December 29, 2009
Dear G.U.C.I. Alumni:
It has been a long time since I’ve written a “Staff Letter.” You old timers may remember when I used to do so. Here I sit in my usual place in Zionsville on a clear and sunny, snow covered and freezing day, alone in the office watching the year melt away. It’s quiet here. That’s unusual for G.U.C.I. It’s nice.
Camp seems far away when December hits town. There is nothing campy here at all; no kids, no sweat, no campfires to build or pools to chlorinate, no Shiurim to plan or guitars to tune. But just when we seem to have hit the G.U.C.I. winter solstice a light appeared to brighten these shortest of days. It’s Avodah. Don’t get me wrong, there are no Avodahnikim around sweeping, plunging, telling people to get off of their porch. No. There are no Avodahnikim at all. That’s the point. By next week I have to pick who will be in this amazingly adolescent camp family next summer. In a week or so I have to let the kids know who’s coming to Avodah 2010.
So, I have been reading Avodah applications and essays all day. That’s the light. That’s what is making camp seem close even on a day when I can see through the trees all the way to the boys’ area from my office, without even one leaf to inhibit the view. I’ve just read the reasons why fifty entering eleventh graders want to spend nine weeks next summer at camp. Those essays blow me away. These kids are talking about community, responsibility, giving back to the place that has been their second home, Jewish identity and education, friendship, Tikkun Olam, and more. It is a knockout to hear what kids think and feel about the place that we have been building all these years. Many also mention plunging toilets and serving food… in the same sentence (makes one stop and think, eh?). And although these kids don’t really know what they are getting into, I can already sense their spirit, their humor, and certainly their love for camp.
I often think about camp’s momentum. It is true that we start the ball rolling, but as it rolls it carries us along. I’ve had the good fortune to be swept up in the momentum today by future Avodahnikim and their deep passion for all the good things G.U.C.I. can be. It’s not about, “If you build it they will come,” rather it’s, If you build it they will bring it to life and illuminate it with their spirit. This has been a good day for me. I’m beginning to see the light.