By a concerned mother
Many a parent knows the emotions experienced each year prior to the onset of the summer; excited by the prospects of how much their child will learn, gain and grow from camp, yet nervous and apprehensive, hoping that there will not be any issues or incidents throughout the summer.
There is a huge trust placed in the staff, head staff and directors of camp. We trust that our children will be physically safe. We trust that their emotional well-being will be protected and further developed. And we trust that their yiddishkeit and chassidishkeit will be nurtured, strengthened and solidified.
Imagine then, that the camp to which we have entrusted our precious, impressionable children decides to make a ‘promo video’, promoting their new camp yarmulke with the camp logo proudly displayed on it. A video that possibly does more damage than good.
The video first displays a number of video clips in which campers are going about regular everyday camp activities, wearing their regular, non-camp yarmulkes. These clips show how in the course of these activities the campers’ yarmulkes seeming naturally ‘fall’ off the campers heads. This one during his basketball game. That one while he is biking through camp, etc.
These clips are then replayed with the one difference that the campers are now wearing the new camp yarmulke which stays firmly affixed to the campers’ heads even through the activities.
While to the staff it may have seemed like a cute idea, this video shocked and disgusted myself and many other parents.
For this we sent our children to camp? With this the camp will educate our children with the Yiras Shomayim befitting Lubavitcher Chassidim?
Is this one of the messages that we want camp to imbue in our children? For the staff to take the campers and to tell them to make their yarmulkes ‘fall’ off their heads just so the camp can produce a nice promotional video promoting camp?
Besides the fact that in order to produce a good video it can very well take a few shots until the video clip is just right; how many times did the campers stand in front of the camera trying to perfect the ‘art’ of making the yarmulke fall off ‘just right’?? Did we send our kids to camp for them to be told to take off their yarmulkes, if even ‘only’ for show?
In no way should this letter be misunderstood as to be accusing camp of only doing damage. I am extremely grateful of all the good my kids have gained over the years in camp.
I’ll say that again; I am indebted to camp for all that my children have gained and grown from camp.
Nevertheless, there are also issues that must be dealt with and corrected. This video, which has since gone viral, highlights the need for there to be some sort of hashgocho and accountability as to what values and ideas camp gives over to our children. Who knows what else happens in camp that is not displayed on a video, yet is not up to standard.
The question begs to be asked; should there not be an official mechanech that oversees and takes responsibility for the values and principles that camp gives over? Or should it be solely up to the individual staff member to decide, based on where he is or isn’t holding in his own personal level of yiddishkeit and chassidishkeit.
At the end of the day, camp has a lasting impression, both for the good and unfortunately, also, for the opposite. I ask the question, should camp not have an official mechanech that oversees what goes on behind the closed doors of camp?