I started working at Camp Simcha as a counselor in 2004. Those were the greatest summers of my life. I remember walking out of the dining room on my last day there, already engaged to my wife, thinking this would be the last time I would be part of such a magical place. I was wrong! In 2010, I called my role model and mentor, (Camp Simcha Boys Head Counselor) Rabbi Ari Dembitzer and asked if I could come and learn with some of the campers or counselors. He said sure, but we have no room for you to sleep here. I drove 45 minutes every day from my parents’ bungalow for 5 years. One thing led to another, and now, B’H, here I am.
Once January hits we get very busy at Camp Simcha. First, it’s staff interviews, then acceptances, then placements where each staff member is matched with a camper or special job. It is so rewarding to watch people grow. When I see the courage and determination of some of the most talented, soon-to-be leaders of the Jewish nation, it’s humbling to know that I play a small part in it.
There are hundreds of special moments that happen in camp. For example, two summers ago, on the last Shabbos of the camp season, I was sitting on the shul porch in the late afternoon. I saw a counselor pushing his camper excitedly as he was racing to win a scavenger hunt. Here is a young yeshiva boy who spent the last 11 months of the year completely self-absorbed. However today he didn’t nap. He isn’t focused on himself. He is learning what it means to be responsible for someone else and going above and beyond to make this child happy. He is becoming a leader. I don’t think you can find this level of dedication anywhere else in the world.