Life Lessons from Camp

“I’m especially aware this year of the fundamental life lessons that one learns during summer camp. And I’ve been wondering why the rest of life isn’t more like my weeks at camp.” — Rabbi Marci N. Bellows

7 Lessons

Rabbi Bellows offers seven life lessons that come from Jewish camp experiences.  During this month of Elul preceding Rosh Hashanah, as we think about our past year and look forward to the next one, they seem especially appropriate.

She recommends being:

  • Open to new experiences
  • Aware of G-d’s presence
  • Joyful
  • Affectionate
  • Artistic
  • Cooperative
  • Accepting of all

Here’s how she summarizes them.

Your Experiences?

If you went to summer camps, take a moment to close your eyes and think back to whether these life lessons came alive for you, too.  Here are a few of the memories that flood into view for me.

New experiences? Simulating getting into Israel in the early years by rowing a boat to the shore, in the dark, and trying to evade capture.

Aware of G-d’s presence? Dressing all in white for Shabbat. Gathering in a circle for Havdalah.  Under the stars.  In the cool of the evening.

Joyful? Slamming our hands on the table during our rowdy, rousing singing of the Birkat haMazon, grace after meals, when we got to the “al shulchan zeh” (on this table) part.  It is all I can do not to do that in my current life.

Affectionate? Teenagers and affection?  No need to say more!

Please share your camp-to-life experiences.

And pass along to anyone you think might be interested.


  1. Rabbi Marci Bellows says

    Thank you for including my article! I’m so glad you found it meaningful. Hope you had a wonderful High Holy Day season!!

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