Forever known as the Rec Hall, the new building will be dedicated to Debby and Nili Shriber, for their 12 years of leadership, commitment, and love for Crane Lake Camp.
There are few things as dear to Crane Lakers as their beloved Rec Hall… and Debby & Nili Shriber! The old Rec Hall served as camp’s soul, hosting those iconic camp traditions that formed the foundation of our community’s collective experience. When it became clear in the spring of 2021 that the old Rec Hall would need to be replaced, the Crane Lake community immediately responded. While saddened by the loss of this special building, everyone embraced the vision for a new space to serve camp for decades into the future.
If the old Rec Hall represented Crane Lake’s soul, Debby Shriber has represented its heart. Debby’s tenure, while shorter than the 90-year lifespan of the old Rec Hall, has been just as impactful. When Debby joined the Crane Lake family in 2009, she dove right in and invested a level of compassion, leadership, and vision that demonstrated her commitment to our special place in the Berkshires. Campers new and old quickly learned that being part of the Crane Lake community meant that Debby genuinely cared about you and would do anything to make you feel welcome and included. Not only did Debby give of herself, but her wife Nili has also become an integral part of Crane Lake’s community.
Together Debby and Nili have become exemplars of Crane Lake’s culture of kindness. Whether having milk and cookies on the porch of their house or spending time in the garden to connect with nature, campers and staff members alike always felt welcomed, supported, and seen in their presence.
Debby’s accomplishments as Crane Lake’s Director are numerous and far-reaching. She deepened camp’s culture of philanthropy, transforming Crane Lake’s physical facility with a new Chadar Ochel, Outdoor Sanctuary, and Health Center, among many other things. She championed MESH (mental, emotional, and social health) initiatives and fostered an environment where everyone felt included. And, Debby made joyous Judaism an integral part of the camp experience in a way it hadn’t been before.
Debby also tackled changing societal norms, leading camp through a cultural revolution in the DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) space. She ensured that camp could be a place to live and express one’s truth with dignity and openness. Debby oversaw the move to gender-neutral bathrooms and led the renaming of Boys Row and Girls Row to reflect camp’s commitment to being an inclusive and affirming environment for campers and staff of all genders.
Nili carved out her own corner of camp—the garden—which became an oasis in more ways than one. Sure, campers and staff could get their hands dirty weeding, planting, and tasting the vegetables that they helped to grow. But they also came for the sense of calm the garden provided, an escape of sorts from the hustle-bustle of camp. Nili made the garden not only a source of practical learning but also one of quiet contemplation and meaningful conversation.
In so many ways, Debby and Nili offered us their love of camp, and Crane Lake and all of us are better for it. We hope you’ll join us in honoring Debby and Nili for their 12 years of leadership, commitment, and love for Crane Lake by donating to the Rebuild the Rec Hall campaign.