Red Wagon: January Issue

January marks the start of new beginnings, and we’re thrilled to introduce the newest members of our Camp Wise family: Merida Rheaume and Amy Kalk! Merida joined the CW family on December 29 and is the first child to proud parents Zach (CW Facility Manager) and Lindsay. We can’t wait for Merida to settle into her home at 13164 Chardon, Ohio (she’s so lucky she gets to go to camp every day)!

Red Wagon: December Issue

“…Hail, hail the gang’s all here, with a welcome to Camp Wise…” and the first edition of the Camp Wise Red Wagon! We’re so excited to bring Camp Wise news and fun to the inboxes of our camp families, staff, donors, alumni and community each month. This is not replacing Wise Times*, which will still be published each fall and spring.

Why We Gave

This summer, our hearts broke with the news that campers would not be able to experience The Home of Happiness. It was hard for us to even imagine being current campers excitedly gearing up for a summer at CW and hearing this news. We reached out to one another and agreed we would go to pretty much any length to see camp open in Summer 2021—to give campers the opportunity to return to their paradise at 13164. Throughout our time at Wise, we learned so much about the importance of camp, Jewish identity, and community. Camp has given us so much, so it only seemed right to give back, together. We hope, that with our collective donation, and the generosity of fellow Camp Wisers, we will help secure the future for Camp Wise.

A Summer Away From Our Home Away From Home

Giving back to the place that has given us so much for more than half a decade felt empowering, especially this summer. Knowing that our signatures will be tucked away on the inside of our project forever and knowing that we are starting our legacy of giving back to camp in new ways means so much to us. This summer has been pretty lackluster for us otherwise, but returning to camp for a few hours filled us with the energy, lightheartedness, and happiness we had six years ago when we arrived there for our first summer, and that is a testament to how wonderful CW is. While walking through camp, we found ourselves reminiscing, talking about camp and smiling the whole time. Even though we all had to spend this summer away from our home away from home, we want the entire Camp Wise community to know that camp still feels like camp, and that giving back to camp helped remind us of how much it has impacted us in our lives.

Living the Chai Life – The Home of Happiness

Eight years, three houses and two states later, we now live in Cleveland and the one constant that has remained for our family is Camp Wise. It is where our children, now teenagers, have found themselves. It is where they have learned independence. It is where they have learned how to enjoy the muddy, rainy camp summers more than the hot and dry ones. On a regular basis, they debate whether potato bar constitutes as a full meal. They know that they have a community that wraps around them and supports them. Toasted cheese. Chugs and more chugs. And, as one of our kids says, “Camp Wise is a feeling; you can’t label it or define it by one word. It IS Camp Wise.”

From Team Lorax to a Camp Wise Wedding

Undoubtedly, this has been a challenging year for everyone. For us, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, spelled out the postponement of our wedding – something we naturally had been incredibly excited about and planning for well over a year. But as two life-long Camp Wisers, we were fortunate enough to have developed the skills and ability to adapt, adjust, and roll with the cards we were dealt while managing to find the positive in any situation (or you could say, making lemonade flavored bug juice out of lemons!).

We have often said that the decision our parents made in sending us to Camp Wise was the single most impactful decision on the trajectory of our lives. For both of us, camp was a place where we had the opportunity to explore our identities and become the best versions of ourselves, which ultimately led us to finding each other.

100 Reasons Why We Love Camp Wise

I love Camp Wise because…it’s where I met my best friends, discovered who I really am, and how to embrace everything that is great in life; it taught me how to be unapologetically myself and raised my expectations of the person I could be; you can make a purple soup with your village at 7:45 am; it shaped who I am as a leader, friend, community member, and Jew.

Why You Should Go To Camp Wise…And How It Changed My Life

Last summer, my first-ever summer at Camp Wise, I had the best summer of my life. Whether it was playing Name That Tune on the Solel bus (shout out to the front of the bus gang), playing cards on the deck, trips to Cincinnati and to Buffalo, Shabbat services, or talking, laughing, and singing together in the yurts, there was never a dull moment. If you had seen me at Solel Havdalah, you probably would have thought I had been going to camp for 8 years because of how much I was crying.