R&R for the New Year: Refocus & Repair
Here we are, about to welcome in another Jewish New Year. In the days preceding Rosh Hashana, tradition asks us to do what is called Heshbon Nefesh, an accounting of the soul. That means we take this time to turn inward, reflect on everything and take note of where we missed the mark. The tradition is more than just doing some internal thinking. It requires us to lean forward and take the first step in refocusing our actions and repairing that path we are on. It is in the vulnerability of these conversations with others that we begin the process of trying again, becoming closer with those around us, showing empathy, making a commitment to do better, and asking for forgiveness.
This year, more than ever, Camp Chi is taking this tradition literally. As we get ready to turn 100, we look back to forge ahead. For nearly a century we have continued to be a leader in the camping world, provide a safe and welcoming community, and educate young people on the Jewish expression of universal values so that every generation grows up to be the best it can. Each summer, we hope that the campers who come through our doors find their home away from home, learn who they are and who they want to be while discovering the activities and the people that make them happy. We also hope that through the camp experience, whether for one summer or ten, our campers grow into adults who care about the world around them, who stand for kindness and respect and understand the power of community.
As an organization, we always strive to do our best. Recent world events have sparked a desire for social change and it has given us reason to reflect on how we can expand resources within the framework of Camp Chi and its values. We are fortunate to have a community of campers, parents, staff and alumni who support us, enlighten us, share opportunities with us and help us respond wisely and with compassion. Through careful examination of how important topics such as race, diversity, gender identity and inclusion for all apply to camp, we recognize that, we, too, are always learning and growing.
Before we can usher in a new century of Camp Chi Magic, we must learn from our past, be true to the strong foundation these 100 years have given us, and take our responsibility seriously as the stewards for continuing the tradition of Camp Chi Magic into another century. We ask forgiveness for the times we may have fallen short, both as individuals and as the organization, and resolve to do all we can to keep the flame burning bright. Change can be difficult, but as we have learned from the past 100 years of Camp Chi, our camp will continue to do the hard work, live by our core values of kavod (respect), chesed (kindness) and kehillah (community), and move forward together.
As we go forward, we commit to lead with compassion and curiosity, to provide a space to explore topics about which the world is passionate, to try new things—to change for the better and ensure that the next generation of campers will continue to dedicate themselves to being ambassadors of civility and humanity. With the Jewish New Year upon us, we commit to taking time to pause, to reflect, to live our values and to keep the flame lit today and every day.
Shanah Tovah Umetuka! May you have a sweet and good new year!