Blog 1

A great week

It’s been a great first week of camp. I have been truly impressed with our campers and staff this past week. Here at Birch Trail we pride ourselves on preparation. We like to plan for everything and then plan again. We have camp directors, project directors, program directors, village directors, and many more positions all dedicated to a certain specific area of camp that they make great. We even have a position for a homesick specialist. The homesick specialist is a position dedicated to looking for any homesick campers during the first week of camp and being available to help with anything they need. The girls at camp have been having so much fun that this past week our homesick specialist has actually been a little bored!

Creating new positions and improving on other areas of camp is an area that we are constantly working on. I like to think that we do a pretty good job at camp, but I always want to do better and find new and creative ways to deliver friendship, learning and growth to your children.

One of those new ideas was to bring back a former leadership team member to support our leadership team during the first week of the summer. It’s really a win/win scenario. For the former leadership team member, they get a week at camp and for Birch Trail, we get a proven staff member who can support and provide our current leadership team members with wonderful on the job training during the sometimes hectic first week of camp.

Our veteran leadership team member had so much fun at camp this past week that she couldn’t help but write about it on the plane ride back to the “real world”

I hope you enjoy reading about her week at camp as much as we enjoyed having her back at Birch Trail:

Hello everyone!

My name is Emily Blumberg but all campers and staff know me as Beebs. I had the privilege to come to camp this past week to help out as the staff welcomed the campers and everyone settled into first session. I was a camper from 2001-2007 and a counselor from 2009-2012. I was on Leadership Team as a Program Director from 2010-2012. Since then, I somehow found myself visiting for at least a day almost every year, but this time I got to settle in and really see camp up close again.

I have joked am very serious about buying camp from Gabe since I was a camper and proudly have a contract signing over my soul as a down payment laminated somewhere in his office. So, as I am sure is the case for all of you/your current and past campers, the traditions and essence of Birch Trail are the most important to protect in the world.

For me, the most special part of this week was seeing how perfectly camp still operates. During the week I had the chance to talk to Gabe about what camp used to be like and what it was like to be back. I said camp is the same in the best way I could imagine. When my friend Rachel Broder and I started on Leadership Team, we were so excited about the idea of joining this very cool lineage of Program Directors, because we knew it meant preserving the fun of all-camp programs for campers. When I was no longer on staff, I knew I would pass the baton to future generations of Program Directors and Leadership Team. It was never about being indispensable or the job being about me. It was about continuing the camp tradition and leaving it in a better place than we found it. This week, I got to see how awesome the Leadership Team is. They are collaborative, good-humored, energetic and thoughtful. It was the most wonderful feeling to know that I am now a small part in a continuing lineage of staff and campers that continue to make camp better.

For the parents of Tamarack campers reading this, I was so impressed by their leadership and their pure love of, and joy at, camp. My TM took leadership at camp very seriously and I know my cabin would be so impressed with them. Again, it was incredible to see them fit seamlessly into the role of camp leaders the way I was so excited to as a camper.

As I sat at the first council fire and heard Gabe tell the story of camp and tradition and why we give key logs, the story had new meaning (as I think it does every year). This year, I took to heart his comments on adapting traditions but keeping the values of them. We don’t have to reserve key logs for lumberjacks that risk their life to free up a logjam, but can recognize people at camp for their bravery, support and empathy. With everything happening in today’s world, I find myself coming back to my values. Why do I believe what I believe? How do I believe people around me should be treated? How do I believe I should be treated? And I always find the answers coming from experiences I had at camp. The set of values I have that make me who I am are still being taught at camp, regardless of whether the lodge floor is redone or the Tam wash house gets an upgrade (both of which are really awesome too by the way). Birch Trail uniquely continues to be a place where girls and young women are finding their independence, learning self-confidence, and supporting one another. Campers and staff alike are taught kindness and acceptance. Gabe, Barbara, Erin, Emma, and the staff show campers that being brave and taking risks is a good thing, and that they will have a community of support along the way. There was so much giggling at camp and it was infectious and to this day I seek out amazing friends that make me laugh. I saw creativity and teamwork and open-mindedness from campers and from personal experience, I feel pretty great about those values being spread when they’re not at camp.

It was a perfect week. I am, as always, indebted to the Chernovs and Emma, the Leadership Team, and the staff and campers for the tireless work of continuing to make Birch Trail the best place to ever be and to allow me, and all of us, to be a part of that. I have a funny feeling I’ll see you all soon.

All my love, Color Your Days Bright, Best Friends Are Made at Birch Trail, There Is A Destiny, Spirit in the Woods, How,


2 thoughts on “A great week”

  1. I spent just one summer at Birchtrail as a counselor 14 years ago, and I still love the memories. Beebs was a great kid then who I still remember. This morning I woke up to the annoying buzz of an alarm clock in suburban American, followed by the more annoying buzz of a mocking bird mimicking the alarm, and was disappointed that it ruined a dream where I was flying down a zip line and mountain biking along the shores of Lake Pokegama. The ceiling fan in my room helped me feel the wind on my face as I raced through the birch trees. There were campers in the back ground singing, laughing, and goofing around. I quickly returned to the grey cement world of suburbia as I raced up a California freeway to a parking garage, asked a homeless man for the zillionth time to move his camp site far enough from the office door that I could go to work and am enjoying another day at work in a city full of people who think the cement pond full of green sludge at the park is a lake. Thank you for an awesome summer that still brings a smile to my face when I think about it.

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