Strength In Character
During the Passover season, we retell the story of our ancestors’ fight to escape from bondage. As the story goes, Moses was minding his own business, tending to his sheep, when he heard his name echoing through the hillside. The voice, it appeared, was coming from a bush that was engulfed in flame without being consumed. This was his call to leadership. Of course, we don’t all get called to our roles as leaders in such grandiose ways.
Moses was asked to stand up in front of the (metaphorical) room and be the voice of his community. This is a very important form of leadership, though certainly not the only form. Each of us is called to leadership in different ways, and being a leader looks different for each of us. Not everyone leads from the front of the room or the top of the leaderboard. Some of us lead from the middle of the group, some from the side, and others step up by stepping back.
In sports, as in life, the greatest leaders are not always the ones with the most media attention or with the most friends on Insta. A recent article about Clippers guard Lou Williams talks about his indispensable role within his team, as a player who has come off the bench for most of his career. He shared that he understood that he was not meant to be the top-scoring player, always in the limelight. His strength was his ability to step into any position on the court and be a rock for his team. He showed true leadership and strength of character by helping his team, the fans, and the world see the importance of knowing yourself and your value. By stepping back from the limelight, he was able to step up into his true role as a leader.*
Leadership may look different to each one of you. But one thing is clear: each of you has the capacity to lead, and each of you is Strong in Character!
* Lou Williams has twice won the 6th Man of the Year Award and is now the all-time leader in bench scoring.
Do you know someone who has displayed Strength in Character in your community? Nominate them now!
JCC Maccabi Sports Camp is the perfect place to meet new friends and people from all over the world. Our camp is one big community where children bond quickly by playing sports and sharing in the activities and traditions of our camp.
Our staff is adept at fostering an environment that helps kids step out of their comfort zone and establish meaningful relationships. Still, some campers choose to come to camp with friends from home as a way to transition into the new environment.
A friend can be a security blanket or someone to be brave with when they want to try something new or start a conversation. Other campers choose to bring a friend to share the meaningful experience with them.
No matter what, camp gives kids a chance to be their best selves, to grow, learn, reach out and make new connections. Whether your child comes to camp with a friend or comes alone, we assure you that JCC Maccabi Sports Camp is a wonderful community where they will form long-lasting friendships and most importantly, share s’mores around a campfire!
There’s an old proverb that says “If you take one step towards God, God will take two steps towards you.”
Whether it’s physical fitness you’re trying to achieve, saving money for your next family vacation, or improving your swing in baseball, the truth is that when you put in work, you will reap benefits.
“Coachability” is really the key to success at JCC Maccabi Sports Camp. We place great emphasis on effort, fully applying oneself, and an interest in being coached to succeed. Our main role is to help athletes advance their game, offer guidance on becoming a better teammate, and motivate every child to reach their full potential on and off the field.
If something feels impossible today, it is important for our campers to realize that it won’t always feel that way. We encourage our kids to take small steps in the right direction now that will help them advance in the future.
The process of self-improvement is reciprocal and exponential. The more we as humans cultivate our own potential, the easier it becomes to keep progressing along our path. What will you work on today that will help you tomorrow?
Interested in working at camp but worried that future employers won’t see the value in a summer spent working at camp? Well, here’s an article to corporate employers that explains all of the valuable skills that staff gain in just 2 months of working at camp. Being a counselor is one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs you could ever imagine. Interested in joining us and seeing for yourself, read more about working at camp here.
Corporate Employers: Don’t Rule Out the Camp Counselor
by Mark Weller, originally published here (on LinkedIn) on November 11, 2016
As anyone with kids in today’s day and age will tell you, the pressure to succeed is very real at a very young age for them. Schools are constantly pushing them to go into higher-level classes, even if they’re not necessarily ready for them. And if you want to get into college without extracurricular activities, good luck. The pressure continues even after high school; it’s a very tough task to get a good job in your child’s chosen field after college if they don’t have some sort of internship before they graduate.
The importance of the summer internship is harming camps around the nation. College students are opting to get an internship at a large corporation, charity, law firm, etc. instead of returning to camp to be a camp counselor for another summer. People are telling them that “anyone” can be a camp counselor and employers won’t be impressed with such an “easy” summer job. But if companies should be hiring anyone, it should be camp counselors. Camp counselors are arguably some of the most patient, caring, hard-working individuals out there, and companies would be lucky to have them on their staff.
Here are just some of the many skills one learns working as a camp counselor:
1. Communication – Camp counselors are excellent communicators. They have the ability and experience communicating with all sorts of people: parents, children, superiors, and co-workers. They know how to go from comforting a worrying parent over the phone one minute to acting as a leader for their campers the next minute. This is a very strong and important skill that is growing weaker and weaker with each generation, so this an excellent quality you get when employing a previous camp counselor.
2. Love of Learning – Working at a camp for the summer (or multiple summers) is a very humbling experience. You learn your strengths and weaknesses quickly and realize that you have a lot to learn. Summer camp is as much about learning for the counselors as it is for the campers!
3. Problem Solving – Although camp counselors have many supervisors and coworkers, no one is holding their hand every step of the way during their job. They have general guidelines that they follow, of course, like bringing all their campers to activities and meals and making sure that none of them get hurt (or receive proper care when they do). But with hundreds of kids running around, plans are bound to change at the drop of a hat. When a problem arises, camp counselors are already brainstorming the best way to fix the current problem, while also making sure to stay calm and not worry any uninvolved campers. They often think of the most efficient, creative way to solve any problem.
4. Leadership and Teamwork – Over the course of a summer – or many summers – camp counselors learn the perfect balance between being a leader and being an open-minded team player. Children look up to counselors as a leader and a role model, so counselors have to be ready and willing to set a good example from the first minute that children arrive at camp. On the other hand, camp teaches you that you can’t do everything by yourself and everyone has something valuable to contribute. These are also some of the most important qualities that camp counselors teach your kids while they’re gone for a week or two.
5. Excellent Work Ethic – If nothing else, camp counselors are dedicated individuals who give it all they got. Being a camp counselor is hard work, and these teenagers/young adults are working 24 hours a day for 3 months with a small amount of time off. They are extremely passionate individuals who love to work hard all for the benefit of their campers.
So, next time you’re reviewing a pile resumes for an open position at your corporation or startup company, don’t disregard the candidate who spent the last three summers working at a summer camp. Chances are, they’re one of the most passionate, hardworking candidates in the pile!
“10 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Former Camp Counselor” – published online by Adam Boyd on November 20, 2013 on Merri-Mac
“The Power of Camp: Camp Changes Lives in Positive Ways” – published online by Jessica Coleman in May 2006 on American Camp Association
“The Camp Counselor vs. The Intern” – published online by Dan Fleshler on May 29, 2012 on The New York Times
What leads to a happy life? If you think it’s fame and fortune, you’re not alone – but, according to psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, it’s not true. In this TEDx talk, he shares the results of a 75-year long study on happiness and the important lessons uncovered by the results.
It’s astounding to hear the parallels he draws between the fundamental values of JCC Maccabi Sports Camp and his study spanning generations.
The key to a life filled with happiness boils down to one thing: relationships. That is why we strive to build a strong sense of Jewish community here at JCC Maccabi Sports Camp. Both on and off the field, we foster a supportive environment where our campers can build positive relationships away from the year-round stress, struggles and chaos of life.
Judaism is a communal experience and as a camp community, we share a bond like no other. No matter how big or small our Jewish community is here at camp, the positive relationships and social connections keep us all happier and healthier.