From Overland Park, Kansas, Natalie Cabell returned to camp this year for her first summer on staff. Our Programming Assistant and miktzoi (specialty staff) to Shoafim cabin 24, Natalie has loved being on staff after seven summers as a camper. She graduated from Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy, where she had the opportunity to go on a 12-day trip to Poland and Prague, an experience she describes as surreal, heartbreaking, and educational. In the fall, Natalie will start her first semester at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, majoring in Marketing and Professional Sales. What were you most excited for coming into this summer?
I was really excited to help organize Yom Sport. In Nivo I got to be a team captain, and this summer I was really excited to find out that I’d be working behind the scenes to put the whole event together.
What do you see as your role as Programming Assistant this summer?
I see myself as the tape to every program. In every program you start out with an idea and then you have the end product. I’m the middleman to that end product. I’m the tape to making sure the success of every program—to making kids happy and ensuring they have the best summer possible.
What do you see as your role in the cabin?
As a miktzoi, I try to help out as much as I can. I try to be there just as much for the girls as I would be as a chevrati (cabin counselor), and make sure my campers know I’m there for them even though I am working in the programming area.
Why did you decide to come back as a counselor this summer?
For seven years I’ve been shaped by my counselors, and really matured and grown as a person because of them. I thought that in the circle of camp and in life, I can’t just take, I have to give back.
What is your favorite place in camp?
My favorite place is probably the area in between the two hobies on the waterfront. I love just looking out at the lake from that area.
What was your favorite summer as a camper?
My favorite summer was Bogrim because all the girls in the aidah became very close. It was a chance for me to break out of the typical cabin atmosphere and really get to know all of the banot (girls).
Share a story from your time at camp.
One of the most memorable parts of camp was the storm in Bogrim. We were all rushed into the basement of our building, just our aidah and staff. The electricity had gone out. We sang songs for what seemed like four hours. Regardless of the storm outside, it was a great experience. Even though we were stuck inside, we made the most of it. When we got back to our cabin later we got to have a slumber party with the other Bogrim girls cabin. It was really fun!
What cabin were you in when you were in Shoafim?
I was also in cabin 24. It’s very weird being back in the same cabin. It’s just a very different experience. My campers are really cohesive and really great at being inclusive. They’re just a great group of girls.
What did you do last summer?
I had a position at a bank that’s similar to a teller. I worked at Freedom Bank, which is a one-branch bank in Overland Park, Kansas. I wasn’t in a booth behind bars; instead my interactions with customers were through a video camera. Last summer really helped me build relationships and work on networking. It really prepared me for this summer because I learned how to solve problems and work fast.
Why did you choose not to go on Israel Seminar last summer and work instead?
I wrote a business plan my junior year of high school and one of the CEO’s at Freedom Bank heard my pitch. He asked me to work for him this past summer and I thought it was a great opportunity to get real-world experience before college.
What is so special about Camp Ramah in Wisconsin?
I think the best part about camp is the ability to disconnect from the outside world and really connect to the people here. It shows kids that you don’t have to rely on your cell phone to communicate with people. It also is a place where you can de-stress and not think about tests, homework, and school. It’s this great Jewish bubble where you can feel safe and confident, and even though you might not realize it, you’re learning how to live on your own.