 PM)
To #83
Your experience in camp is comparable to an obese individual joining a weight loss camp. It works wonders.

However, a frum child joining a camp is like an anorexic individual joining a weight loss camp.

You see, for you, Jewish summer camp was a life saver. For a kid coming from a frum household, it's destructive.

I don't know about the girls summer camps, but the boys summer camps were founded specifically for children who were not frum, such as yourself.
(4/22/2015 6:05:11 PM)
good boys keep sitting and learning
ppl the rebbe wants on shlichus u will end up in a camp or doing something else the rebbe wants.
(4/22/2015 7:27:30 PM)
To #84
My point is that irrelevant of who the campers are, a good counselor/teacher/rebbi etc will do more for any child than one who has the right connections and the "correct energy level". Believe me. I have had both and seen the results.

And I can guarantee that had I not had a great counselor that summer, I would not have come back to Chabad as an adult... or would have much more reluctantly.
(4/22/2015 10:32:43 PM)
The problem being addressed here is not only in the Jewish community but in the world at large. The entire world has experienced a huge change (starting in the early nineteen hundreds) in the worlds ideals for the road to true happiness and success. In the eiteen hundreds we had something called a character ideal where the the successful desired image was one of a calm demeanor with attributes such as honesty integrity fortitude where as now we have a what is called a personality ideal where the desired attributes are charisma charm socialy winning these are good and important virtues however they are secondary to the attributes of the aforementioned ideal.
I hope that we can learn what is important in life and live with it to the best of our capabilities.

P.S. If you find yourself in a position similar to this yisrolek and feel that your not as capable as the boy next to you because he is loud cool and crazy just know that you have many great values that are unique to you alone. I wish you the best and
(4/23/2015 1:39:13 AM)
why can't camps pay staff for what they do?
(4/23/2015 10:03:25 AM)
Like running a business...
I think most people are missing the point. To preface this: the writer of the article was very smug and while he attempted to raise a valid point, I think did more damage than good. Having said that:

1) Being a Head Councilor is a job like any other. There is a huge responsibility to ensure that the 300+ kids that you will have under your watch, whose parents spent a pretty penny to send them to camp, all have a good time. That means that they have to choose the best candidates to get that job done.
2) Like with almost any job, there are more applicants than jobs available. It is inevitable that many will get turned down.
3) If you are the one making the choice, who will you choose to take care of 15 boisterous vildeh chayas? The quiet aideleh bocher, or the one who can be lively, energetic and high energy and command their attention? I think the choice is simple.
4) When you have two equally qualified candidates, one with 'connections' and the other not, who do you think will be chosen? Are you proposing affirmative action for overnight camps now (a certain amount of kids from BT homes per camp)? Again, right or wrong, that is how it would happen in any business, any ivy league college application (kids of alumni first) etc. etc.
5) This process, as cruel as it may seem, prepares your bochur for the real world. Whether he applies for shlichus or a job, he will get many rejections before he gets one. The key is in the defeatist attitude. If you choose not to give up and keep trying, you will succeed.
6) The real challenge should be placed on the yeshivas out there. They need to ensure that there are options for our boys that do not get accepted. While life's hard knocks are very educational, wandering the streets for 10 weeks is not spiritually healthy for a bochur. They should create options, and I believe many of them do (by way of example: Ohr Elchonon in Los Angeles opened a program this year to help address the issue)

In summation: its hard to watch your son or daughter go through the rejection process. But use it as a learning tool to help them grow. But the parents need to teach that lesson. Not the patronizing 'head councilor' of this article...
(4/23/2015 11:37:33 AM)
in a lot of camps the staff are treated like garbage. they are underpaid and work really hard
(4/26/2015 10:52:22 PM)
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