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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 9, 2005 /4 Av, 5765

Happy campers' memories will fade

By Marybeth Hicks



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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | 'I wish school was more like camp," my daughter said. Who doesn't?" Of course you do," I said, "and I wish celery was more like chocolate. Wishes don't always come true."

The purpose of summer camp is to occupy children while they have fun doing activities they love. On the other hand, the purpose of school is to give children a well-rounded education and prepare them for the tasks of responsible citizenship.

Let's compare: horseback riding or homework? Swimming or science tests? Playing outside or sitting under fluorescent lights reading "Lord of the Flies"? You pick.

"I like school," my daughter said, "but I wish the people at school were more like the kids at camp. At school people can be mean, but at camp, everyone is nice. Everyone is fun. I love camp."

This summer's camp experience — a musical theater and dance program — offered my teenage daughters more than just a few weeks of singing, dancing and acting lessons. They discovered a group of teens who share their interests and even live "geek" lifestyles similar to ours.

"We finally met other kids who don't have instant messaging," one daughter marveled.

They were just halfway through their summer camp experience when my girls began scheming about future reunions with fellow campers. They hope their newfound friendships will remain after the summer is over and "real life" begins again. They feel certain the close relationships they developed at camp are the lasting kind.

I don't have the heart to tell them this is unlikely. Campers return to the worlds from which they come. Their paths probably won't cross again, and even if they do, it's impossible to recapture the synergy of summer. When camp is over, it's just over.

I nod and smile while my daughters talk about planning monthly gatherings for pizza and movies with former campers. There's no point bursting their bubble of optimism by telling them what I already know — a month from now, they'll be launched like rockets into the infinite space known as high school and the summer will have shot past them like a bright but distant star.

Now that camp is over, my daughters babble about their new friends, trying to paint a picture of their experience, but it's clear you "had to be there." I don't get their rapper nicknames ("B-Unit" and "K-Dog"?). I don't see what's so funny when they recount an episode about a particular lunch break that has them giggling so hard they can barely fill in the details. I confuse the names of their new buddies as they speed through stories of their summer adventure.

Their enthusiasm for the campers they met leaves them wondering why it's so much easier to make friends at camp than at school.

"There's nobody at school like our camp friends," they insist. They have concluded that the people they met over the summer are simply different from those they encounter each day in "real life."

It's true — the group they met shares their eclectic interests, but all the campers go to school somewhere, so it must be that there are other teens out there like the ones they encountered at camp. Yet it never occurs to my daughters that at camp, they were different, too.

In the safe space of a summer, my daughters were free to be themselves without the burden of being known — or knowing the social hierarchy that frames the friendships they foster in a setting such as school.

At camp, my girls gave people the benefit of the doubt. Because they didn't have any history on which to make assumptions about the other campers, they simply accepted their new friends as they were — quirks and all. They met people whose beliefs and lifestyles varied widely from the values they learn at home, but instead of judging them out of fear, my daughters listened and learned how to find new friends.

Unlike their style in school, my girls took risks at camp. They let their guard down. They were goofy. They were funny. They entertained their fellow campers with stories about themselves that no one had heard before. They didn't impose any expectations about how people should respond to them, and when they made themselves just a bit vulnerable, their new friends listened and learned about them, too.

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Absorbing their enthusiastic banter, I can't help but share their wish that their friends from summer camp could be standing by their lockers when the bell rings and the rhythm of the school year replaces the lazy, hazy pace of summer. It's a nice wish, but just a wish none the less.

Then again, what I really wish is that they'll discover a way to foster the spirit of friendship they found over the summer in the relationships they already enjoy. What they learned about acceptance and authenticity could infuse their high school relationships with a renewed sense of discovery.

Maybe they'll find a way to keep in touch with the campers who made this summer so sweet. If they do, it will be a wish that came true.

But maybe they'll realize that when they treat old friends more like new ones, their school friends aren't so different from the campers after all.

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JWR contributor Marybeth Hicks, a wife of 18 years and mother of four children, lives in the Midwest. She uses her column to share her perspective on issues and experiences that shape families nationwide. To comment, please click here.


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© 2005, Marybeth Hicks