By Gavi Elkind, Associate Director of Admissions for Community Engagement
My colleague Josh Langer, Director of Admissions, and I have logged more than 500 miles (and many hours of “shop talk” and radio sing-alongs) driving to Jewish overnight camps in New England over the last few months. The inspiration came via an invitation from Combined Jewish Philanthropies to go on organized camp tours. We immediately seized the opportunity, trading our work clothes for t-shirts (emblazoned with the JCDS logo, of course!). We strapped on the sandals, threw our backpacks in the car, and off we went to camp!
You may be wondering: why would the Admissions Staff of a Jewish day school go to camp?
The answer is simple: to stay in touch with our students beyond the school day. At JCDS, we are deeply entwined in a community that believes in the lifelong pursuit of learning, the beauty of play, and joyful and meaningful Jewish engagement. We believe and celebrate that these values are nurtured in your child’s life both in and out of school.
Spending time with our students at camp reinvigorated us and deepened our connection. We gave out JCDS t-shirts and water bottles at lunchtime, but we were the recipients of the most enduring and endearing gift: the great pride in seeing our students thrive in a place that, like JCDS, nurtures their spirit and sense of well-being. During our short visits, the snapshot moments told much larger stories: a graduate from the class of 2016 painting a silhouette of Heschel on a garage door as part of a class about dreamers and visionaries; two of our rising 7th graders playing a rousing game of basketball on a court surrounded by pine trees and wildflowers; and young students smiling brightly as they learned new Israeli dance routines.
We gained so much from being at camp! Now back in our offices, wearing our professional attire, we think back fondly to these shared experiences at camp, and look forward to reconnecting at JCDS for a new school year together.