As summer fades, and fall beckons, I am reflecting on so many of the high points from the previous months. Amongst countless magical moments, I appreciate that each below instance was set in motion by the commitment of our year-round team and board members, and was moved forward with a collective force of strength — through campers, families, supporters, alumni, and seasonal staff.
Here are some of the many examples:
- Leaders Shined: Throughout the breadth of our programs, inspirational leadership was exemplified by our camp director, Carly Weinstock, and her talented program team. Every responsibility was met with a vigorous commitment to ensure the maximum experience was delivered to our participants – at main camp and away from our base in Ortonville.
- Programs Thrived: Across the western United States, into Alaska, at Camp Kennedy, around Israel, and within the grounds of Camp Maas, friendships blossomed through direct communication and the value of living outside in fresh air. And while building lifelong relationships, celebrating individual activities and camp-wide theme days, and better connecting with Israel, Judaism was always a natural thread – especially connected by the intertwined candles of Havdalah, held by camp leadership, glowing with brightness from the previous week and ushering in the possibilities of a sweet new horizon.
- Alumni Returned: At Charles N. Agree Outpost Camp and around Camp Maas — spanning over 6 decades of camp engagement – approximately 120 participants enjoyed another Kabbalat Shabbat, sang, dined, reminisced, reconnected, canoed, hiked, and enjoyed the company of those that shared experiences at “The Greatest Place On Earth!” Clearly, whatever the era, there remains so much gratitude for the timelessness of Tamarack Camps.
- Generations Connected: At Bubbie Zaydie (with 9 weekends and 600 participants), grandchildren taught their grandparents (and vice versa) – all “with no parents allowed!”
And, amidst these successes, I take another pause of reflection for Simon Mirkes, who passed away in Alaska. Too young. And, yet, in only 16 years of life, he proved to be an exemplary leader, who taught some everlasting lessons – especially of kindness. He also demonstrated deep intelligence, technological genius, culinary skill, and musical prowess. And there’s so much more – for additional context, please read the Detroit Jewish News, which, in this week’s issue, featured his story.
Finally, this: Our summer is a wrap. Now, going forward, as Tamarack Camps continues to grow – day by day, leader by leader, decade after decade, and generation to generation – I wish for our entire community the blessings of health, peace, safety, and the best of everything. I am honored to stand together at the best flagpole in the world.