Shabbat Shalom from Zionsville!
It is hard to believe that this is the last Shabbat of August, and that it has been three weeks since we celebrated the final Shabbat of GUCI Summer 2021. Throughout the summer, we had more than 500 campers, staff and faculty join us at Moore Road – and what a summer it was. Just months ago, we were not certain camp would be able to happen, and if it did, what it would have to look like to account for COVID-19. We are extremely proud of the work our team and staff did throughout the year and during the summer to ensure to make this remarkable summer possible.
As we shared in the spring, we took many precautions to ensure our community would be safe and healthy all summer. From regular testing, to podding as cabins/units to mask wearing during the first week of camp – and here we are on the other side, thrilled to share it worked! We had zero cases of COVID-19 and most importantly, we had an incredible summer.
These protocols and precautions were needed, but it was the performance, commitment, and resilience of our 2021 GUCI Staff that proved critical to our having an amazing summer. The best-laid plans in a complex environment are just that….they are plans. We knew in advance of camp that we would be learning as we go and pivoting to adapt to what we observed. It wasn’t always easy, convenient, or intuitive for our staff. Nevertheless, relying on their love and passion for GUCI and the camper experience, they focused in and persevered. We are incredibly proud of our staff and our heartfelt thanks only scratches the surface in showing our gratitude for their efforts.
Our communications team did a remarkable job at capturing some of the big moments this summer – from when we announced no COVID-19 on camp to reflecting on the summer, I encourage you to take a look at the below videos for a glimpse into the remarkable summer we had.
I also wanted to take a moment to say thank you to the 83 donors who together raised nearly $17,000 to support our staff. With minimal opportunities to leave camp, these funds helped us provide our staff with incredible Oneg’s (our Friday evening celebration of the week) with favorites such as Poke, Shapiro’s Deli, Lou Malnati’s and much much more! It also allowed us to provide regular treats from Starbucks and other tastes from the “outside” world as well as some fun staff merchandise. As you know, our summer does not happen without our incredible staff, and with your support we were able to make a challenging summer a bit more comfortable for them.
New this summer, we piloted a program called Cabin Parents. Our camper families worked together with other families in their camper’s cabins to provide treats for our counselors. Not only were our staff incredibly appreciative of the generosity of their cabin parents, but it helped create a cabin community that extended to camper families.
With summer wrapping up, we are turning our attention to planning for summer 2022! We will be sending more detailed information to our camp families about re-enrollment, but we are planning to officially open enrollment for summer 2022 on Monday, October 3rd! For campers that enroll by end of day Monday, November 15th, they will receive a surprise GUCI Hanukkah gift! If you know someone who should spend their summer with us, send them this link and they can speak to someone on the Director team.
Throughout the fall and winter, we will be traveling (both in-person – hopefully – and virtually) to many cities in our region. We’d love to see you when we are there so keep an eye out from us and your synagogue for details.
As we look to the High Holy Days drawing near, we wish you a very sweet and Shana Tova (happy new year)! Here’s to putting the past two years in perspective, and to focusing on the wonderful opportunities to come.
Goldman Union Camp Institute