Thanksgiving is a time where you sit back and reflect on what you’re thankful for. Every year there are events, people, places and things that add a new layer to your life and who you are. As I’ve already had a month since celebrating our Canadian Thanksgiving, I’ve had some time to reflect on everything I have to be thankful for from this past year. For me, I can easily say I am most thankful for having the opportunity to work at GUCI.
GUCI was more than I ever could have expected it to be. I have had tons of family and friends attend the camp both as campers and staff, and I grew up listening to stories about the friendships and memories that were built there. Although, because I never experienced the camp myself, at the time I couldn’t appreciate the true magic GUCI had offered so many people who were close to me. When I talked to my mom, who is a GUCI alum, about working at camp for summer of 2016, she was so excited for me as she already knew what I was about to experience. After the summer was over, and I got off the plane, it all clicked. I now understood first hand what they were talking about and could relate to all the stories I had heard and the feeling in my family and friend’s voices when they talked about the special place they all shared. Now my own experiences are part of my family’s connection to GUCI and I am thankful that it will forever be apart of my life.
The magic I experienced at GUCI has impacted my life in so many ways, and I am forever thankful and grateful to the campers, staff, parents and faculty who made my experience so memorable and life changing. Over this past summer, I grew as a person, creating new friendships with people from places all over the states I never thought I would have the pleasure to travel, meeting campers who inspire me and staff who push me to be my best self. I’ve broadened my Jewish community, learning new tunes to prayers and hearing new perspectives on Jewish texts and lessons. I also have found a new home, a place for me to learn, share, grow and try new things.
After reflecting on all this and seeing how much my life has truly changed because of this tremendously beautiful and special place, I cannot wait to come back and continue to grow, learn and experience the GUCI magic with everyone in summer 2017.
Ari Bacher, 19, Toronto Canada