By: David Tochtermann
What do you think of when you imagine a “home”? For me, I imagine the feeling of security and shelter, the overwhelming flood of love and compassion, and maybe most importantly, the presence of family. Camp has no shortage of all of those things. Every facet of life at GUCI is engulfed by those qualities that create a home for so many people. It feels to me like the air at camp is different than elsewhere. Everyone you see, you are greeted with a smile. Everyone at camp wants so badly to create a community as tightly knit as possible, and when so many people have that mutual desire to create something so special and so unique, amazing things can be accomplished. Every single day at camp, friendships are formed, strengthened, and solidified. That is part of what makes camp so special. You may only be a camper for so long, but the magic that GUCI creates never leaves your life. This place helps to return love, support, ruach, and lifelong friends to all who arrive.
As a Jew, GUCI has been invaluable in creating my own unique Jewish identity. Camp offers endless opportunities to explore your own thoughts and beliefs as a Jew through prayer, reflection, and discussion. Camp gives you the tools to become who you want with your own Judaism. Whether you feel most connected to your Judaism through prayer, song, or personal reflection, camp gives you many opportunities to explore all of these methods and find the way you feel most connected to your Judaism.
For me, camp has helped me discover that I feel most connected and at peace during services. Whenever I look up at the trees in our beautiful Beit T’fillah, surrounded by hundreds of voices joined together as one community, I feel an undeniable sense of peace and happiness come over me. GUCI has provided me so many opportunities to grow as a person and a Jew, and it has been one of my greatest honors and privileges to help spread the magic that has transformed my life to those who come here in search of a home.