What Happens On the Hillside… Is Pretty Awesome.

One Sunday a few weeks ago, I looked out my bedroom window to a perfect sunny day. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I threw on a pair of capris and my silver Sperrys (the kind you wear with no socks) and headed to Max’s lacrosse game. Minutes after my arrival, the skies darkened to the point where I fully expected to hear a loud, booming voice, the temperature dropped 15 degrees, and we were in the middle of a monsoon. Thanks to a turf field and all our unanswered prayers for lightning, the game continued. Into overtime. My toes are just now starting to thaw out. It’s been Uggs and winter hats ever since.

Welcome to springtime in New England.

I have a calendar that tells me summer is right around the corner, but the playoff hockey that has taken over my household makes me seriously question that timeline. Hockey is a winter sport. Well, fall and winter. August through April, really. But it’s a cold-weather sport. How can anyone possibly warm up with all that ice on the screen? When the Bruins aren’t playing, the Celtics are. (At least they’re dressed for summer.) Sometimes they play at the same time. Sometimes there are MCAS the next day. Sometimes I think my head will pop off.

And yet, in 55 days, the sound of those buzzers will be replaced by the buzzing of campers on the Hillside. These boys, ranging in age from seven to seventeen, will spend the better parts of their summers running up and down our fields and courts. We will bear witness to unbelievable hits and catches and shots and saves. The kind you write home about… literally… the second you get back to the bunk.

Some of these boys have the opportunity to hone and showcase their athletic abilities all year long. Others don’t. You may be surprised to learn how many Color War events have been won at the hands of campers who would have been cut from their town teams… had they had the confidence to try out in the first place. What we see here on a daily basis is pure magic.

Chances are very, very high that none of these boys will go on to play professional sports. We know this because we are not actual magicians. The magic is in the love and camaraderie and spirit that envelop them while they’re on the Hill. The magic is what makes them take risks and try things they wouldn’t try anywhere else. Some of it is because we make them. League isn’t a choice. You play. Every day. I can count on one hand the number of kids who come to camp for the first time knowing how to play Euro… yet it’s by far the most popular sport at Bauercrest. They learn every rule, strategy, and intricacy of the game together. I watch the Freshmen and Sophomores watch the Seniors play under the lights, and they are absolutely mesmerized. What they don’t see is that this will be them in five years. Or that, conversely, these larger-than-life superstars were our little Freshmen and Sophomores five years ago. Again… magic.

We only have your boys for a maximum of seven weeks a year, and we try to cram those seven weeks with enough magic to last… dare I say it?… for a lifetime. But it is not lost on us that this still leaves 45 weeks on the table. Weeks that may have been challenging academically or socially… or both. Weeks during which things weren’t so picture-perfect at home. New Bauercrest parents tend to be really good at sharing information about their campers, because we’re just getting to know them. But it’s just as important for us to know what’s going on with our returning campers so we can be there for them, too.

A few weeks ago, I completed an eight-hour course called “Mental Health First Aid” offered by the AIJC (Association of Independent Jewish Camps). Immediately afterward, I started to revamp our Camper Profile form. The new form  (just uploaded to your CampInTouch accounts) asks questions that will help us really get to know your child. We don’t just want to know about his favorite activities; we want to know about his successes, his struggles, and how we can help him thrive at camp.

Please encourage your camper to come to us with any issues he’s having at camp. Remind him that asking for help shows strength, not weakness. Seven weeks can do wonders at making up for the other 45. But it’s also a long time to let things build up. We can’t let that happen. Throughout the school year, you are his people. When he is at camp, we have to be his people.

Speaking of people, we are so thrilled about the new ones who will be joining our leadership team this summer. Our two Head Counselors and Waterfront Director have a tremendous amount of combined experience between them in coaching, education, psychology, and working with children of all ages in a camp setting. So many resources, so little time…

What an awesome problem to have.

As always… and especially now, with camp less than two months away… please don’t ever hesitate to reach out. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with some very real Bauercrest statistics to ponder:

Number of Bauercrest alumni who’ve won a Stanley Cup or NBA Championship since 1931: One. ’61 Waiter Rick Weitzman. In 1968. 


Number of Bauercrest alumni who had the opportunity to play some crazy good hockey and hoops on the Hill, then went on to become nice, successful, funny, philanthropic, happy, thoroughly fulfilled men in other professions: Too many to count. But still trying anyway.

Go B’s! And C’s!


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Stacy Pollack

Stacy writes our popular Dear Camp Mom blog and works year-round to ensure that Bauercrest creates memorable experiences for parents and campers alike. She also creates photo montages inspired by songs most of our campers have never heard before but make the parents very nostalgic.

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