Here we are at the end of session one, and I confess that I, who have worked with thousands of children over the past 30 years, am feeling a little sad. Time has some strange attributes at camp and we often say that the days are long but the weeks are short. I have spent the last 26 days with your children, but it seems like they arrived just moments ago, and the Session One campers are leaving all too soon.
Twenty-six days, however, is a long time when you only have a couple of hours off each day and you often work until 12:30 am,so perhaps I have come to know your sons a little. Spending so much time with a bunch of young people is both exhausting and invigorating but it affords one the opportunity for many observations.
I have seen your boys climb 40 feet in the air to the sound of their own name being chanted below. I have seen young children swim twenty continuous laps in the lake. I have seen kids hit a baseball for the very first time in their lives, and have seen them all try and accomplish new things.
I have seen your children laugh to the point of hysterics. I have seen their eyes redden with the setting sun. I have seen them cry and pull themselves together. I have seen them stumble and get back to their feet. I have seen them deal with frustration and anger. I have seen them put their arms around a crying or disappointed friend.
I have seen a nine-year-old’s face after scoring two goals on the 8th grade soccer team. I have seen one boy silently point to his friend as the characteristics of leadership and sportsmanship were being read aloud. I have seen a boy who had hardly any exposure to Judaism pray with feeling. I have seen young children recite Kaddish for their relatives while their eyes welled with tears.
There are 48 boys in Mountain View this session. I have seen them all grow and develop and mature. If your boy is staying on for another few weeks I am confident that we will see more amazing things from him.
If your son is leaving us tomorrow, I want to thank you for allowing me the opportunity to work with him for awhile, and I hope I will see him again at SLC very soon.