DSC_4855Senior Counselor for Machon (entering 10th grade) Cabin 31, Chloe Bayhack, loves everything that camp has to offer its campers and its staff members. There are so many ways to develop and grow at camp, and Chloe is excited to be back for her second summer on staff—and her seventh summer with Ramah, six as a camper and one on Ramah Israel Seminar. Originally from Wilmette, Illinois, Chloe is now a rising sophomore at Northeastern University in Boston. Her second summer with this aidah (division), Chloe is looking forward to further developing and strengthening her relationships with her campers. What are you most excited for this summer on staff?

We have these unique opportunities like intensives, the Machon trip, ligot (basketball tournament against Nivo), and a lot of other honors at camp. Especially after a year of high school, my campers are really mature and it’s amazing to see the ways they’ve grown—it’s really exciting for me.

What was it like finding out you had this aidah for a second summer?

I was so elated. I couldn’t have been happier to have them again. They’re still the same kids, they still love to have fun, but they’ve grown and matured since last summer. I already have relationships with these campers and I can kind of help pave a new path for them here.

Are there any skills you developed as a counselor last summer that you think you’re bringing with you this summer?

I learned to make decisions quickly. As a counselor you are the campers’ point person and their mentor. You have to make decisions quickly, think rationally, and analyze faster. I’ve also learned how to pay better attention to the little things, like how campers are interacting in the cabin. I think at any job, the more time you have with it, the better you get at it.

DSC_0460Why did you decide to come back on staff again this summer?

I knew it would be easier and I would have a better background. With more programming experience, I know what works and what doesn’t. I wanted to see what else I could do to make this summer better than last summer. I wanted to be here to push a camper to try something new, the way I was pushed as a camper. My sister’s also in Nivo, so I wanted to see her experience her last summer as a camper.

What is your favorite place at camp?

When I was a camper I played soccer every Saturday on Shabbat with all the boys. I love that area of camp, because I used to be so attached to it. I just associate my younger years here with that place.

Share a story from your Machon summer.

When I was in Machon I left for three weeks to go to the World Cup, since my dad’s from South Africa. And I remember coming back and it was like I had never left. Camp has this incredible permeable border that you can go in and out and you’re welcome back so immediately. When you come to camp after ten months of not being here, you can come back so easily and it’s so effortless. I really saw that my Machon summer.

DSC_3750What was your favorite summer?

In Nivo I had an incredible counselor, Jacob Goldstein, who had a huge impact on my summer. He was my counselor in Machon and then when we got to camp in Nivo, he really encouraged me to be in the Nivo English Play. I hadn’t thought being in the play would be a good idea for me, because I’d been an athlete my whole life. He pushed me to be involved with it, and it was probably one of the most rewarding experiences in and out of camp—I have such fond memories of it. I really learned so much about myself. I would thank staff for that part of my summer, and that’s why I come back, to be able to do that for my campers.

What is one of your favorite things about going to Northeastern University?

I haven’t participated in it yet, but Northeastern has a co-op program, which is the main reason I chose Northeastern. You get to do a six-month internship in a field of your choice. I really whole-heartedly believe in learning by doing. I’m not really sure what my major is yet, but I know that when I do decide I’ll be able to get work experience and get into the field I’m interested in.

What do you think is so unique about Camp Ramah?

Being here especially this summer, it’s really occurred to me how important camp is, not even just for specific people, but just the fact that it exists. During staff week we talked about Ramah as a pillar of the Conservative Movement, and how Ramah alumni go on to be leaders of their synagogues and communities.  Every year that I come back to camp I feel more compelled to keep doing Jewish things, and I appreciate even more the value of the Ramah experience.