By Todd Gordon, Camp Committee Chair

As the warm orange and yellow leaves have fallen beside Lake Shalom and the cool crisp air has returned to our summer home, there is much to be thankful for. 2021 has truly been a special year and there is already so much to look forward to in 2022. On behalf of our Coleman camp committee, I want to say thank you to our year-round team and summer staff as well as to all of our campers and their families. Because of you, Camp happened! It was truly a summer like no other and one that we know will provide a lifetime of memories to all who were a part of it.

This fall marked a significant transition in our Camp Coleman leadership as we welcomed Amy Smyler McFarland as our new camp director.  No stranger to Coleman, Amy is a SEFTY camp alum, was the first NFTY-STR regional advisor, Coleman assistant director from 2001-2008, and associate director since 2015. Amy has been an integral part of the transformation that has elevated Camp Coleman to being one of the shining stars in the URJ and Jewish camping world. We are incredibly excited for the passion and energy that Amy brings to the director position and are excited for what the future holds for Coleman.

The opening of The Harris Center was certainly one of the highlights of this past summer. Even though we were not able to use the building to its full capacity, we were able to see the incredible impact that a modern, state-of-the-art facility makes for camp. Continuing to enhance and expand our facility is a significant part of the overall Coleman strategic plan. We have “shovel-ready” plans for phase 2 of the Harris Center and are currently awaiting renderings for new staff & faculty housing as well as a redesigned Machon leadership village. In 2022, we will be embarking on a capital campaign to secure the necessary funds to move forward with these exciting projects.

2022 will be the 60th summer for Camp Coleman and we will be celebrating throughout the year and across our region. Camp style Friday night services and Saturday evening Havdalah events are being planned for February 4-5 in South Florida, April 22-23 in Atlanta, and November 18-19 in the Tampa area. We will continue to celebrate Coleman’s 60th with our current campers and staff over the summer, followed by an alumni celebration at camp on August 12-14, a 70’s alumni reunion August 26-28, and the return of Family Camp September 2-5. If you are interested in being a part of the Coleman 60th celebration planning, please send an e-mail to

Wishing all of our Camp Coleman family a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. We all truly have so much to be thankful for.