Here Comes the Big Yellow Bus!
This year marks the 18th summer that the big yellow “Z” Frank Apachi Day Camp bus has pulled up in front of my house to take my children to camp. When you see a picture of my children today, now 21, 18 and 14, it is hard to imagine that they still wait in the driveway for the day camp bus to take them to camp everyday, but they do. When our journey began, my son, now 21, was 3 years old. He jumped on the bus with a smile, and as his sisters grew older, they followed in his footsteps. All 3 of them choose to go back each and every summer. Ross is now the song leader, Carly is a bus counselor and an Explorer 2 counselor and Sammi is a CIT. Our family wouldn’t have it any other way!
Each year as the school year comes to an end, the number one question in our community seems to be “what are your plans for the summer?” This question seems silly to me because it‛s time to go to ZFA. What else would we do? Camp is their summer home, my children are comfortable with themselves, they feel loved and accepted for who they are most importantly they are happy! The stresses from the school year disappear and social dramas end. Year after year the same administrative staff, who have been and remain active participants in my children’s growth, both physically and emotionally for 18 years, return for the summer. It’s a community that is truly magical. My children started as campers, evolved into staff and are giving back. Ross, Carly and Sammi are active participants, watching and caring for the children at camp, as they grow up and develop into remarkable people.
From a parent perspective, no matter how old my children get, they will be my babies. I will always worry about them, hope they are happy and safe, loved and cared for. When our children are small, we as parents are able to choose the best place to send our children, we are their advocates. The positive summer camp experiences my children received and still receive today, will stay with them forever. I am thrilled my children now choose to be at ZFA for themselves. I am thrilled that they they give back to the community and the younger children look up to them. I love that they still get excited to dress up for Wacky Wednesday, compete in Maccabi games, eat popsicles and play in the pool. It comforts me that they sing Shabbat songs together with the children and staff, eat challah and drink grape juice. In today‛s technical, sophisticated world, my children get to play all summer, have fun and be children. They breathe in fresh air and enjoy nature. They don‛t text or go on Facebook, instead they talk and sing and laugh. In 2016, our 18th year, we still eat breakfast together every morning, pack lunches, apply sunscreen and wait on the driveway for the big yellow bus!