Monday, 24 Av, 5781
  |  August 2, 2021

Before You Single Out That Child…

A mother writes to head counselors, counselors and all staff members, to please remember this about your campers. Full Story

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June 16, 2021 10:18 am

This was done to me as a kid and i will never forget or forgive that man

Yes but....
Reply to  YES YES YES
June 16, 2021 1:11 pm

That man was a kid himself please reach out to him and let him apologize, he most probably has no recollection of the incident and you are suffering.

Detroit not like that
Reply to  YES YES YES
June 16, 2021 5:53 pm

In Detroit BH many years ago Moishe Shemtov made it CLEAR that these meshugasin will not be in this camp. Even scaring the kids for color war was out!

Reply to  Detroit not like that
June 20, 2021 6:09 pm

The BEST lubavitch camp by far

Perhaps in the last 20 years..
Reply to  Detroit not like that
June 25, 2021 2:01 pm

As a camper in Detroit I witnessed a kid get emotionally destroyed by a head counselor during line up.
And when the counselor called me out for whispering to my friend during dismissal after lunch, I couldn’t believe how tiny it made me feel.
I kid you not, I vowed then and there that when I’m head staff I’ll do it differently.
I truly tried my hardest not to be like my head counselor, Mendy.

not exactly true
Reply to  Detroit not like that
June 25, 2021 6:06 pm

When I was a kid I whispered to my friend when the OD was in the room and I had to stand up and put my nose against the wall for five minutes. It was humiliatingly and I will never forget it.

Reply to  Detroit not like that
June 27, 2021 1:59 pm

they still do horrible pranks for color war

Reply to  YES YES YES
June 16, 2021 7:28 pm

The problem that the writer details is mainly a problem with head staff members. Obviously, I’m sure the problem exists on a smaller scale with counselors and learning teachers, but it’s not nearly as big a deal.
I’m going as a staff member to a mainstream camp this summer, and can tell you that I ZERO plans to perpetuate the useless embarrassment techniques in my learning class. I can also say that I easily some of the head staff – I know them – perpetuating the problem.
To the head staff: Please don’t.

Kol hakavod
June 25, 2021 1:54 pm

Firstly, good for you. That’s the right attitude. Second, when you are actually in the heat of the moment, this article will suddenly become very relevant.

Head Counselors
June 16, 2021 10:22 am

I feel like I wrote this. Many many years ago I was upfront and honest with the camp director about certain issues my son had. I assumed he would pass on the message to the head counselor. I have no idea whether he did or didn’t, but the head counselor made an example of my son on the first day of camp by line up – my sons first year in camp – humiliated him in front of the entire camp. I have never forgiven him. My son is married now, BH, and he too has never forgiven him. These… Read more »

About forgiveness
Reply to  Head Counselors
June 16, 2021 5:01 pm

Just reading your comment and I’m hearing so much pain and anger. Not to minimize your pain in any way, here’s some thoughts on forgiveness: all human beings experience wrong done to them at some point in time or another. The person that caused that pain- that’s his issue with Hashem. But still being angry at someone years later and never forgiving is a problem you are a part of. We say every night by krias shma: “I forgive every person that angered me…” it would be helpful and healing to read the full English translation of that tefilla. Forgiveness… Read more »

Reply to  Head Counselors
June 16, 2021 7:36 pm

Every mainstream camp that I know of emphasizes to the counselors and learning teacher to always be on the head staff’s side. The logic: The kids need to see one unified approach to the way things are done at camp. It’ll cause less confusion than not, and things will run smoother. HOWEVER, if a head staff member does call out and embarrass a camper in front of the rest of camp, all other staff members should reach out to the kid, and make sure he’s okay. If need be, criticize the head staff member to the camper; be on his… Read more »

No problem
June 16, 2021 10:47 am

Just how about this. when the counselors who put in hundreds of hours of work into the summer before the summer even started and work that you don’t even know about call you up for a measly $18 donation to help pay for an an amazing mivtzah or program that they so far laid out their own money for, and is perfectly orchestrated to increase the amazing atmosphere in camp and really make the summer a blast, don’t *settle* for $10 And when the head counselors call up you parents to make you aware that perhaps your child isn’t an… Read more »

Reply to  No problem
June 16, 2021 10:58 am

Are your justifying these horrible practices? What does one have to do with the other?!? It’s okay to humiliate and shame a child because the father didn’t give you a donation?

No problem
Reply to  Justification?
June 16, 2021 1:29 pm

No it’s just that when you write an op-ed presumably because you care so much about the future of the children maybe also invest positively into the experience. criticism is cheap.

Reply to  Justification?
June 16, 2021 1:37 pm

I don’t think this commenter is saying to humiliate a child because the father didn’t give a donation. It’s not just the money. It seems he’s trying to get parents to understand the counselor’s perspective as well, of appreciating what he is investing. Respect/appreciation works both ways. It shouldn’t be an either/or situation. It’s not: either respect the kid, or respect the counselor (such as by giving money). Everyone wants to be heard – parents, and counselors. It’s not about the donation. It’s about appreciating the counselor’s investment in your child, and about the counselor appreciating that parents expect their… Read more »

Reply to  No problem
June 16, 2021 11:12 am

Money has nothing to do with it!
A) Parents pay well enough for camp.
B) A child deserves to be humiliated because their parents didn’t give a donation???

For you is $10 for me it’s $100
Reply to  No problem
June 16, 2021 11:49 am

Pls, do not forget that not all campers are from the wealthy families.
and each camper cost is not just camp, it’s also camper apparel and gear ( u know that as a parent I need to buy all to the camp for two months) ….

Reply to  No problem
June 16, 2021 11:56 am

The parents already emptied themselves of their resources to pay for the six children that they are sending to camp.
The fact that the counselor is paid by the camp minimum plus tips.

Doesn’t put the parents at fault.

The counselor is an adult undertakes this job willingly.

So he / she should have the responsibility for protecting EACH CHILD’s well-being
Physically and emotionally.

Regardless if the parents gave a donation or not

To clarify
Reply to  $$$
June 16, 2021 1:07 pm

Not justifying the building kids…. But also important to remember… Ever wondered how much councelors get paid?? I know parents pay a fortune for camp and they deserve for their could to enjoy it. But do not start talking about counsellors getting paid. They get paid a few hundred for 2 solid months of day and night work. Such amounts will never pass in any non-lubavitch camp. The point is chassidish counselors leave yeshiva and go to camp because their mashpiim told them this is what the Rebbe wants them to do. And that’s true. The Rebbe wants chassidishe counselors.… Read more »

Reply to  To clarify
June 16, 2021 2:23 pm

If the counselors are only doing it for the money then there is a problem.
Of course they should get paid but that shouldn’t be the main reason.

Reply to  No problem
June 16, 2021 12:44 pm

Are the hundreds of hours that the counselors prepare added together, or is it per each counselor? It would be helpful to the community if we got to see the prep happening. Also, it may put parents’ minds at ease that the pre-work/training is real and more than a five-minute (likely a 2-day before-came schmooze) get-together.

Reply to  Evidence?
June 16, 2021 3:00 pm

The ignorance in this message is outrageous. You think camp just runs by itself. You clearly don’t understand what it takes to run a camp for hundred of kids. This is the unappreciation that the above message is talking about.

Reply to  Really???
June 16, 2021 8:07 pm

Who is putting in the long hard hours of prep, the people working on the ground level dealing with the campers, or is it a select 20 or so who are part of the head staff and administration?

Yes, the head staff deal with the campers, which leaves 12 or so people putting in plenty of prep that do not deal with the campers directly.

P.S. At the end of the day, we all want “Five Star Service” for free! So as long as the staff will remain mostly underpaid teens, what can you expect?

I'll just be straight up...
Reply to  Evidence?
June 16, 2021 7:21 pm

I’m supposed to be a regular staff member this summer, and besides for some mental bracing, I haven’t prepared any of the material yet, or my disciplinary stratigies, or anything. I’m sure head staff are prepping, but my Chaveirim and I are not. Just saying. But I agree with this article 1000%. Once as a camper I was screamed at by the head counselor in front of the whole Shul for coming in late with an ice cream. I mean, seriously? I was a good kid, never did anything wrong, etc. The head counselor very likely didn’t even know my… Read more »

Just No
Reply to  No problem
June 16, 2021 11:08 pm

The Torah doesn’t say to love every Jew so long as they pay you well, and their parents help you out. If someone is accepting a position of authority, it is their duty as a Jew, as a Mechanech, and as a human being to be respectful. The Frierdiker Rebbe writes about who can be a Mechanech. It is not for everyone, especially not someone who is short tempered. Yes, it is important to feel appreciated and money is an important factor to consider when accepting a job, and yes, parents’ involvement is crucial in Chinuch. That being said, a… Read more »

It does'nt matter.
Reply to  No problem
June 17, 2021 1:15 pm

Wow… why were there 25 dislikes and 21 likes on that comment? And as a kid, i would get in trouble. A lot. Although there are those kids that would take it really personally, if you’re in camp for long, you’ll understand. Since you’ll see that that happened to most of camp at least once, you’ll understand that it’s not personal at all. Every camp has their troublemakers, and that’s what causes this. Since people make trouble, the head staff want to show everybody an example, So that people would stop making trouble. And most of the time, it makes… Read more »

a little late
June 16, 2021 10:50 am

Just so you know counselors are well aware of all the pros and cons and various suggestions and options

Come on
Reply to  a little late
June 16, 2021 11:11 am

Then they should be well aware of the damage caused to children and this article should never have to have been written in the first place.

If only that were the case…

Dear mother
June 16, 2021 10:50 am

If you cant trust bochurim with your child, then YOU got a serious problem. If you cant discipline your child all year long, why should they tolerate it? The chutzpah in crown heights is tops. And it’s being encouraged BY MOTHERS! So “all of a sudden” you want bochurim to handle them with silk gloves? Practice what you preach. The bochurim of today’s attitude is from THEIR MOTHERS ENCOURAGEMENT YESTERDAY!

You don’t belong as counselor
Reply to  Dear mother
June 16, 2021 10:57 am

If this is your attitude then you shouldn’t be in a counselor or any staff position.

Reply to  You don’t belong as counselor
June 16, 2021 11:53 am

Camp can not run if all the staff were to run on the philosophy many crown heights kids are receiving their chinuch from their parents, which is to just always say yes and have weak jewish and chassidish foundations and standards.
Remember what the staff are putting up with.
Alot of kids never even heard of discipline or consequences for their actions from their parents

discipline with love
Reply to  You don’t belong as counselor
June 16, 2021 12:06 pm

I agree – if you have a negative attitude, don’t be in charge of kids until you can take some training course and change your attitude. It’s so sad when kids get hurt by adults.

Constructive Criticism
Reply to  Dear mother
June 16, 2021 11:33 am

Dear Bochur,

BH you didnt sign your name to your rant.
Firstly, why are you are taking the constructive criticism personally? Seems like you probably feel guilty.
Its apparent with your immature response that you are insecure. The parent writing to bring awareness does not necessitate a response at all. The responsible mature confident camp staff would appreciate that which is being pointed out.
Wishing you much Hatzlocha!

Reply to  Constructive Criticism
June 16, 2021 11:52 am

Your assumptions are wrong. Firstly not a bochur. Secondly I have never been guilty because I have never been to camp. Thirdly before I will be accused of “till you haven’t been to camp you cant comment” – I have been in chinuch/teaching and saw BOTH SIDES. There is always 2 SIDES TO EVERY STORY. And people tend to always side on the wrong side. Bochurim wouldnt have their attitude today, If their MOTHERS would have given them the correct chinuch yesterday. Trust me!

Constructive criticism 2
Reply to  Responding
June 16, 2021 4:31 pm

Sorry if you feel insulted. It’s okay to disagree. Its your tone and your “I know everything and I am right” attitude that brings through your first and second comments.
The Mother who posted to bring awareness. She is not accusing every person at camp of doing the action of “malbon pnei chaveiro b’rabim”. I’m not sure how “2 sides to every story” belongs here.
Please calm your tone and stop attacking “Mothers” as a group.
Wishing you much Hatzlocha

discipline with love
Reply to  Dear mother
June 16, 2021 12:04 pm

Possibly this troublemaker was never even a discipline problem at home. Possibly you, immature bochur who cannot take advise, has created a discipline problem with this child. NEVER NEVER EVER discipline or criticize a child or even a bochur, an adult, in public. It can always be done privately and more effectively by having a serious conversation, by finding out why the person is acting the way he is and how can he be helped to change it.

Reply to  discipline with love
June 16, 2021 1:43 pm

A respectful tone goes much farther. Maybe the bochur is immature. Perhaps. He hasn’t raised children before. As a mother, you’d probably get better results with your child’s counselor by addressing him like a mentsch. Calling him “you immature bochur”, is very condescending, and not likely to have him step up to the plate to act more mature. Treat him with respect, and he is more likely to act in a respectable way.

Actions have consequences, kids must learn that.
Reply to  discipline with love
June 16, 2021 8:17 pm

If you cant take the heat, dont come to the kitchen. There are times when it IS justifiable to call someone out in public. Kids must understand there are rules, and if they consistently break thise rules, they WILL be reprimanded for their behavior.

to actions have consequences, kids must learn that

THERE IS NEVER EVER A TIME WHEN IT IS JUSTIFIED TO CALL SOMEONE OUT IN PUBLIC, TO HUMILIATE SOMEONE!!! Yes, they need to follow the rules and be reprimanded and suffer consequences but it would be much more effective if done privately giving them the feeling that you care about them, and listening to their side. And if you need to send someone out of the room to restore order, send him/her on an errand and later speak to them, discuss their behavior, find out why they are behaving like them, what’s bothering them. You can warn them and let… Read more »

Okayyyyyy MOTHER!

How about YOU set the example and then bochurim wouldnt be humiliating your children. Some examples are: dont humiliate your children in public when they are throwing a tantrum. dont humiliate your husband in front of your children, when you disagree with him. Or dont humiliate your children when your husband gave you a hard time and you let it out on your kids. As long as YOU do it, it’s okay but bochurim no?! Grow up. Even some grandmothers are still acting as teens. When you practice what you preach THEN bochurim wont humiliate your children. Thank you!

The problem
Reply to  Dear mother
June 16, 2021 12:04 pm

The problem is not that the head staff are being too strict, it is because they are singling out a child for no good reason.
Everyone agrees that the head staff can be strict to the camp as a whole, but the problem is when is a single out a specific child.

Not trusting bochurim?
Reply to  Dear mother
June 16, 2021 7:24 pm

She’s sending her kids to camp, so she clearly trusts bochurim. She’s just giving helpful advice.
Complaining about Apple, for example, doesn’t mean in any way that I don’t trust apple. I complain all the time, and have Apple devices.

Do your self a favor
June 16, 2021 11:15 am

Hire proper training!!!
Get someone to be on call all summer to deal with bigger issues, don’t just get any training because that’s what all camps are doing and what’s popular but all fluff… empower your staff.. with real chinuch experts who are known to deal with children properly

Experts cost money.
Reply to  Do your self a favor
June 16, 2021 3:57 pm

As long as you are willing to pay for it

Reply to  Do your self a favor
June 16, 2021 4:41 pm

spot on

Very Simple
June 16, 2021 11:18 am

Head Counselor –
Age 22 –
No kids of his own –
He is also still a kid in many cases –
Has no idea how to treat a child. Its that simple.
Solution: 1 Married head counselor per group, who can guide and direct. Perhaps be the one making that first day speech as well.

Get Real Parents
Reply to  Very Simple
June 16, 2021 12:34 pm

Don’t forget that most counselors are between 17 and 18 years old who may have some experience dealing with their siblings. Now throw in 12 to16 campers into a bunk; you expect each child to get the delicate care that parents give their own children? NOPE!

I love people like you
Reply to  Very Simple
June 16, 2021 2:14 pm

What’s your number maybe the head staff will call you up to join them and you will get paid the same amount as them!!!

I am not Very Simple
Reply to  I love people like you
June 16, 2021 8:52 pm

Yes, the underpaid staff do a tremendous service to the community! Yes, I agree! But at the end of the day, a shofar is a shofar! If you have people who didn’t fully develop (teenagers) babysit 16 campers (your kids) 24/7 for 8 weeks, there is a likelihood that something will go wrong. Think of it as professional work; if you have an unqualified individual doing delicate work, there is a higher chance of something going wrong. Thank you, Hashem, for protecting (most) campers and staff since the dawn of camp’s existence! Hashem, may you continue to grant protection for… Read more »

Married head counselors!
Reply to  Very Simple
June 16, 2021 11:05 pm

Agree with the idea of married head counselors. That’s how not Lubavitch camps run. And they aren’t even more expensive than our camps.

Father of the child in the blue cap
June 16, 2021 11:36 am

As a parent whose son has often been “that” child, I could not agree more!
Bochurim, האב רחמנות. There has been actual emotional abuse in camp. The Bochurim are not doing this במזיד, they are youngsters and must be told.

PS at the some time, it’s very NOT Lubavitch to be writing things like “I am not moichel him till today”. Get a grip. I have been hurt for my son, but לא זו דרכינו.

Just some perspective.
June 16, 2021 11:48 am

I’m not going to say there’s anything objectively wrong said here, however it’s important to remember that this is but one angle and perspective, as true as it may be. It’s easy to simply call out all staff and the whole system because of this particular issue and not suggest a practical solution to replace it. It’s easy to call out the staff when you 1) Most likely are getting the biased version your son is coming home with 2) don’t even reach out to said staff member to discuss it, granted some staff are close minded uncaring ppl unfortunately,… Read more »

Totally agreed! but…
June 16, 2021 11:50 am

Also take comment advice above, and really show your appreciation for the staff, specifically through action with proper tipping! Don’t get cheap or make nishtvissindik when it comes time. Everyone realizes. You can’t have it both ways.
Happy & Safe Summer to all!

Counselors must have lectures from psychologist
June 16, 2021 11:54 am

Each counselor must have a license that includes
Rabonim smiha just for summer camp
Pediatrici psychologist lectures how to deal with kids and own emotions during the summer
First aid
Swimming lessons and how to do a cpr class

Psychologists cost money.
Reply to  Counselors must have lectures from psychologist
June 16, 2021 1:06 pm

As long as your willing to pay for it.

Reply to  Psychologists cost money.
June 16, 2021 4:28 pm

paying staff with these sorts of degrees would up your tuition cost at least 10 grand. look at the cost for non-religious and non-Jewish camps

I was a counselor in a Chabad camp
Reply to  Psychologists cost money.
June 16, 2021 4:40 pm

and with that said, parents often complain that they wouldn’t like to tip their staff cuz they already spending fortunes of money on Camp itself which they are. just keep in mind that the reason why Camp is costing you three grand and not ten Grand is specifically because they don’t pay their staff. ($250 a summer, which includes your canteen bill is not what I’m talking about…). so it’s only right that the parents get together and each chip in an additional 50$ to $100 dollars, which leaves the counselor with some extra pocket money as appreciation. and if… Read more »

I love people like you
Reply to  Counselors must have lectures from psychologist
June 16, 2021 2:15 pm

So go make a camp with 3 staff members

Reply to  Counselors must have lectures from psychologist
June 16, 2021 4:00 pm

well then good luck finding coun slers

of course
Reply to  Counselors must have lectures from psychologist
June 17, 2021 12:28 am

and it goes without saying that appropriate degrees and education belong to all teachers and principals in all schools, including the ones you send your children to (if you’re married and have children).

My son
June 16, 2021 11:57 am

My son is a very sensitive person with a heart of gold. He was a Counselor because that’s what the boys do at that age. He had no idea how to cope and deal with one of the boys that was totally out of control. He now was tremendous guilt and regret how he lost his patience with him. The boys cannot just be councilors they need proper training. They can cause tremendous long term damage. They are put in very stressful situations sometimes dangerous and do not have the tools.

Dear (Liberal) Mothers...
June 16, 2021 11:58 am

A lot of kids come to camp with the intent on having fun, now that’s very normal for a kid, but if it interferes with the program, then the head counselors have to take care and make sure that whatever part of the program – shacharis or whatever it may be – doesn’t turn into a zoo, so they have to take care of the situation. they aren’t picking on your son, your son is asking for it. he enjoys all the attention, JUST LIKE ANY OTHER KID, but they also enjoy trash talking the head counselor, why? BECAUSE HE… Read more »

Reply to  Dear (Liberal) Mothers...
June 16, 2021 12:50 pm


I Agree on this one
Reply to  Dear (Liberal) Mothers...
June 16, 2021 1:07 pm

Kids get what they ask for… its very simple. most kids enjoy it, unless maybe your son is anti-social…

That boy was me
June 16, 2021 11:59 am

Back when I was a camper, I was regularly that boy who was singled out and kicked out of shul or the dining room. When the head counselor needed a “korban,” he always found one in me. In fact, a head counselor once told me that I didn’t really do anything to deserve being kicked out of the room; he just needed someone to throw out and he was anyway looking in my direction “because I expected you to be the first to talk.” However, this was the best part of my education. I thickened my skin. The first few… Read more »

Reply to  That boy was me
June 17, 2021 1:01 am

It teaches them a lesson and discipline. Then they don’t grow up talking during krias hatorah and what not

So what should they do?
June 16, 2021 12:05 pm

So now that you have gotten on your high horse to tell people what NOT to do, where is your brilliant suggestion of HOW they should handle a situation where the head counselor is trying to get quiet and 1 or 2 kids just won’t be quiet.
Its easy to give your opinion, now be helpful and give an actual suggestion

Reply to  So what should they do?
June 16, 2021 2:01 pm

A helpful suggestion would be to have a counselor walk over to the individual kid, and get him quiet, or have him move out of the room so he’s not disrupting the whole room. It doesn’t need to be a public humiliation. There’s a problem? The kid is making noise? OK – take care of the problem. Stop the noise. You don’t need to also shame the kid.

Never been there
Reply to  Parent
June 16, 2021 4:01 pm

You have obviously never been a head counselor in a camp trying to control a room of 300 kids. If you stop for even one second, you lose the entire room .

Positive Reinforcement anyone?
Reply to  So what should they do?
June 16, 2021 6:42 pm

The article is not to bash counselors. Being appreciative of the counselors is a valid point but entirely a separate issue! Please counsellors /staff write an article in a respectful manner and you may get effective results … Regarding suggestions: How about giving attention and calling out names of boys who are behaving properly and reward those kids with an extra treat. And as others have said those that are being chutzpadik should be warned w a respectful yet firm tone that there will be consequences. It is always best practice to reward good. Model respect and kindness and our… Read more »

Fresh Start
June 16, 2021 12:05 pm

That’s why there’s Fresh Start. http://Www.thefsrc.com after the trauma is done they can go there to deal with it when they’re older.

Reply to  Fresh Start
June 16, 2021 5:31 pm

Okay so now we’re going to traumatize and hurt the poor kids just to get the room quiet, and then we’ll send them to therapy to fix it.

There must be a solution.
June 16, 2021 12:08 pm

Some of them are just not ready to take on this responsibility. It is the fault of the people that hire them. They have no clue what to do when the kid is pushing there button one time to many. They have a whole bunk to deal with. Kids are tired and eating garbage all day. The system has to change. I am not condoning the mistreatment of the children I am saying give them the tools

June 16, 2021 12:11 pm

All I remember is being twelve years old and sitting in the dining room as the head counselor read, in front of the camp, all the children who would be docked from major trip, and my name was on there. It was a summer that my allergies, and thus asthma, were worsening, and I spent a lot of time hooked up to breathing apparatuses. For this, which my counselors and head counselors knew about, my name was read off in public as one of the “bad” kids. This is a list that should be given to the counselors quietly.

Kop Doktar
June 16, 2021 12:14 pm

The defiant chutzpadik kids of today will be the head counsellors of tomorrow. The way they are treated today, they will likely treat their own campers tomorrow. Our schools educate without refining the middos. We churn our educated “pereh adoms” (wild humanoid beasts) who become parents, teachers and head counsellors. Chutzpah is glorified as being a chevra-manm while possessing refined middos is mocked as a being a loser, neb, nerd. Ask yourself, who is admired, the person who buds ahead in line with his groceries, and drives by cutting into the turning lane long line, and grabs the house for… Read more »

Spot on
Reply to  Kop Doktar
June 16, 2021 1:08 pm

spot on

Reply to  Kop Doktar
June 16, 2021 6:15 pm

This should be the response to the article!👏👏👏 here, here!
To the author: this is your reply.

Reply to  Kop Doktar
June 17, 2021 1:06 am

Well said. It always blew my mind in high school/seminary when girls would speak while the teacher was talking. Where’s the respect?! Why do men talk in Shul on shabbos?? It’s only found in our community…

Name calling
Reply to  Kop Doktar
June 17, 2021 6:05 pm

“We reap what we sow. Our garden is being planted with weeds and thorns. Don’t expect to find in such a garden any flowers and fragrant fruit.” – Kop Doktar

A weed is “only” a weed because you called it that. To others, it is hemp with seeds that are edible, fibers to make material and medicine.

Thorns too have a purpose. Remember that some thorn bushes create beautiful roses.

Enough with calling people “weeds and thorns”!

We don’t expect to have manicured gardens.

We are Brooklynites and our “garden” is concrete and asphalt.

what in the world?
June 16, 2021 12:24 pm

since when do we believe kids over adults?

Reply to  what in the world?
June 16, 2021 1:03 pm

With this mindset, I hope you’re not currently overlooking a child who is being abused.

I am a Mechanech....
June 16, 2021 12:35 pm

Thank you to the mother who had the guts to write this message. Tayere Bochurim, we love you! We love your dedication and Mesiras Nefesh! You don’t get paid, you don’t sleep properly and in a lot of cases you could be treated better and given better working conditions! As a parent and a Mechanech, I can tell you that all this mother is trying to tell you is that this system doesn’t work! It never did and today it works even less. There are so many Mashpiim out there and Mechanchim who can give you proper tools and advice… Read more »

Dear Immature adults...
June 16, 2021 1:16 pm

if you want to be affected for life cuz the head counselor screamed at you, that’s your decision totally, your looking for a reason to be a nebach case. stop caring about such stupid things, cuz head counselors and being affected for life have absolutely nothing to do with each other. grow up and start giving appreciation to the staff. the kids who fry out usually are the kids who were spoiled and were never told no… so stop with all your smart ideas and accept the system which has been in place for the last 60+ years, its been working… Read more »

To build and not break.
Reply to  Dear Immature adults...
June 16, 2021 2:53 pm

Do teachers and being affected for life also have absolutely nothing to do with each other? Do environment and growth/setbacks also have no correlation? Who is talking about freing out? That is not the be all and end all of every conversation. We are simply trying to give our children positive experiences so that they can thrive emotionally. “The system which has been in place for 60+ years” is majorly flawed, and has produced all sorts of situations which cause unimaginable pain. What’s wrong with improving upon it? May you be able to open your heart to change. I wish… Read more »

I totally disagree
Reply to  Dear Immature adults...
June 17, 2021 12:15 am

We are each “wired” differently – not everyone is as lucky to be as tough as you are. Some kids just have a very sensitive teva ( NO that’s not the same as being spoiled ) and they are truly crushed by being picked on & publicly bullied – which is absolutely forbidden by the Torah. My own son received this treatment from a counselor many years ago – shamed & punished & held back from trips. I was hundreds of miles away and no one could ever even tell me anything that he did wrong – it was really… Read more »

To build and not break.
June 16, 2021 1:31 pm

This brought me to tears.

Counselors, you are amazing and we are so grateful. Please, choose kindness over intimidation!

So much has to happen in order to help children develop into emotionally healthy adults. Please contribute, rather than the opposite, Gd forbid. The author put it best, “Inspire, don’t shame! Empower, don’t put down.”

Thank you in advance for your patience – it isn’t always easy! In fact, sometimes it is downright difficult. May Hashem repay you with revealed good, always!!

Reply to  To build and not break.
June 16, 2021 4:11 pm

go try to controll 15 boys without being intimidating see if they will listen to you and if the kid is getting kicked out of the lunchroom then obviously he did something he wasnt suppose to so get real and learn that when you go to camp and you talk when you are not suppose then yes you might be kicked out of the lunch room but get over it, it doesnt have to ruin your life.

Agreed, but.....
June 16, 2021 1:55 pm

There are many times when parents scream at their kids for no good reason simply because they had a rough day or didn’t sleep the night before (Which is unfortunate). Now that is the day of every head counselor, I’m not defending what they’re doing at all, what I’m saying is that they are not doing this consciously but rather subconsciously simply because they had a bad day or didn’t sleep the night before Which happens to all of us, they are not bad people…. Just put yourself in their shoes, imagine trying to get 150 kids to Participate and… Read more »

apologize later
Reply to  Agreed, but.....
June 17, 2021 2:32 am

If the staff member (or teacher) had a bad day and let it out on the kid, he/she can always apologize later explaining that although the child did misbehave, he is sorry for…. since he had a hard day. Not justifying the child’s behavior but explaining his strong reaction to it. That would make a huge difference.

June 16, 2021 2:11 pm

Sometimes kids are just plain chutzpadik, entitled, and not disciplined by their parents, and then they act that out in camp. Generally, though, behavior is a form of communication. It is trying to send a message that’s important to read. The message can be anything, such as: I’m really nervous about camp. Will I have friends? Be homesick? Have nice counselor? Be bullied? I’m tired, this room is too noisy, I can’t stand all the loud singing I’m hungry, I’m bored, I think I’m going to lose this game, so I won’t try I’m jealous of the “popular” kid, and… Read more »

not only in camp
June 16, 2021 2:18 pm

The above letter also goes for teachers and mashpiim all year. Children and bochrim, and girls too, have feelings, they are people too. And they should be treated with respect. Yes, with respect and with love. If they are doing something wrong, they should be guided and if necessary suffer the consequences but, NEVER in public, NEVER in front of the class. If a mashpia, a frum chassidishe person, can shame others, disregard their feelings and hurt them, then who needs it?? They decide that better to be a good, considerate, loving person and not as frum; better to work… Read more »

Truth be told
June 16, 2021 2:23 pm

The comment from Kop Doktar hurt my feelings because it’s sad but true. We should read it a few times and make a hachlotah to improve. I don’t want to be a weed or thorn in the garden. The truth hurts.

June 16, 2021 2:48 pm

If a camper is acting out on the first day, this shows a lack of commitment on the campers side. Camp is a two way street in which counselors and campers must work together. A camp can not run if staff members can’t discipline accordingly. Everybody knows that the one trouble maker in the bunk ruins the summer for the whole bunk.
This method has been around since the beginning BECAUSE IT WORKS EFFICIENTLY!!

June 16, 2021 2:53 pm

The idea of a gan Yisrael as the Rebbe said is to be 24/7 in the avir of growth. Do you think the Rebbe didn’t know what was going on in his own establishment? This whole method of relaxing the discipline on campers will result in staff getting upset which results in campers not getting the best summer

Underpaid staff
June 16, 2021 3:54 pm

As a staff member myself, we feel like we can do whatever we feel is ok because at the end of the day we aren’t getting paid (or hardly paid) so we feel kind of abused…

to feeling abused
Reply to  Underpaid staff
June 16, 2021 5:40 pm

If you feel abused, then DON’T become a staff member. Don’t let it out on the kids! It’s not THEIR fault. You knew what the terms are and if you don’t like them, then who is forcing you to accept the job. I hope you are not a staff member in my child’s camp!

Reply to  to feeling abused
June 16, 2021 10:28 pm

Let’s not make this personal. I think what he is saying is that we can write an op Ed from the other angle.
Staff members walk out poorer than when they walked in.
These camp directors are lining their pockets with your money and forcing these 18 year olds to fundraise for a mivtzAh campaign? Directors are the root of the problem here.

ISO agree
Reply to  Izel
June 17, 2021 11:42 am

Having been a Councelor, camp programmer , camper , director … this is true

Puka Counselor
June 16, 2021 3:55 pm

Yes this mite be true but tons of parents think there kids are the biggest angels and they would never make trouble but that’s nit the case make sure you discipline your kids so when they come to camp they won’t have to deal with this to begin with( also if you’re kid is ADHD send him with his pills all because he’s running around doesn’t mean he doesn’t need his pills speaking from past experience)

If you’ve hard to please you need a plan B
June 16, 2021 4:22 pm

Camp is camp and has been camp for all these years and the discipline which goes on makes camp fun and enjoyable for campers and councillors. If that precious chutzpanyak ch kid keep screaming while a nice hard working bochur is trying to explain today’s sports activity, then how is camp supposed to run? Let’s remember that these bochurim are in yeshiva for 18 hours of the day, 7 days a week, 10 months a year and then for 2 months they get less than minimum wage having to put up with chutzpa and noncooperation. Do you have a plan… Read more »

to build and not break
June 16, 2021 4:32 pm

thanks for saying what I was feeling. Straight from the heart that should enter the hearts of all those dealing with precious neshamas HKBH entrusted us with!

Hire the right people
June 16, 2021 4:48 pm

Camps need to get references and make sure that the counselors have the right temperament and that they actually like working with kids. I know with my sons and daughters, some but not all are cut out to be counselors. It is the same with teachers. We have too many that should be in other professions.

Public humiliation is NEVER okay
June 16, 2021 4:51 pm

Not with kids, not with adults.
You can respectfully ask someone to stop what they’re doing inappropriately; you can take the person aside afterwards and reprimand them.
But even if it’s the umpteenth time you’re addressing the problem, even if you think, “They should have gotten the message by now!”, singling the person out and yelling at them in front of others WILL backfire.
And remember that losing your temper is a form of Avodah Zara!

A Mechaneches

June 16, 2021 4:56 pm

The counselors are kids themselves. You’re asking kids to be psychologically aware of the younger kids they are in charge?!
This is silly.

We Expect More
Reply to  POV
June 16, 2021 11:00 pm

Girls are taught sensitivity and the responsibility of Chinuch from age 12, or younger. Without saying that this problem doesn’t at all exist by girls, it is highly unlikely for such a thing to happen in girls camps. It’s time to stop with the excuses and start teaching Bochurim how to act. Classes and courses are available. It is the duty of every camp to make it their business to do their research and stop accepting counselors and headstaff who act like 5 year olds. If all the bochurim treat others disrespectfully, start a new curriculum in schools, put out… Read more »

girls too
Reply to  We Expect More
June 17, 2021 2:42 am

I know two girls who were humiliated by the same person during a girls summer program – different years. One of them came back disillusioned and looks down on these “frum, chassidishe” mechanecheses. The other came back hurt emotionally. Women can be cruel too. They too need to be careful and forget about their ego.

June 16, 2021 9:08 pm

You forgot the punishments!
I’m a mom and bubby, and on a lag bomer overnight trip 40 yrs ago, a teacher embarrassed me during benching in front of the school. I didn’t look at her for weeks! And she was a mother and mechaneches, but it really hurt!

Just some advice.
June 16, 2021 9:33 pm

As a 24 year old, long time staff member, and current teacher, one thing I’ve learned is that it’s important to be consistent and on the same page as parents. The Rebbe on multiple occasions spoke about how important it is to keep chinuch consistent, at home with what is being taught/how the child is being treated at school. Maybe it’s time for that to translate into camp as well. If a parent has concerns, (which is completely understandable) reach out to the head counselor, counselors, learning teachers, whomever the child might have a chance of being directly influenced by,… Read more »

Truaumatized until this day
June 16, 2021 11:44 pm

I am a 56 year old successful Shliach with 8 beautiful children two of them married, yet I am still bothered every time I think about this long ago incident. I was 7 years old going to camp to for the first time. I was struggling with a bad habit of picking my nose, specifically not being aware that I was doing it in public. Ic an still hear the Head counselors voice ringing in my ears on the first day of camp. ” You!! in the Red sweater! Stop picking your nose this isn’t a preschool!” I was shocked.… Read more »

i feel you.
Reply to  Truaumatized until this day
June 17, 2021 10:57 am

very similar story happened to me when i had the habit of sucking my thumb.. besides for the fact that my own bunkmates around me constantly teased me, the head staff would tell me it’s considered “babyish” and as an thirteen year old you can imagine the pain. each morning when i woke up i would find my thumb covered in different things that i was pranked in the night with. one night it was ketchup, one night paint , and all of substances always ended up being digested because i would put my thumb in during my sleep. when… Read more »

reply to traumatized until this day
Reply to  i feel you.
June 18, 2021 6:43 am

In light of your unique vulnerability, it seems clear to me that your parents should not have sent you to camp that summer.

My idea to better camp
June 16, 2021 11:48 pm

My idea is they should hire older people Who have experience with kids. Someone who is loving, caring, and can really give a child the time of his life. Someone from 40-60 years old, not some random 770 Bucher.

Reply to  My idea to better camp
June 17, 2021 12:47 am

Try to find a married guy that will spend his summer taking care of 10 year olds

true, true. And but
June 17, 2021 12:24 am

this speech doesn’t specifically apply to camps and head counselors. any educator in any public (or private) place needs to know what constructive and destructive communication is. plenty of teachers and principals are guilty of employing the cheap and easy bullying as described here. so, while i agree with the inherent message of this post, singling out camp/head counselors is somewhat inappropriate.

It's a minhag
June 17, 2021 12:17 pm

First day of camp screaming is a minhag. And a minhag cannot be taken away.

Reply to  It's a minhag
June 18, 2021 1:41 am

This is where מנהג אותיות גהנם applies

College degree
June 17, 2021 12:26 pm

I generally don’t agree with the fact there should be staff members in camp, I think every child shall live freely without anyone telling them what to do.
But if you’re going to hire staff, please make sure they went to college, got a degree, and our professional psychologist.
The last thing we want is for kids to fry out and go to college.

Reply to  College degree
June 17, 2021 9:00 pm

what kind of camp do you plan on running without any staff??

Reply to  College degree
June 17, 2021 9:45 pm

Staff should be trained for 2 years prior to assure that every kid gets the best summer

A former head staff member
June 17, 2021 1:12 pm

A few years back I was Learning Director and the following year Head Counselor in one of the mainstream camps. I must admit I did use those type of techniques to assert my authority and to gain control. And I must say till today I deeply regret calling any child out in that form. Yelling at a kid and throwing him out of the Shul is a cheap method that compensates for a lack of confidence. Dear head staff; the kids do respect you, there are better and more sustainable ways to ascertain control. Your tireless efforts and the stress… Read more »

I will not forgive....
June 17, 2021 2:31 pm

The head counselor and the Menahel Ruchni of a certain camp…
Every time I met Menahel Ruchni he treated me meanly!!

Teachers Too
June 17, 2021 4:00 pm

I am a student and witnessed/experienced too many teachers YELLING, humiliating, and truly making a girl beet red for something small, like talking (we aren’t talking about terrible pranks. Everyone talks at one point during class.) And then oh they teach the mishneh that someone who embarrasses someone else in public it’s as if they killed r”l the person. Every time I hear that, I sourly think of their past deeds. Yes teachers are humans too. But carrying on for ten minutes while YELLING and humiliating a girl?!?! Unacceptable, yet totally ignored by the principals. It creates a terrible classroom… Read more »

Permanently Scarred for Life
June 17, 2021 6:14 pm

When I was a child, all camp staff seemed to have a problem with me. I’m not sure to this day what it was exactly, but it pains me to this day. Sometimes I’ll wake up at night in a cold sweat with a flashback of what once happened. Be it an HC yelling for not bentching. My counselor for talking after lights out. My learning teacher for not learning and digging ditches in the ground with my sandals. The LC singling me out to wait after lunch to write an obscene amount of פרקי אבות or the like. For… Read more »

Permenantly scarred for life
Reply to  Permanently Scarred for Life
June 18, 2021 10:14 am

I was that HC. I am very sorry.I believe I know who you are and I will contact you.

Reply to  Permanently Scarred for Life
June 18, 2021 11:21 am

More like primed for life.

You think that if you spent all your summers in a cushy safe space you would turn out any better?

Somehow I doubt it.

It may have been tough then, and it could still be tough now, but I don’t believe a coke from the head counselor would have impacted anything (except for maybe your cavities).

Kitzur, “yene scars”. I wouldn’t be too frightened seeing you in a alley at night.

It's about time
June 18, 2021 3:37 am

Finally, someone addresses the open authoritarianism so prevalent in many Chabad camps. My mother was shocked to hear about what went on when I told her about it years later. Parents pay good money only to have there kids basicly placed in a boot camp… It’s time Lubavitch as whole reevaluates the whole fear based system and treat Frum kids with same love and dedication they treat those who they want to be Mekariv…

They do
Reply to  It's about time
June 19, 2021 10:39 pm

Both groups are treated the same.

CTeen model
June 18, 2021 8:58 am

Question is, would the staff EVER treat a CTeen this way? NEVER! Why not use the same sensitivity training and model for our children?

Our bochurim know good and well what flies where.

June 18, 2021 11:27 am

This is literally the Frum version of “Defund the Police”.

How so?
Reply to  Lol
June 19, 2021 10:38 pm

Who is saying camps or their counselors should be defended?

I agree!!!
June 20, 2021 2:45 pm

Bochurim have zero experience and were never trained. There should be serious training on how to deal with kids