Recently I had the great pleasure of visiting Camp JORI on Wordens Pond in Wakefield, RI. Although the weather that day was hot and humid, the JORI waterfront, ball fields and bunks were glistening, and the camp atmosphere was positively electric. I loved eating lunch surrounded by the ecstatically happy children and counselors. I have also witnessed these last few weeks the incredibly fun activities experienced by the joyful children who attend J-Camp at the Dwares JCC. Both camps provide sensational programming with a Jewish lens, and they enrich our children and grandchildren in the most remarkably profound ways. It is no surprise that I deem both J-Camp and JORI to be synonymous with nirvana.
Seeing all these happy young faces have literally transported me to the summer of 1975, when I was thoroughly enjoying my eighth and final year as a camper at Camp Bournedale in Buzzards Bay, MA. My bunk mates and I, many of whom grew up with me in New Bedford and today still remain my closest friends (so much for getting out of our element) were the big cheeses. We were the kitchen waiters, the captains of our color war teams, and, needless to say, the big, handsome heartthrobs at the Camp Pembroke socials (or something like that). There is so little I cannot remember about that summer forty-one years ago: the laughter, the bickering, the inter-camp athletic contests against Camp Clark and Camp Avoda, and the trips to Scusset Beach, in Bourne, MA (even though we were all afraid to swim in the Atlantic after we went to see the movie “Jaws”). Not only did I snag Andy Fox’s deep fly to left center to secure the Bournedale softball championship for my team (and batted .519 in the process), but I also lost in a brutal three set match to my best buddy Robert Horowitz in the Finals of the Senior Tennis Championship. Ah yes….the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat.
What indelible, stunning memories! I will never forget all the years I spent at summer camp. As an antidote to all the horrific events occurring in our world on a nonstop, daily basis, perhaps you, too, might happily and wistfully wax nostalgic this Shabbat about your lifelong friendships, your finest childhood memories, and above all, the magnificent unbridled fun you may have had if you attended summer camp yourself.
Shabbat Shalom and my best wishes always,
Jeffrey K. Savit, President & CEO
P.S. For further information, including enrollment this summer, please contact Deb Salinger at Camp JORI at 401.783.7000, or Seth Finkle regarding Summer J-Camp at the Dwares JCC at 401.421.4111 ext. 146.