This past December, our youngest son became a bar mitzvah. For months, we’d gone back and forth over what we should do in light of all the restrictions. Should we push everything off until it’s safe for everyone to be together? Should we keep the date of the service and postpone the party? Should we postpone the party again if things aren’t fully open by the time our second date rolls around? If he’s able to drive there himself, have we gone too far?
I knew I was losing perspective, and let’s face it… my mind. Then one evening, in a zoom meeting with a group of parents from our temple whose kids were in the same b’mitzvah boat as Jaden, our rabbi said something that I couldn’t get out of my mind. He reminded us that throughout history, our people have endured far worse than this… and yet, they continued to celebrate these rites of passage, in places and circumstances we couldn’t begin to imagine.
That was our turning point; we decided to move ahead with the service on the original date and take the rest as it came. Although it would be nothing like we’d planned, we were confident that it would be enough. But in the end, it wasn’t enough. It was so much more. For the first time in months, it didn’t feel like the world was crumbling around us; it felt like our whole world was inside that sanctuary with us. We weren’t worried about what was missing, because we were so completely overwhelmed by what we had. I can only name one other place where I’ve seen that happen in a way that’s so profound, it’s nearly impossible to put into words: CAMP.
Last summer, we knew exactly what our campers and counselors needed, and it was devastating not to be able to give it to them. This summer, we’re making up for lost time. Not just the time they lost at camp… all of it. It didn’t take a global pandemic for us to recognize the need to create a safe space for boys to spend their summers; Bauercrest was founded on that very need in 1931. We started using the phrase “Bauercrest Bubble” in recent years, but the layer of protection it references has been enveloping this Hillside since the Great Depression.
This summer, our bubble has the added task of keeping out a pretty rotten virus. But just as it’s done every summer (except the last) for 90 years, it will also hold inside it everything these boys need to help make them whole again. This summer will not be about what they’re missing. It will be a seven-week celebration of what they have.
Yes. Including Hodgie’s.