It is one of those things that I look back on and remember like it was yesterday; my son, David telling us he was “Happy-Sad” when we picked him up from Eisner Camp in Great Barrington, MA.  He didn’t really have to explain, we understood:

He was happy to see us.  He loved camp, but missed his family

He was sad.  He was sad to leave camp…that place

-where you create unique individual memories,

-where you get to flex your personality muscle,

-where you get to try new things,

-where everyone knows the Shma and you don’t have to explain what Jewish means because everyone was Jewish.

This afternoon is the end of our Summer program, JEA’s Camp Savannah and we are all happy-sad.  It’s no easy lift to handle 200+ children a day (make that 300+ when you add our Early Childhood Campers), but Jackie and DJ, Jodi & Heather, Emma & Caitlin, Coaches Callie & Jess, and Vicky and Sonya almost made it look easy…but it wasn’t. 

Being a children/camp professional has never been easy, and over the past few years, our staff’s responsibilities have grown increasingly complex.  We are amazed at their commitment and have watched with admiration and respect as they’ve pivoted, mitigated, and adapted—over and over and over again.

Whether it be the indiscriminate spread of Hand, Foot, and Mouth, Flu A, or COVID viruses, they handled it.

Whether it be thunderstorms, lightning or the extreme heat in the afternoons, they handled it.

Whether it be cancellations, items out of stock, behavior challenges, they handled it.

We are much in debt to our children’s/camping leaders and the dozens of counselors, CITs, LITs and lifeguards who understand the vital importance and positive impact of summer programming.  If they didn’t already know it, we remind them that hundreds of Savannah area children will take the gift of this summer and carry it with them throughout their lives.

On behalf of the JEA Board of Directors and the entire Savannah community we say, “todah, todah Rabbah (thank you, thank you very much) for the excellence you displayed.  We admire and appreciate everything they have done and continue to do.

And now that camp is over, JEA Preschool Savannah begins year X this Wednesday.

And now that camp is over the JEA Children’s department begins Days at the J, Before, Kids Night Out, and Before and After school programming.

And now that camp is over…it’s time to start planning for Summer 2023. 

We are all happy-sad!

Shabbat Shalom

Adam M. Solender