The Human Connection Of Camp
Oh, what a difference a return to ‘normal’ makes! We are so thankful that Apachi Day Camp is back. The happiness on the faces of our two daughters each and every day when we pick them up could make your heart melt. We know there has been a tremendous amount of effort and thought that goes into planning and coordinating all of the details, and we have been VERY impressed so far. Both my wife Alissa and I have been so happy to see the pure joy in their eyes when we discuss their camp day at dinner each night.
More than anything, camp has provided them a sense of normalcy and structure that they have been craving for months. Yes, this summer looks different – the kids still bring their masks, no Friday hot dogs, no large group activities, etc. However, the core of what they are doing still feels very much like a wonderful Apachi summer. Kids are surrounded by other kids their own age. They are playing and laughing outside; they are splashing in the pool. This is exactly what we hoped our kids could do again this summer.
Given the changes to the schedule and program (especially for my Pioneer who would not be taking field trips), we had some nerves about how the summer would play out, but so far, we could not be happier. I hope the entire JCC Chicago team knows that we appreciate everything they have done. There has been tremendous thought put into everything that happens from the time we drop-off the kids until we go to the “pink” lane and pick-up.
The health and wellbeing of the children are clearly the top priority of both the leaders and the staff. As parents, we did everything we could over the last few months to protect ourselves and our children physically; we limited their interaction with others and took lots of walks & bike rides around the neighborhood. We knew, however, our children needed more. Kids need to be around other kids. They need to be silly and laugh about things that we adults don’t understand. They need to have human connections – sorry Zoom and Tik Tok, you cannot compare to Gaga or swimming at camp.
We knew the risks going into the summer and we hope that Apachi remains Covid-free. In the meantime, we are so thankful for the opportunity to allow our kids to be kids. Thank you to everyone who is making camp a safe and happy place every day.
– Mike Bagdade
Mike was thrilled to join the JCC Chicago Board of Directors in 2019. Early in his career he worked as the Associate Director of a JCC overnight camp in the New York/Tri-state area where he met his wife Alissa. Over the last several years he has held different leadership roles within the Talent channel at Deloitte. He brings a passion for JCC Chicago camping and youth programs. Mike, Alissa, and their daughters Sydney and Ella love to travel, read and play games/sports together. They live in Glenview and love to walk to the Dairy Bar in the summer.