By Maddie Weikel, URJ GUCI Counselor
Despite this being my eleventh summer on camp, I felt nervous when I drove down Moore Road at the beginning of June. At the end of last summer, I knew that most of my closest friends would not be at camp this year, but I was so overwhelmed with the love and accomplishment from an amazing summer that I told myself I had to come back for another — I would definitely regret it if I didn’t. I rode this high for months after camp ended and looked back at notes and pictures from the past summer well into the winter, but as spring and finally summer rolled around, the anxiety around most of the people who made last summer so transformative not being there this year overtook the warmth of nostalgia.
After no more than two days of being in a familiar place with unfamiliar people, however, I felt not only at home again but also invigorated by what the rest of the summer would hold — GUCI is unbelievably magical because of the irreplaceable community, and I realized that I had a whole new spread of people with whom I could connect, collaborate, and love. Despite my worries leading up to my arrival on camp this year, I knew that I would have an amazing summer, but I never expected that I would be able to be any more filled with joy and gratitude that I was in years past, yet here I am.
GUCI is home, the source of my Jewish identity, and mother to my most meaningful experiences and friendships, and I can tell that the memories I will create for myself and for my campers this summer will be unlike any I have had before. Camp is about people, but just because certain people may not be in your same cabin or kesher group or chug does not mean that the value of your community will be diminished. Anyone who dedicates their summer to a small, non-air conditioned patch of gravel in Zionsville, Indiana understands the importance of GUCI and will be more than happy to share their little piece of their love with you. GUCI magic is all around, and it’s up to us to let it in.