…And it’s smack dab in the middle of Camp Kennedy.
Jacob spent this past year doing Teach for America in Buffalo, New York. It was a great experience, but he admits to daydreaming about camp. And as Jacob gets ready for his first summer as director of Camp Kennedy, he reflected on what—and who—helped him get there.
It all started with a Debbie Friedman concert in 2002. Jacob swears she was singing right to him!
He went on to become a typical Tamarack camper, going from Hermelin to Pioneer to Agree, with lots of Tripping along the way. Like many campers, he even switched sessions so he could be with his new-found friends. In 2011, he became a counselor at Levison, then a staffer at Kennedy for two years.
All this prep not only made Jacob a Tamarack lifer, it helped turn him into the perfect guy to lead Camp Kennedy. He learned from the best, and is grateful for all his mentors, and former camp directors, who taught him “mad outdoor skills” along the way.
Like Bailey Leininger, who reviewed knots with him on bus rides. Or Zen Wilderness Master Andy Nieman—aka Legolas—who taught Jacob the mighty (and sweaty) art of canoe portage—and how it’s easier to keep going than take breaks. And Jay Winkler, who had this good advice: “Let everyone play to their strength”
There are high expectations for Camp Kennedy. And that’s what excites Jacob. “It’s all about seeing campers become more confident and turning into leaders. And sometimes the ones that step up are the least expected. Everyone becomes a better version of themselves” says Jacob. It’s amazing what no phones, no clocks and a few weeks of self-sufficiency and teamwork creates. Each camper learn new skills they can use throughout their life. It’s all about finding the right fit. Although, when asked his outdoor cooking skills, Jacob quickly replied “The best thing I do is cut stuff up!”
Years of friendship, learning and communication have led Jacob way up North to one of the most beautiful spots in Michigan. He’s getting Camp Kennedy ready for an unforgettable summer, full of fun and adventure. But first, he will survey it all from the director’s chair, instead of the tree stump he used to sit on. And that view is going to be the most satisfying of all.