Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays of the year. We take a well-deserved day off from the routine and we relax, spending time with family and friends, watching football and parades, and of course, enjoying delicious food! But did you know Thanksgiving is filled with Jewish values? A holiday where you reflect and say thanks for the things you have in your life and invite others to join you. Even the origin story of the holiday has Jewish roots – people fleeing from religious persecution for a place where they are able to practice faith freely. And, just like we welcome new campers and staff from all over the globe every summer to join the Camp Chi Family, a key part of the story is the harmonious relationship the English settlers and Native Americans formed, culminating with the now famous Thanksgiving meal.
Camp Chi’s core values are chesed/kindness, kavod/respect and kehilla/community. Through the camp experience, campers and staff have these values and many more instilled in them. Just like in Massachusetts in the 1600s, we form a community where everyone is celebrated for who they are and what they can contribute. But the key value of Thanksgiving that we teach is gratitude – to be happy with what we have and thank others for what they provide. It starts small with the motzi and birkat before and after the meal. Then we bring out the kitchen staff and thank them for the wonderful meals they prepare for us. It is a common sight to see campers thank their counselors on Shabbat for all they do and we celebrate the best of the best during Havdallah with our Staff Stars and Ruach Award Winners. And, on the beach the night of Chi burning, Brad leads us in thanking each group of people – campers, counselors, kitchen staff, specialists, nurses, office staff and more. Gratitude may be the secret fourth value of camp.
As a camp, there is so much we are thankful for. For the new friends we make each year and the returning ones we can’t wait to see again. For having a facility that allows us to have a large and successful camp and for the amazing staff that give it their all to make camp the best it can be. For the creation of the Shark Attack Slush Puppy and the matzah ball soup on Shabbat. For each of those and for so much more we are thankful.
Just last week we celebrated #CHIrtDay (Camp T-Shirt Day) and showed our Camp Chi pride all over social media. Almost 100 people sent photos, tagged us and used the hashtag #CHIrtDay.
Now we want to flood social media with gratitude. We ask you to download this page, write what you are thankful for and share it on social media with #CHImThankful. We showed our love and pride of camp. Now we will show the world that we are not only about fun, but we are about values. Be a mensch, download the page, fill it out and share.