We Grow Good People
“We Grow Good People”…those aren’t just words we say at Apachi Day Camp, but words we try to live by. Each summer, children come to camp to spend time with friends, learn new things, create new memories, swim, participate in sports, sing songs, celebrate Shabbat, enjoy some popsicles, get someone out in a game of Ga-Ga, and last but not least, participate in Tikkun Olam, Repairing the World.
Giving back is a huge thread that runs through the Apachi community as a whole and, as Apachi Northside’s Director, along with all the Apachi Day Camp directors, we are always actively instilling the values of being a good friend, trying your best, showing spirit, not giving up and finding ways to help others. Throughout many summers at Apachi Northside, we have donated hundreds of cans of food to the Ark and Common Pantry, thousands of books to Bernie’s Book Bank and tons of clothes to Cradles to Crayons. Our CITs, Counselors in Training, have always led the way with these great efforts to make the world a better place.
Last summer Apachi Northside’s Giving Back Project was led by a 2nd grade camper, Hayley Orlinksy, who was, and still is, on a mission to help raise funds for PPE to give to frontline workers and patients’ families at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. When I learned about Hayley’s project, I asked her to explain her mission to the entire camp. She practiced at home, wrote a speech and calmly took the megaphone. The next thing you know, Hayley’s contagious energy influenced campers and staff to commit to making as many rubber band friendship bracelets as we could to help her continue to complete her orders.
It was amazing and inspiring to me to see campers, ranging from five to fourteen years old, wanting to lend a hand to help Hayley and the Chicago community. Many of my staff would stop in the office and ask for more bands to make them each day and my leadership team cranked out a ton of them, as we found making these friendship bracelets was very therapeutic while navigating the summer during a pandemic. These bright colored rubber bands really made each day a bit brighter for our team while helping a truly good cause inspired by an amazing child!
I am still part of Hayley’s rubber band friendship bracelet making crew and I am so grateful campers were able to be together at Apachi Day Camp last summer safely and to learn from each other. I always strive to hire staff that will be role models to show and model the “Good People” we are growing at Apachi Day Camp. I didn’t expect one of my best “Good People” role models to be one of my campers, but last summer we were incredibly fortunate that Hayley was at camp each day and encouraged so many other campers and staff to follow her on a journey of good. I am very proud of her and our Apachi family for always believing in others and helping the community.
If you’d like to help support Hayley’s rubber band friendship bracelet project, you can still purchase her bracelets. She plans to continue making them until the pandemic is over.
Beth Miller, Director of City Camping, has been Apachi Northside’s Director for the past 7 years and has been with Apachi Day Camp for over 20 years. Nothing makes her happier than to see campers and staff return to their summer home year after year. The Apachi Day Camp spirit is just part of Beth and she loves the community built at Apachi Northside. Her favorite thing about summer is engaging with her campers every day and being a part of funny “kid moments.”
Beth holds an Undergraduate degree in Communications and History from the University of Kansas, a Master’s degree in Education from National Louis University, and was a former teacher.