On Tuesday, Crane Lake staff joined the Eisner staff for a shared evening of training, praying and kinship. The event kicked off with Crane Lake arriving right on time for a barbecue on Universal Lawn. There were quite a few running hugs for those staff that already knew each other, and for others there were seemingly endless introductions to both mutual and brand new friends. It was a great opportunity for all of the staff to meet their sister camp counterparts. It was almost like meeting another version of you. While our full time staff all work together throughout the year, once the summer arrives it becomes two separate worlds, almost.
At both of our camps this last week, we have been going through very similar training in regards to the truly sacred work we do at camp. Simply put, summer camps are for kids, and our staff are each taking care of someone’s child. Our joint training session was about how the decisions we make everyday matter and can make a lasting impression on a child’s life. To care for the children of others is a tremendous honor and at both camps we embrace the opportunity everyday.
Eisner and Crane Lake are in fact two separate camps, but at the same time we are one. This was beautifully illustrated after our training session at our shared t’fillah that evening. Even though our two head song leaders had never played together before, it was fantastic to see them come together so easily, with the same songs and beautiful harmonies. Interspersed between the prayers were various readings provided by staff of both camps. What was so poignant about all of the readings was that they were all talking about the same basic things. It did not matter if you were a second year staff member from Crane Lake, or had spent most of your life at Eisner, the messages were the same. Everyone spoke about feelings of belonging, that sense of a second home, or even just that desire to step through the gates. It is clear that both camps each have a special atmosphere that you really cannot describe in words until you feel it for yourself.
After our closing song of Ufaratzta, we all headed to the Beit Am for Berkshire Bateria (www.sambaland.com), a local interactive percussion based samba group. The five members brought not only enough instruments for themselves, but also nearly 100 additional instruments for staff members to share. As each song progressed, the group members taught our staff new beats to play along with. In the end, there was an entire stage full of staff members who joined the Berkshire Bateria, and an audience energized from dancing the night away. By then we had all forgotten that there were two different camps present, it was just one kehillah kedosha.
While we may be different in how we look, in how we do things, or even just in name, our heart, soul and mission are really the same.