by Marlee Gordon, 3rd year Counselor and Cornerstone Fellow
Four days where the main topic of conversation is camp. What kind of activities do you have at your camp? Do you call it Maccabiah or color war? It lasts five days?! Yes, we have services every day, but we have different kinds. Your oldest unit goes on a two-week camping experience? That’s so interesting! Well that is the Foundation for Jewish Camp Cornerstone Seminar: four days of learning, teaching and talking about the best places on Earth. Cornerstone is the dream for any staff member of a Jewish summer camp.
URJ Camp Coleman held a special place at Cornerstone this year. We brought so many fellows (twelve plus two supervisors) that we needed our own table. We brought so many fellows that during some activities, the leaders would tell the groups to make sure they had at least one Colemanite in the group. We had so many fellows that they had to give us our own room. Others would come up to us and ask how we had so many campers. Also, I’m pretty sure there would have been a way to connect every person through someone else. Jewish Geography is the best game ever!
Song session every night. Some songs that we have been singing for years; some taught to us in minutes. At the beginning, they are playing some random Israeli songs. Jessie and I hop on the stage and start teaching the Ethan Sandler dance. Slowly, people start joining in until almost everyone in the Theater is doing the dance with us. We were able to share our traditions and fun with all of the other camps, but we also learned a lot from them as well. We learned that “Energy Generates Energy” and taught Down by the Bay.
A mixed gender cabin. Different, right? This experience was specific to me at Cornerstone. This was the second year that Cornerstone offered a mixed gender cabin, and I took advantage of the opportunity. We explored such a different dynamic in this cabin, but ultimately, we all sat around in a circle, learning about each other’s pets and college majors.
All fourteen of us, counselors, programmers (plus programming director), specialists, and unit head (singular), working on an Action Plan to help make this summer as amazing as humanly possible for both staff and campers. Get ready Coleman! Your Cornerstone fellows are going to crush it this summer!
About the Cornerstone Fellowship
Coleman has participated in the Foundation for Jewish Camp’s Cornerstone Fellowship since its inception in 2003. Cornerstone is an elite North American fellowship of third-year staff created to raise the quality of bunk leadership and peer mentorship with the staff cohort at camp. Our Cornerstone Fellows are dedicated leaders of camp who collaborate to make a positive influence on Coleman each summer.