“What’s the best way to roast a marshmallow?” This is the question I was asked most frequently throughout the summer of 2021. Not the usual question a camp chair expects to hear most often. However, when you are given the opportunity to be the Campfire Specialist and you kindle some 30+ fires, it’s no surprise that everyone from the youngest Taste of Coleman campers up to Senior staff all ask the same question.

After not being able to have camp in 2020, summer 2021 was set up to be of the most unique, challenging, and special in Coleman’s history. Due to an unusual set of circumstances, I was asked to help with the 2-week staff orientation and opening of camp. Once that task was completed and thanks to a great deal of flexibility with my “day job,” I was able to remain at camp and volunteer my time and continue to help throughout all of first and half of second session. This provided me with an incredible opportunity to observe all aspects of our Coleman programs and facilities. It also allowed me to develop a broader understanding of what is needed to enhance, improve and expand these so that Camp Coleman can continue to fulfill its mission: To inspire campers and staff to be caring, committed, and connected to the Jewish community through an extraordinary camp experience.

In the coming weeks, I look forward to sharing with you my vision for 15 in 5 whereby our camp committee and community will raise $15 million over the next 5 years to sustain Coleman for years to come. With these funds we will be able to complete Phase 2 of the Bobby Harris Center for Performing Arts, increase our staff and faculty housing by replacing the “temporary” trailers with a long overdue, permanent building, winterize and increase the capacity of our Machon teen leadership village, and update/maintain all our existing facilities!

It is an honor and privilege to serve as your camp chair and it was an incredible gift to be able to be a part of Bobby’s final summer at camp. I witnessed daily the impact of the work that Bobby and his leadership teams have built for Coleman over the past 30 summers. Kol Hakavod, Bobby! Wishing you the best on your next adventure. The Foundation for Jewish Camping and all the Southeast Jewish camps and Israel programs are lucky to have you as their advocate.

The future is bright for Camp Coleman and our camp community. There is work to be done, fun to be had & funds to be raised, buildings to be built & programs to be designed, and most importantly much love, thanks, and appreciation to be shared.

Looking forward to OUR future,

Todd Gordon

Coleman Committee Chair 2020-2022

P.S. The best way to roast a marshmallow? While I prefer golden brown, the best way is however you like to do it, so that each time you eat one it brings you back to that special memory of being beside Lake Shalom, around the campfire with your bunkmates, counselors and a songleader enjoying the yummy goodness that is a s’more.