10 years later- My Camp Journey
By Rachel Gold
In 2009 I arrived for my first summer at Camp Chi. I remember stepping off the bus, greeted by excited staff members holding glittery welcome signs. I would’ve never guessed that I would be the one holding the welcome signs for summers to come.
During my first summer at Chi, I met one of my best “camp friends” who quickly became my best friend year round (and to this day!) After a slight bought of homesickness, I was totally hooked on the oh so famous “Camp Chi Magic.”
Fast forward to 2012, I stepped off the Lamer’s bus for summer number 4, my SIT summer. This was the summer I became involved with Keshet-Camp Chi’s partner organization that provides inclusive programming for campers with disabilities. After growing close with a camper who had Keshet support, which reaffirmed my passion for working with people who have disabilities, I decided that I would work for Keshet when I was old enough.
I worked as a counselor for Chi for the next two summers and fell in love with the role. Being able to pass down traditions that my counselors gave to me and my friends, and truly shaping campers’ summers will always be some of my favorite memories.
During the summers of 2015-2017, I transitioned to what we call a “Counselor Providing Keshet Support.” I got to pair my love for Camp Chi with my passion for working with people who have disabilities. Promoting inclusion at the place I love made me proud to grow up at a camp that valued inclusion just as much as I do.
In 2018, I returned yet again for summer number 10 with a new role. I became a supervisor for Avodah, Keshet’s program at Chi that combines vocation-based activities with camp recreation for young adults with disabilities. I had grown close with Avodah participants throughout my time at Chi, and I loved having the opportunity to further improve such a crucial and innovative program that gives participants the chance to be active, contributing members in their community.
Camp Chi and Keshet continue to play a huge part of my life, as I work full-time for Keshet as a paraeducator. Next year, I’ll be attending Georgetown Law to study disability law-a career choice largely motivated by my experiences and friendships at Chi as a camper, counselor, Keshet staff member, and supervisor!
Guest Blogger Rachel Gold is a committed Camp Chi alumna and a proud Keshet staff member. A recent graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Rachel is heading to Georgetown Law in the fall to study disability law.