A year ago at this time, while I was serving on the faculty of Eisner Camp, a call went out in the Chadar (Dining Hall) for volunteers to appear in a promo video for a new URJ Science and Technology camp that was to open this summer. Intrigued, I watched as the campers were filmed engaging in fun and exciting experiments with dry ice and making Jewish connections so organically that it was simply a part of the science rather than apart form the science.
At the time I had only three thoughts: “This is so cool!”, “Why didn’t they have this camp when I was a kid?” and “I just have to be faculty there next summer!” Well, next summer is here, URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy is a reality, I am one of two faculty members at camp this week and yes, THIS CAMP IS SO COOL!
What is being built here in its inaugural year is an intimate, close community in which leadership, staff, faculty and campers are sharing in the creation of a place that combines Jewish values, scientific inquiry, mutual caring and support with fun, joy, and pure ruach (Jewish spirit).
It is hard to fully explain what is so special about this place. At URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech, like-minded children have found a summer home all their own, a place that wasn’t available to them anywhere else. There are things you hear campers and counselors say here that you would hear nowhere else, such as:
- “Can I launch the drone?”
- “That’s the weirdest seagull I’ve ever seen.” (as a drone sped by on the soccer field)
- “We had to make a nightly quota for questions in the dorm, so that everyone would have a chance.”
- A dozen girls skipping down the hill singing “Let It Go” from Frozen, in Hebrew.
- “I just know we’re going to get all the way to the end.” (As we tried over and over to get a Rube Goldberg device we built in Robotics to successfully complete all its tasks)
- “41 trials and lots of savlanut (patience)!” (A camper when asked how they finally got the Rube Goldberg device to work.”
- “There’s time for more math after we play frisbee.” (Said by a counselor to a camper who wanted her to teach him about calculus.)
- “Can I go in and see the Robots one more time, please!!!” (The plea of a camper who I was able to get into the IRobot research facility for one last look before we made way to the Science Museum.)
- And my favorite line of the summer, said to me by one of the campers I was working with in a workshop: “This place is so great, even the Rabbis are nerds!”
Unique and Special are words that best describe what we hear at Sci-Tech and who we are as campers, leadership, instructors, counselors and faculty. Our pioneer summer is one of amazing Taglit (discovery) both personal and communal that will resonate for years to come as this special place continues to grow and grow.
A week at Sci-Tech and I am left with one overriding thought: “Why didn’t they have this camp when I was a kid?”
I can’t wait to come back next summer!