Everyone Has One Thing in Common: Friendship

“The biggest thing is the community. Everybody has this connection that you can’t break. It creates fun and respect, and an all-around a great time. The camp makes you feel safe, and connected- like you belong. There’s nobody that doesn’t belong at Camp Shalom.”

This is how 13-year old Charles Muro describes his Camp Shalom experience. He continues, “It’s not just the variety of activities, there are a variety of people. There is always someone there for you- there’s always a person who’s similar and always somebody that is different. But, all of them still have one thing in common- and that thing is friendship. It’s a circle of everyone together, and there is nobody left out.”

His mother, Rebecca Stewart Muro could not be happier. “As a former JCC camper, it’s fascinating to hear an echo of what I might have felt as a little girl. This feeling that you’re all in it together. That we’re all part of something that is bigger than we are individually. To hear your kids say that is really quite beautiful, because it is what you want kids to get out of their camp. You want them to feel connected. Camp should be for all, but as a mom, I do want my kids to have a sense of Judaism. We are an intermarried family, so it is different than how I grew up. I want my kids to understand where they come from, and I love that they’re included. It’s a place that welcomes everybody.”

Charles adds, “It’s the perfect amount of religiousness. We say prayers before we eat and we go to Shabbat on Friday afternoon, but it is a camp for everyone. It’s almost like a religion in itself because you’re always there for everybody, and they’re always there for you.”

The family was especially thankful for Camp Shalom after a year of social distancing and remote learning. “There isn’t any school, they are not able to see their friends, they are in a tough time mentally and the world is going through a tough time, says Rebecca. “And then there is this miracle of summer camp. Suddenly my kids were able to have the most extraordinary, ordinary summer. They were able to have camp in a time when the world at shut down and it was safe.” Her younger son, 9-year old Thomas, also a Camp Shalom camper, agrees. “I was grateful to be normal. To feel normal while feeling safe at the same time was rare.”

Rebecca shares, “I do think that one of the things that people don’t know about Camp Shalom is how beautiful the site is. When you close your eyes and picture the perfect Camp- it is Camp Shalom. You have the beautiful waterfront and all the athletic fields; you have this sense of Nirvana.”

“Kids grow from camp. The beauty of camp is that it pushes you to be you, it pushes you to be more independent. You have to learn how to get along in a group, you have to figure out how to come to consensus. You have far more choices at summer camp when it comes to activities, and you get to be the master of your own destiny in a way that doesn’t happen in school. I do think that fosters this incredible independent thinking and creativity.”

Charles sums it up this way, “The donors’ gifts pay off. When people donate to camp, it always goes to a good cause. Because it creates happiness. So, I would like to thank everybody that does help the camp and all the staff for doing an amazing job at everything.”

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Charles and Thomas Muro were thankful to have the most "extraordinary ordinary" summer at Camp Shalom in the midst of the pandemic.

The Camp Shalom Connection