Shabbat Shalom From Cabin 10

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Cabin 10 Service, july 8, 2022

Each cabin at GUCI has the opportunity to lead the service. They work with our t’filah specialist to pick a service theme, select music and create a meaningful service for the rest of camp. For the final Friday night service of Kallah Aleph 2022, Cabin 10 (the oldest Darom-area cabin) led a beautiful service. They shared their wisdom on camp with all of camp and song-led for most of the prayers/songs. It was a magical evening as a whole, and Cabin 10 started it off. Below, please find the service parts from this amazing cabin (in order of their parts).

“Our theme for our final Shabbat Service is advice to younger campers. The first thing that popped into my head was “live in the moment.” This is something I’ve strived to live by this year. Not too long ago we were little Garin campers on our first shabbat counting down the days ‘til we could be in Anaf. Now, here I am, in Anaf, spending my 26th and final shabbat as a camper. While each unit has something different and unique to offer, ever since I stepped foot on camp 8 years ago I have been looking forward to the amazing Anaf opportunities like Project, Kesher, Limud, and more. A quote from a song very dear to Anaf goes “The days turn into months, the months turn into years.” Camp goes by so fast. We spend 11 months of the year just waiting for this one. We try to rush through the months before camp just so we can get here faster, but then we forget to slow down. I think we can all agree that we sometimes rush camp. Maybe you want the day to go quicker so you can go to the pool, or the week to go quicker so shabbat will come, but I urge you to slow down and cherish the moments. Camp goes by so quick that before you know it, you will be in my position, looking out at the community you’ve grown up in saying your last words as a camper, wishing you had slowed it all down.”

“Every week I look forward to shabbat, as I’m sure many of you do. Specifically, shabbat for me builds up, not just to one song, but to one moment, and that moment is the reason I come back to camp each summer. Allow me to set the scene: we are at the slow part of song session, candles illuminating our faces which are dripping with the sweat of mosh pits and passion. We have calmed down and with our pinkies linked, we sing “Shalom al yisrael.” The last al yisrael has so much raw emotion behind it as the entire camp comes together to produce the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard. From my first year Garin to my second year Anaf, I’ve been in awe of how we are able to create something so beautiful, and I recently realized that everyone, every single person here, must be fully committed to be able to feel the magic. Simply choosing to sing out or picking a harmony that you don’t already hear: these are the things that create the experience for everyone. I’ve come to learn that you have to truly want the magic to feel the magic. As cheesy as it may seem, you really do have to “be the change you want to see in the world.” Camp isn’t inherently magical, it’s you who makes it feel that way. So, my advice as I head on to the next stage of my GUCI career is to not rely on the older campers, counselors, and top deck to create the magic for you. Soon you’ll be the oldest, and you must create it yourself. Sing out even if you’re the only one, find new harmonies, commit to shtick, engage in programs, jump at roll call, and GUCI, don’t let the magic die.”

“My advice would be to not get worked up over the little things because in the end, we only live once. Something may be on your mind right now and it may feel like it is the biggest deal. It probably won’t matter in a year from now, or even a couple days, so do not waste your time stressing over something that has already happened. You can’t change the past but you can look forward to the future. Think of how much life you have left to live. There are so many experiences you have yet to experience and so many memories you will make. While camp is coming to an end, don’t bother being upset over the little things and enjoy the time you have left.”

“My advice is to branch out. Just a few years ago, I could not come up here alone like I am right now. When I was younger, I would barely even talk to people outside of my family. Throughout my years of coming to GUCI, I think the most important thing I can take away from my experience is to take the chance no matter how afraid you are. As I started to learn how to grow out of my shell, I found the most amazing people that I will keep in my life forever. From this, I urge you to step out of your comfort zone, try new things, be open to any opportunity, and make new friends. Doing all of these has given me the best summers of my life. From being a shy little girl to becoming who I am today, Goldman Union Camp Institute: Thank You.”
-Maya K.

“As the end of my time as a camper approaches with a relative and quite uncomfortable quickness, my mind automatically thinks back to my past years at camp, remembering and acknowledging not only a few of my regrets, but mostly the immense impact camp has made on me. I think back to my shy little Garin self, walking into Cabin 1 all those years ago, nervous yet excited for the memories I was set to gain from this supposed “magical” place called GUCI. As I look back on these memories, I recognize not only their significance, but how quickly they have flown by. I used to think that time at camp wasn’t as precious as people expressed it to be and that the time I had until I reached my final year was in abundance. Well, I couldn’t have had a more naive mindset. The past 8 years have gone by quicker than I ever could have imagined. Because of such a seemingly short 8 years, I implore all of you, the younger campers, to take advantage of every single moment you have here at camp, whether that be services, chug, or even shiur. Try not to let the time fly by, although that’s usually inevitable at camp, but savor every moment.”

“When thinking about my answer to the prompt “advice you would give to younger campers or yourself,” a lot of things crossed my mind. One piece of advice, which I’ve only recently started working on and I believe will take me a lifetime to figure out, is to stop caring about other people’s opinions of you and to love yourself whole-heartedly. This is something I’ve struggled with a lot, and I’m sure many of you have too, but I’ve realized that life is so much more meaningful and peaceful when you let go of all the little worries about things like a hair being out of place, or whether your outfit looks good or not, or people thinking you’re weird or annoying, or whatever it may be. Those things don’t matter. It’s definitely a challenge trying not to constantly worry about how you seem to others around you, but I think what matters in the end is that you love and are confident in yourself and who you are as a person. So, with this in mind, give yourself grace. Be kind to your mind, body, and soul, and work on letting go of those small things that don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. When looking at the bigger picture, I realize how fast time goes by, and how short life really is. If we spend our time focusing on insignificant things, whatever those may be for you, we are going to miss the beautiful and meaningful moments life has to offer.”

“I remember my first year on camp as a shy and scared second year Shoresh camper. As soon as I stepped foot on camp I immediately felt overwhelmed. I help onto those feelings of being shy and overwhelmed instead of opening up and appreciating the little things. Looking back as a second year Anaf camper, I truly truly truly urge you to go out of your bubble or comfort zone to experience the wonderful memories. As my last dats of being a camper come to an end, I’ve realized that the best memories made aren’t the programs but the little unexpected things like sitting on the Beit Am porch for every meal or having most of Anaf scream at your brother’s counselor to wake up, painting a rock, a silly unexpected poem, watching your old counselors play flight, all of Anaf bonding over a terrible movie, or even sitting next to your counselor when she was in Anaf and you were in Gezah. I know the camp days are long and tiring, but my final advice is to live in the moment.”

“Now, I have a ton of things to tell my younger self and could go on for hours about that, some basic, some more advanced. One thing I could say is “be happy” or “smile more,” but what I would like to say is “take it all in.” I know that’s basic but it is really important. I bet tons of people have said this and maybe even some of my friends in my cabin. This is my last year and currently I am writing this on my friends couch wishing I was home at camp. I don’t know right now if I will be reading this myself or at camp but this has given me a chance to reflect on my past years at camp. My first day at camp, Shoresh 2 at camp, I was going to be a taste camper and let me tell you that I was scared, like screaming and crying holding the rails of my cabin… my counselors may have been holding me back from running off… I can’t remember a lot from that year because I was a child and I bet most of you guys in Garin and Shoresh won’t remember a ton of your experience, i that year chose to stay longer than a taste camper, I wanted to be that “Big Girl” and my friends convinced me. Ever since that I have been at camp every summer, now like I have said it’s my last year, last Shabbat, last everything as a camper I wish I have had the proper chance to take everything in this session now that I’m home it has gave me a chance to realize how fast time flies. Take a moment to look around you at your cabin mates, counselors, the rocks, the benches, all of it. Someday you’ll be in Anaf 2 wishing you could start from the beginning again.”

“The hardest part about coming to camp is knowing that at some point you will have to say goodbye. For 8 years I have been welcomed through the gates of GUCI on a special Tuesday in June, knowing that in 26 days I would be leaving on a sad Sunday in July. I know this is not our final time up here, and it’s definitely not our last time walking around these rocky roads. This is not my final goodbye. I hope to be one of the not socially acceptable aged top deck members. Instead of being welcomed I will be doing the welcoming. We have to accept the fact that nothing will ever be the same as it was when we were campers, but growing up with all of you by my side has shown me no matter how we’ve changed and grown, we’re going through all of it together. Because we need it just as much as anyone, I want to give some advice to the second years. As we drive out the gates in the next few days, instead of saying goodbye I urge you to say see you later, because this isn’t the last goodbye, it’s simply the end to the rest of our beginning. I’ll see you later, GUCI.”
-Maya H.

“It is hard to wrap my mind around the fact that my last few days as a camper are coming to a close. Obviously there is so much advice I want to share with the younger campers, but if I had to pick, it would be to soak up every moment here and that your camp friends will always be the real ones. Never take any moment for granted at GUCI because time flies by so fast, and before you know it, you will be in my position. Cherish every moment, little or big, because the memories you make here are truly so special and one of a king. The friends I have made throughout my 7 years as a camper mean more than anything. You go through it all with those people. If I need to cry, rant, or just sit on a silent FaceTime call with someone, I will always go to my camp friends. I encourage you all to never lose contact with these people, because your camp friends are truly your best friends. Thank you GUCI for the best 7 years. I can’t wait to see what my future holds with GUCI.”

“I’ve been lucky enough to have experienced GUCI over the past ten years, but it’s been a part of my life since my parents stepped foot here. It’s bittersweet that this is the last time I’ll have the privilege of delivering a service part as a camper. While being a camper here for the last decade I’ve come to the realization that each summer I walk on and off camp as a slightly different person. Camp has always had the ability to force me to gain a new perspective and a deeper appreciation of everything. I appreciate all of the incredible people and lifelong friends I’ve made within this truly special community, I appreciate the music that allows me to feel more connected to Judaism, I appreciate all the inside jokes, anaf campfires, and the list goes on. As much as I wish I could slow or stop time now, I remember when I was younger, each summer the dreaded final shabbat rolls around and with it, Cabin 10’s service. Each year I would look up at the older girls standing before me and always think to myself, “they’re so old, I can’t wait to be where they are, and I have so much time until them.” Now that I’m here, the only advice I could give is that as we approach these last few days, I truly hope that each and every one of you here sharing this space cherish each moment you have in your cabin, your unit, and in our wonderful community that all of us are incredibly fortunate to be a part of. Thanks GUCI.”

“If I had to tell younger campers one thing, it would be to embrace the change. I have never been very good at going with the flow, but these past two years have taught me that no matter how different, everything at camp is beautiful. Nothing, especially not Covid, can change that. Every change that has been made is special, and something to open up to instead of turning away from. I never would’ve thought that I would enjoy picnic lunches for every meal so much, or that a Dan Nichols concert out on the grass would feel like a real concert, but I was able to embrace it and make it an amazing experience. And, after all, some things will always stay the same. The trees around the Beit T’filah will always rustle in the wind, the community will always be this welcoming, and most importantly, the friends we have made along the way will always be with us. No matter the distance, no matter how old we get, no matter what. So, thank you to all my friends and everyone else who has helped me make my camp journey meaningful and unique.”

“If there is one thing to know about me, it would be that I can relate almost anything back to a musical. And as this is my last summer as a camper, it makes me think of all the different things musicals have taught me about saying goodbye. Goodbye may not always be what you want to hear, but sometimes it’s exactly what you need. Almost every musical has an aspect of saying goodbye in it, but I think these 3 specifically have a lesson we can relate to when camp comes to an end. So, as Lin-Manuel Miranda brilliantly wrote, “I’m gonna teach you how to say goodbye.”

“Stop the world, take a picture try to capture, to ensure this moment lasts.” Nick Marson was one of the 7000 people stranded on the tiny Canadian island of Newfoundland during 9/11. In Come From Away, we learn the story of Nick and many others and just how strong the connection they formed in only 5 days was, and how a strong connection made it that much harder to say goodbye.

“I illuminate the stories of the people in the street. Some have happy endings, some are bittersweet, but I know them all and that’s what makes my life complete.” Throughout In The Heights, we see Usnavi de la Vega try to leave his barrio of Washington Heights over and over again, but something makes it so he can’t leave. Although he doesn’t end up following his sueñito, his little dream, he realizes the best days of his life are ahead of him, not behind him.

“I can still recall, our last summer, I see it all.” In Mamma Mia, Sophie Sheridan invites her 3 possible dads to her wedding to find out which one is truly her father, and although she never learns who her real father is, she realizes that it doesn;t matter because family is who you make it.

So no matter what the connotations of saying goodbye may be, remember the bonds, remember the dreams, and most of all, remember that no matter what, the people here tonight are your family. Go out and find your adventure, find your sueñito, find your family, but know there will always be a place for you here. At home.”