As I reflect upon the many forms of generosity that campers and staff encounter at Tamarack Camps, I feel uplifted by the kindness and care of our community. It is widely recognized that philanthropy – gifts of time, money, experience, skills, or talent – creates a better world. And through Tamarack Camps, it has the power to shape and change lives. This is meaningful and important; and this summer while at Camp Maas, I saw first-hand how philanthropic support makes a profound difference in providing such formative experiences for campers and staff.
I saw our youngest boys learning the Israeli game, gaga, outside Applebaum Village and challenging Lee Trepeck to the competition of a lifetime (Lee won BTW)! I witnessed our youngest girls “coming home” for the first time to a beautiful, new Shiffman Family Village – such a comfort for their first overnight stay. I celebrated alongside Avodah campers who learned important life-skills and furthered their confidence through programs and a new village, thanks to the Jewish Fund, the Dresner Foundation, and others.
I felt relief when participating in camp’s new safety protocols and appreciated the many resources made possible by the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit’s COVID-19 Fund. Artists-in-Residence were thriving in many areas of camp; including Smoklerville, the Pappas Jewish Learning Center, and Teva, with programs focused on the Jewish arts, storytelling, and STEM – thanks to the generous support of the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, the Benard L. Maas Foundation, and many others. It was special seeing campers bond with counselors from Israel (many of whom had once been campers themselves) and learn about our homeland, thanks to support from the Pilcowitz family and other champions of Jewish Life. Shabbat services with the DeRoy boys at Zaks Amp and Havdalah services with the Shiffman girls at the William Davidson Foundation Amphitheater brought tears to my eyes, thanks to our rabbis staying in the Farber Family Housing Village. Meals in the chedar ochel (dining hall) were so much fun, especially when the Hermelin boys challenged the Berman girls to a friendly competition, or when the Charach Sheruth girls stood proudly on tables shouting their village cheers and clapping in perfect unison!
Children, teens, and staff alike regularly received medical attention in the Wally P. Straus Medical Clinic with supplies made possible by the Sinai Medical Staff Foundation, Oakland County, and other supporters. Social workers provided additional social and emotional care to campers, thanks to the William Davidson Foundation. I loved seeing Kaufman Specialty campers cook delicious salads with vegetables and herbs grown at the Farber Farm. I saw Robinson Pioneer and Grosberg Ruach campers participate in Israeli dance parties in Kahn Village, while Fishman and Levison campers learned new things in the Brodsky Teaching Kitchen. Our Teen Leadership Village campers found time away from their responsibilities to make new friends at the Lockman Fire Pit and campers of all ages made tzedakah box buses to participate in the CAMPaign for Change in the Ravitz Art Center. I saw dedicated staff members, who bravely committed to living in a “bubble” all summer, take well-deserved menuchas in the Sue and Alan J. Kaufman Family Staff Lodge.
As I walked around Camp Maas or participated in send-offs for our outpost campers bound for Camps Kennedy or Camp Olmsted, I knew that every participant benefitted in some way by the Grinspoon Foundation, the Foundation for Jewish Camp, the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, and other donors who supported our agency’s greatest needs and helped us meet operational expenses related to an uncertain pandemic during an unprecedented time. Finally, I knew that many campers were experiencing a Tamarack summer as a result of scholarship support. This is the core of our mission: scholarships represent compassion and justice by ensuring that every child who wants to attend camp can. Importantly, camper scholarships are supported by the Ravitz Foundation, the Donald R. and Esther Simon Foundation, and many alumni, families, and individuals who give generously to our Send a Kid to Tamarack annual campaign.
The contributions of our donors are significant. They are deeply valued and we are so grateful to all who have chosen to join hands with us. By donating, you are giving campers and staff the skills, abilities, and experiences they need to build a strong Jewish foundation and secure a future of resilience, confidence, courage, connection, and community. Thank you for believing in our mission, in our team, and in the life-long potential of each camper – and thank you for the impact that your generosity brings.
P.S. – Recognizing there are many worthy charities needing support in our community, please know how honored we are that you’ve chosen Tamarack Camps.