Little Moments Last A Lifetime
When the decision to cancel Camp Chi this summer was made, I’ll admit, I was a little lost. Although I know we made the best possible decision, it was hard to digest that I would be away from Chi for a summer for the first time since 2000. To cope with this, I would go for long late night walks each night to sort out my feelings. One night on my walk I thought about all of the little things that came together to create that impact that Camp Chi has had on my life. In reality, what I thought about was “Camp Chi Magic.”
There are many things that come together to create what we all know as “Camp Chi Magic.” No, it’s not something in the water, instead it’s a feeling that is created by the people, memories, the fun, and most importantly the little moments that create everlasting memories. At camp these little moments can come from anywhere, friends, counselors, SIT’s, or alumni. And although these moments may seem small in the moment, they can leave a lasting impact on all of our lives.
I remember 20 years ago, my first summer, when I didn’t know any of the camp songs or prayers at camp, my counselor Ben sat next to me and taught me each song so that the second Shabbat not only was I ready to sing along, but I was able to be a part of the community. Thank you, Ben.
I remember my second summer when my specialist Dave Teplinsky, or Papa Dave, convinced me to join a 4th of July performance of God Bless the USA, and gave me a solo. It was my first time ever singing in front of people but standing in front of all of camp I felt like a rockstar. Years later this event would lead me to studying Theater Education in college. Thank you, Dave.
I remember being in Chalutzim (7th Grade) and having a terrible day. I had received a bad letter, and just didn’t want to participate in anything. Josh Teplinsky, a counselor from another cabin sat next to me and we just talked about baseball, he told me that he would always be there if I needed anything else. This moment made me want to become a counselor myself, and now I am an Assistant Director at Camp Chi. Thank you Josh.
And I remember being in Habo (8th grade) when all I wanted was to go to a Chicago Bulls game with Chi Town Connection but living in Des Plaines I had no way to get there. Michael Waitz, who at the Time was the CTC Advisor (Camp Chi’s Youth Group) drove all the way to Des Plaines to pick me up to make sure that I could participate. This led me to my first full-time job at Chi running the teen programming. Thank you, Waitz.
These are just a few of the thousands of moments that have stuck with me. I know that without my years as a camper at Camp Chi I would not be the person that I am today.
These moments have lasted through time and still shine bright, and the moments that we are proudly able to create this summer at Chi Family Getaway will do the same! It is through darkness that lights shine the brightest, and although this summer may not be like any other summer we have experienced, I know that this agency is filled with people who are ready to make these little shining moments for thousands in our community whether that be in person, virtually, or a combination of the two. In times like these the moments that we all create will be all the more special, and I cannot wait to see what impact all of you have on our community this summer!
– Kyle Kolling
Assistant Director, Camp Chi