By: Max Steiger, Josh Shankman, Gabby Engelman, Audra Rosenthal, Becca Powers, Isaac Einstein
To us, Solel 2017 represents family. That summer, we made lifelong friends, talked about life around a campfire, played intense battle ball games, started spontaneous dance parties, sang our hearts out on the Solel deck, spent endless hours traveling on a bus together, and learned how to look out for one another and come together. In the simplest of terms, CW has changed our lives forever, for the better, giving us a community unlike any other, and making us who we are today.
Throughout our CW years, we not only acquired a timeless second family, but we also learned diverse and valuable lessons that we will always carry with us. Our summers taught us about the history of camp and the Jewish community, the value of showing compassion and respect to others and ourselves, the importance of repairing the world, in big and small ways, and about loving your cabin mate just as much as you did the day before even if their team won Maccabiah and yours did not. We also learned about the value and beauty of a world without technology. Today, we would trade in social media for a game of euchre in a heartbeat.
Although it has been a few years since we were all together during our Solel summer, we still prioritize seeing each other several times a year. Even those of us who come from out of town will visit Cleveland just so we can spend hours hanging out together at Mitchell’s Ice Cream! We plan our winter and spring breaks around being able to visit each other. In this way, camp has been a gift that keeps on giving because we continue to experience the magic of Camp Wise in our relationships that extend far beyond the months of summer and years past. As we look around at the photos taped to our walls at college this year, it’s amazing how many of them include camp friends—friends we spent 3-4 weeks out of the year, but who have left such an influential and positive impact on our lives forever.
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.
CW has brought us forever friends from around the country, lifelong skills, memories that will never leave us, and stories we will tell our children. We’re grateful for camp, and each other, and we cannot wait to see what CW does for our campers and entire community in Summer 2021.
*We have nearly hit the full match of $128,000 available from the All Together Now matching grant program, made possible through JCamp 180, a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. Please click here to help us complete our match! We are just a few thousand dollars away from our goal. Every donation counts to help ensure we can provide an incredible Summer 2021.