Camp Chi Magic L’Dor V’Dor
By Maya Parks
If you’ve been to camp in recent summers and have noticed a big group of kids wearing matching shirts, you might have seen my family. Camp Chi is a home away from home but in my experience that statement is very literal. I get to feel more of home at camp, and I get to feel more of camp at home through my connection with my family. Currently at camp there’s 9 of us, yes 9, and those current campers and staff are not even including alumni, making the grand total 13. My family spans almost every age group at camp from myself as the Shoreshim supervisor to my youngest cousin as a first-year camper.
For me it all started with my Mom, a proud SIT of 1984½, and my aunt Judy an SIT of 1987. They both created in me and my cousins a love for camp that runs deep. Seeing pictures of them when they were at camp, and hearing stories about their experience made me know I wanted to go to Chi.
Then there’s me and my cousin Becca. We were the first of the 9 cousins to start going to camp in 2010. We were bunk mates and it brought us so close together. We even created a word, fresins (friend + cousin). I don’t think we realized as young campers how important we were to each other especially with it being our first time away from home. After those first two weeks we were hooked, and soon after joined Zach, Adam, and Marc, our younger brothers and cousins. Then Rachel, Josh, Alex and Henry, and then the final cousin who just finished her first year of camp, Sami.
I got the unique opportunity of being Sami’s village leader in Shoreshim this summer. It gave my aunt and uncle some peace of mind knowing I was close by and making sure she was having a great time, which was awesome. What was so cool about it for me was being the oldest of the cousins at camp this year getting to hang out with the youngest of us and see camp through her eyes.
I think that’s what’s so special about having all this family at camp. You get to relive every age group along with them. Getting to see my brother and cousins experience camp and knowing I’ll get to see my younger cousins have their Habo day, go on PNW, and finally have their SIT summer is something I have always loved and looked forward to. I also know that my younger cousins appreciate having these resources of their older cousins to ask questions and advice. With my family spread out all over the country, having camp as our home base makes us all feel so connected to each other. Being a part of such a large Camp Chi family just makes Chi feel that much more like my home.
Maya Parks (SIT 2016, SIT Staff 2020) just completed her 12th summer at Camp Chi as the Shoreshim Village Leader. When not at camp, Maya is a student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison where she is studying Theatre and Jewish Studies.