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Wednesday, November 1, 1989

You Gotta Love Your Work

                                                                                                                

                                                                                        November, 1989


Dear G.U.C.I. Staff:


I happened to catch about twenty minutes of the Phil Donohue show yesterday,
the guest was the famous entertainer George Burns.  Mr. Burns is 93 years old
and has been in the entertainment business since he was a boy.  You might have
seen some of the old George Burns and Gracie Allen TV shows, usually rerun at 2
or 3 a.m., I was raised on them.  When asked by someone in the audience
yesterday about how Mr. Burns maintained his interest in his profession over so
many years he replied, "Whatever you do in life, you gotta love your work."  In
one short sentence, George Burns summarized many thoughts I have been having
over the past few years. 


I have often been asked by my Rabbinic collegues, and by others who have known
me for some time, how I can keep up my enthusiasm for camp after so many
years.  Next summer will be my sixteenth here at the Goldman camp.  But, I've
really been involved in Union Camping all my life.  It all began when I first
went to Union Institute (now Olin-Sang-Ruby) in Oconomowoc, Wis. as a camper in
1958. That led to fifteen summers at that camp before I came to Zionsville. 
I've been a camper, Machonick, Counselor, Waterfront Director, Unit Head (for
six summers), Program Director, Assistant Camp Director, and Camp Director. 
While many of the people with whom I graduated H.U.C. in 1977 have changed jobs
two, three, and four times, I began my directorship at Goldman Camp while still
studying in Cincinnati and here I have stayed.  I guess they consider me
strange (no doubt so do some of you).


Well, George Burns answered the question.  "You gotta love your work."  I am a
very lucky person to have a job I love.  Each summer has been different,
challenging in its own way, and above all never boring.  Sure every job has its
negatives, I spend many weekends on the road for camp, summertime backyard
barbecues are unknown to my family, I eat, sleep, and breathe with 300 other
people for eleven weeks each summer, I work when other "normal" people are off
(weekends and summer) so my family's social life is difficult.  Never-the-less
I'm lucky because I love my work.

                               
I just returned from the U.A.H.C. Biennial in New Orleans.  Four thousand
Reform Jews convened for this convention.  Personally, it was an exhilarating 
experience.  In addition to just being a part of this great gathering, I ran
into so many camp people from all of my years in Union Camping.  Among them
were Rabbis Jim Bennett, Jon Stein, Jon Adland, Steve Foster, Sam Joseph, Lewis
Kamrass, Gerry Walter (Gerry and I were co-counselors in 1965), Chet Diamond,
Billy Dreskin, Sol Greenberg, Steve Fuchs, Steve Fink, Michael Zedek, Danny
Gottlieb, Gary Zola along with Mark Glickman, Joel Block, Sherri Oppenheim,
Stacey and Jeff Linkon, Debbie Morgan. David Barrett, Ronnie Brockman, and
Sharon Katz.  There were many, many more.  My heart swelled every time someone
recalled their fond memories of time spent in camp.  So many good feelings and
warm memories.  I'm lucky to have a job that brings me in contact with
wonderful people.  And I'm lucky to have the opportunity to be creative, and
help others.


Most of you will be starting your careers in the next few years.  The choices
you make are among the most important of your life.  I hope you'll be as lucky
as I've been.   As you venture out into the world remember that money is
important, but its not everything.  And remember George Burns, 93 years old,
sitting with his cigar, telling it like it is; "Whatever you do in life, you
gotta love your work."


Ron