He Said / She Said

There is nothing quite like summer camp. Campers at Camp Shalom and the other JCC camps grow in ways that can only happen during their summer vacations – when life skills and lessons are learned, friendships are created, and confidence is built. At Camp Shalom, summer turns into a lifetime of memories.

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Dear Camp Shalom,

In the last few weeks, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on camp. I wanted to write this letter to tell you how important Camp Shalom has been to me, and to thank you for everything you’ve done to provide memorable experiences for everyone involved.
Showing up to the first day of camp every summer feels like coming home. As a camper and as a counselor, I can’t remember a day that I didn’t wake up excited to get on my way to camp.

Walking through the campgrounds, I am filled with feelings of bliss, nostalgia, and peace. The tree that served as the finish line for races against my campers every morning fill me with a rush of energy. The old hip-hop bench where our campers would eagerly await weekly awards brings a smile to my face. The pavilion and lunch tables spark joy and a sense of community, as I recall singing the prayers every day. The gaga pit felt more like an arena crowded with fans triggers my competitive spirit. The cabins up the hill fill me with hope and nostalgia as I search every surface for my name and dates, memories forever immortalized from overnights.

As a camper, I met some of my closest friends at Camp Shalom. We bonded through competitive gaga games, late night stories at the campfire, and showing our spirit for color wars. Collectively, we groan when it’s time to walk up the stairs at the end of the day, not for the pain of enduring the 100 steps, but because it means we have to leave.

After eleven summers, it’s amazing to me that every day at camp still has that magical feeling. Each day, I am grateful for the people that camp has introduced me to, the experiences it has given me, and the lessons that it has taught me. Coming back to camp each year truly does feel like coming home, and it’s a feeling I’ll never take for granted.

Thank you for everything.
- Megan Polun

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Dear Camp Shalom,

It feels like just yesterday I was a young 16-year old boy standing up the hill wondering where the pavilion was. Over the years, this camp has found its place deep in my heart like no other. The amount of joy I derive from simply being at Shalom is unmatched. The people here are special. So many of my closest friends have been found here and I cannot express the amount of gratitude I have for our match made in heaven.

It brings me a heavy heart to think this is goodbye. It hurts to think I’ll never have anyone fight over who gets to sit next to me at lunch. I’m upset when I realize I took camp for granted all these years, and now this chapter in my life has come to an end.
I think about all the people that made camp special for me- whether it was the original TAB boys for taking me in when I was too young to be relevant at camp, or all the staff that provide the “daily tea” to keep me interested in current events, or my fellow generals who ran the best Maccabi camp has ever seen, or all the little kids that I played games with during swim lessons.
I’m not ready to move on, but all great things must come to an end. Unfortunately, this is mine.

Thank you for everything.
-Sam Harrington

Two Counselors Capture What Camp Shalom Really Means...