We are off to a great school year with our children learning and growing in the classroom; we have much to be thankful for. Parent-teacher conferences have already begun, and report cards have been distributed. Chanukah and winter vacation are right around the corner and, in many ways, the school year is flying by. Families have begun planning for the summer season as they are considering all the available options—day camp, sleepaway camp, even summer programs abroad. There are so many amazing choices!
Summer camp presents a great opportunity for our children to continue to learn and grow. There are so many exciting and enriching experiences for children of all ages in a camp setting. Children learn a variety of skills on both an educational and emotional level when attending a summer program. As someone who works with children in both the school and camp setting, I have observed that many of our children are able to learn new skills in summer camp without the pressure of being graded.
Every child is different and unique. Our role as educators is to help each child realize their full potential by designing and implementing a program every child succeeds in. The exploration and creativity a child can experience at camp is limitless when they feel comfortable in that setting. It is such a wonderful experience to watch a child achieve a new skill, whether it is climbing the camp rock wall, skating across our ice-skating rink, attempting their first cartwheel in gymnastics, making their first basket or swimming a new stroke. Taking these steps forward both physically and metaphorically is a vital part of our children’s success overall.
In addition to our Camp 613 campers experiencing a wide variety of programing, last summer all three divisions in our camp participated in an end-of-summer performance. The Girls and Pre-School divisions performed in a mainstage production and the Boys division had a music performance at camp. Preparing for these productions taught our campers to work within a group, such as their bunk, as well as work with a larger group setting. Focus was placed on teamwork and camaraderie, which are integral life lessons as well. The campers were excited and proud to participate in a culmination of all they learned throughout the summer.
Most importantly, camp is a place for every camper to have fun! I feel fortunate that I get to watch and experience so many children’s progress and achievements at every level as co-director of Camp 613. The best part of working in camp is watching the campers grow into themselves as they have such a wonderful and unique experience!
By Tamar Sheffey
Tamar Sheffey, LCSW, is co-director of Camp 613 and director of guidance at MTA. This will be her ninth summer at Camp 613.