"The greatest experience of my life"

Attending URJ Camp Newman was one of the greatest experiences of my life. When I first learned that I would be going, though, I didn’t think that it was going to be that way. I had never attended a summer camp like that before, so I had no idea what to expect. My only camp experience was from Meatballs, the movie with Bill Murray!

When we drove through the gates, it felt, in a way, like coming home. Everything felt really familiar, even though it was the first time I had been there! After getting checked in, some friendly counselors showed me my group. I was in Machon, which was a great place to start since it’s a two week session, and is typically small (there were 22 kids in mine).

My counselors got us settled in, and we were off! There were so many fun things to do; it felt like there was never a dull moment. We took an overnight trip the second or third night we were there, and it was awesome! The hike, and the view from the overnight spot, was fantastic! It was optional to sleep outside, and my whole cabin chose to. It was super cool and a really unique experience. 

We went to Adventure Mountain a couple of times. The climbing courses were challenging, but doable if you worked hard enough (just like everything else!). My session also swam in the pool almost everyday. There were other activities that we did as well, and those were all really fun, too.

However, the point of Camp Newman isn’t to just have fun-- it’s to have fun in a place where it’s safe to be Jewish. Before coming to camp, Judaism was an important part of my identity, but I didn’t say many prayers or blessings, or think a lot about the deeper parts of our religion. Camp provided me with the structured religious opportunities that I craved. Finding those opportunities at Camp Newman allowed for a deeper spiritual experience. I couldn’t be more grateful that I am now more in touch with my Jewish side!

When I was at Camp Newman, I made many new friends-- and they were all Jewish! I was the only Jewish kid in my middle school, so it was a nice change to have friends that shared my religion. Everyone was really welcoming, and I felt safe and happy with my “Machomies.”

All in all, attending Camp Newman was one of, if not the, best experiences that I’ve had in my life. I am very grateful to the generous donors that allowed me to attend camp. I can’t wait until I can go back again!

-Talia, 2017 Camp Scholarship Recipient

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