Shabbat Shalom & Welcome Home
Each session begins with a program called Homecoming. This opening night festivity is a celebration of camp beginning and a chance to welcome everyone home. Perhaps we should rename tonight’s Shabbat to homecoming. Why? Well tonight we not only will have a wonderful Shabbat hosted by the SITs of 2019, but tonight we welcome over 100 former campers and staff members back home for our alumni weekend.
Each person’s relationship and connection to camp is different, but they all share the love of this sacred and special place. To each of them, whether they were last here a month ago or decades ago, this is home. To all of them, the smell of a bonfire brings back memories of making s’mores and singing with friends on a warm summer night. Everyone experiences home in their own unique way. Some will thrive at song session, while others will enjoy the serenity of sitting by Lake Blass as the sun sets. Each person’s relationship with camp is formed as they go through their Camp Chi journey. For the SITs, the festivities of this weekend, with SIT Shabbat, the volleyball game, and the SIT Play will be major marks on their journey thus far. For our alumni, they have many more landmarks along their journey. Some have swapped out the camper hat for the staff hat and now the parent hat. Some have been involved with Chi for years and years, while others have become active once again more recently. But the journey is what shapes each person’s relationship with Chi.
And while things are different now than they were 20 years ago, with a gym and 2 pools, camp is still camp. Tonight and always, it is not about the facilities of camp. Tonight is about the people. The SITs. The alumni. The staff. The campers. Tonight is a night where we will celebrate more than just Shabbat. Tonight the kehillah grows as we become the larger Camp Chi Family. And in addition to our usual Shabbat Shalom, we will also be using the famous first day phrase- Welcome Home.