March 5, 2020

The Parent and Volunteer Perspective

By Scott Seewald

It’s a Sunday morning and we are sitting around the table having a family breakfast.  Our teenage daughter is smiling from ear to ear so my wife and I ask her what she’s thinking about.  “Just camp,” she replies; “I can’t wait to go back this summer.”  Our son, who is a couple of years younger, pipes in, “Me, too, I really miss EKC!  How long until camp starts?”  It’s only September!  Camp ended less than a month ago yet they are already pining to return.  This scene will repeat itself several more times in our household until the gates of EKC open again in mid-June.

Our three children are blessed with a nice home, strong family and great friends but nothing compares with their time at camp.  We have a sense of what they love about camp – their friends and counselors, the lake and other activities, the Jewish spirit, the connection with nature, no phones/screens (although they would never admit it!), and the chance to be independent and experience life without being under the watchful eyes of their parents.  And that’s the true beauty of camp.  A chance for our children to learn, grow, and mature in a meaningful way and with Jewish culture and values as a guide.  After 8 years of sending one, two or three of our children to EKC every summer, we could not think of a better place than EKC to provide our children with this experience.

As a JCC lay leader, I have had the opportunity to visit camp recently and am well aware of many of the new initiatives involving security, staff and programming.  I have seen first-hand the improvements to the lake, Teen Village and other camp infrastructure and the new programming and facilities for children with special needs.  And I have been thrilled to see the excitement and passion of Aaron and the other camp leadership staff and how that translates into even better EKC experiences for my children and the hundreds of other campers who spend their summers at EKC.

On my most recent visit, as I was taking in all of the sights and sounds of EKC (including an inspiring Friday night filled with Shabbat songs and dancing), I realized something else.  As much as I love every visit to EKC and my children are (sort of) happy to see their dad, EKC is my children’s experience, not mine.  That’s what makes it such a special place.

While our children may not share with us every detail of their camp experience, we are sure that they will always be thankful that we gave them the opportunity to grow up spending their summers at EKC.  With camp now only 3 months away and EKC constantly on the minds of our children, we see lots of smiles at the breakfast table.

Scott Seewald is an EKC Parent and Lay Leader