What It Means To Be Home For Life
There’s a feeling you get when you’re on a boat in Wisconsin early on a summer morning. As Camp Chi’s Head of Waterskiing for 5 summers, I always loved the quiet and stillness of the water before the other boats came out on Lake Delton and the chill in the air that evaporated as the summer sun warmed up the day.
When I became part of the Camp Chi summer staff, I thought, this is going to be a really fun summer job. I’d teach children to learn to waterski and celebrate with them as they stayed up on their skis around the lake for the first time, learned to drop a ski and maybe even slalom. What could be better than sharing what I loved with others? I didn’t know at the time that I’d get so much more out of those summers.
I experienced meaningful and lasting personal development and honed leadership skills which truly helped shape me into the person I am today. I also became part of a new family—a family connected by Jewish values and Jewish life. Camp Chi’s commitment to, and delivery of, future Jewish leaders is unmatched, and I am a proud product of that commitment.
As a result of my Camp Chi experience, the importance of coming together and supporting institutions central to Jewish community has become essential in my life. I’ve made it a priority to support Camp Chi, my home for life, and JCC Chicago among other institutions. I’ve gladly served on JCC Chicago’s Board of Directors for 25 years, currently as Immediate Past Board Chair and as Chair of the Camp Chi Centennial Campaign. Given my background as both an anesthesiologist and businessman, it is truly an honor to support the new Atkins Family Health Center, a state-of-the-art health center for a camp that has always been ahead of the curve.
Camp Chi’s Centennial summer celebration starts on October 22 at our Cocktails. Conversation. 100 Years of Community. event with powerhouse funders joining the program. And I warmly invite you to join us at this virtual event and experience just a taste of what it means to be home for life.
Finally, I’m just as excited to be at Camp Chi next summer for our 100th birthday and all the extra magic that brings. Campers will gather at “Crazy Ed’s Water Ski Stop,” a gift made in recognition of my Board Chairmanship. And I just might join them for a spin around Lake Delton early in the morning (or not). #attitudeofgratitude
— Dr. Edward Atkins
Immediate Past Chair JCC Chicago
Chair, Camp Chi Centennial Campaign
Ed feels as if he spent his entire life at JCCs, and he literally has from the age of 5 starting at the Milwaukee JCC. He even worked at Camp Chi between semesters in medical school at UW.
Dr. Atkins is now an anesthesiologist and one of the developers of the outpatient surgicenter industry in the Chicago area and helped found SameDay Surgery, with 8 owned & operated centers. He is also the founder and chair of Nations Healthcare, opening 3 surgicenters in partnership with the NHS in the UK.
He has devoted most of his philanthropic time to Camp Chi and JCC Chicago for whom he has been a passionate volunteer and supporter for over 35 years. He has lived in Glencoe for over 34 years with his wife Cathy and has 2 grown children and 3 grandchildren, with another on the way!