As I look back upon summer of 2021, I am filled with joy and satisfaction that we were able to bring everyone together for an “in person” summer. Throughout the year the obstacles seemed insurmountable and there were so many questions — Would we be able to find staff? Could we mitigate the spread of the virus? Would camp be fun with all the COVID restrictions? — and so many more. Our team was more committed than ever to giving our campers the summer they needed and deserved. Despite all the uncertainties and challenges, Coleman 2021 happened, and I am filled with gratitude for the wonderful summer and session that we have been able to have.

On the last Saturday night of the summer, I watched the entire Coleman community singing, dancing, and cheering at our camper-led Coleman Rocks concert, I saw a community of youth who were filled with joy and, at least for that moment, seemed like they did not have a care in the world I loved seeing both the pride of the campers performing and listening to their peers cheering them on. Following the concert, we all headed to the field for Havdalah where each unit sat in a circle amidst the glow of the twisted candle. A sense of calm and peace was palpable. As Havdalah concluded I looked across the field at all the campers and knew that we had grown closer and more comfortable as a community than we were on during the first days of the session when the campers arrived. Because camp was able to open and was “so much kef [Hebrew for fun],” these campers had a summer in which they could be and feel connected “in person” for the first time in a long time. I cherish the many interactions that I have had with your children—they are grateful for what camp gives them and lots have even told me that 2021 was their favorite summer yet.

That I would be preparing for my final summer as Camp Director during a global pandemic is something that I would have never imagined. On the other hand, I also could not have foreseen just how incredibly special and rewarding this summer would be for me and so many others in the Coleman community. I have had the chance to interact with your children more this year than any other and I have absolutely loved it. They are filled with wonder, curiosity, hope, and a great sense of humor. They had a summer of fun, joyful Judaism and have taken with them some precious and meaningful memories and friendships. They have also provided me with an abundance of precious images and feelings that will never leave me. And, for that, I will always be deeply grateful.

Bobby Harris