By Jon Adam Ross, Rosh Hanhallah
For many years now, I have assumed that our facilities and maintenance team have connections with the divine. So sometimes instead of praying for sunshine on the first day of camp, I submit a pink maintenance request form in the business office. Tuesday was looking dicey. After we unloaded the luggage truck from Chicago in the late morning, the skies started looking ominous and we decided to put tarps over all the duffel bags to protect them from any impending precipitation. We were…preparing.
Preparing like the counselors who spent Tuesday morning finalizing opening night programs and beginning the work of planning the upcoming Shabbat with the yoetzei tichnun (programming consultants) in the mercaz (programming center).
Preparing like the swim staff who spent the day rehearsing emergency procedures in the water. Or the ropes staff who did a week of training which ended last Thursday. Or the music staff which is learning and teaching all of the songs for our zimriyah (song festival) that happens in two weeks.
Preparing like the counselors who spent time meticulously creating the decorations that would line the walls of their tzrifim (cabins). Every summer, the night before the campers arrive, we do an art pulah (activity) where we lay out stickers, markers, posters, etc and invite counselors to create nikayon (cleaning) charts for their cabins, welcome signs for their front doors, sometimes even bed signs for each camper. There’s a cabin with a nikayon poster about Jewish supreme court justices and another with cartoon images of famous Jews throughout history…in space!
All the preparation is great fun. But I love the moment when preparation gives way to doing, to living, to enjoying. On Tuesday afternoon, campers and counselors started doing all of those things. Unpacking; touring camp; meeting new friends and greeting familiar ones; playing basketball, cheering late-coming buses in the parking lot. It was a great afternoon. Especially because the rain never came. And by the time the first bus rolled into camp at 2pm, the sun was shining bright. It had arrived right on schedule. I was surprised we didn’t get rain. But only because I’d forgotten to submit a pink maintenance form making that exact request. Someone else must have put in the request.