Greetings from the Realm on the first full day of activities of summer 2019 at Camp Robin Hood! My name is Sam Jonas and I am excited to be hired as the new Head of Boys Camp. After a five-year hiatus, I am back for my 15th summer after having spent 7 years on staff and being selected as a Green and White Color War Captain in 2014. I teach fourth grade in Chicago, which allowed me to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to become more involved in this incredible camp. If you have any questions or concerns about anything during the summer please feel free to contact me at Sam@camprobinhood.com.
So, after a long 10 months, Summer 2019 is finally underway! We were blessed with clear blue skies and beautiful weather for our first full day of activities. The energy, excitement, and anticipation for a memorable summer was in the air as campers danced with their friends at meals and continued to strengthen old friendships and to create bonds with our new faces at the Realm! At the waterfront, most of the campers completed their 4-lap swim test today and two groups had the chance to be the first paddle boarders of the summer. Junior camp enjoyed a scavenger hunt that gave the campers the opportunity to run around camp with their friends while using clues to find important places on camp. It was a cooperative and fun activity especially for our newest faces to get acquainted with our camp! We look forward to another unforgettable summer!
Also, as is tradition, boys and girls camp had separate campfires to mark the start of our summer. At the campfires, our youngest and oldest aged groups introduced each other in front of their respective camps. Then, our oldest groups in boys and girls camp (Saxons and Scribes) led and taught cheers that will be used throughout the summer in the dining hall as a showing of camp spirit!
Sweet Dreams from The Realm
We have some exciting news!! After many months we can finally announce the finishing of a passion project for the entire leadership team. The CRH Yearbooks are going digital!!!
We took the time to copy yearbooks from 1948, the year after the fire at camp, until 1962. Digitizing the yearbooks will allow us to give you an exciting look into the past. I, personally, can’t stop reading Andy’s words and am in awe at the inspiration I’ve found from them. His principles and passion still hold true today and provide me with a guide book on how to continue running camp with his goals in mind. Now, no matter what happens, we will always have some of the oldest yearbooks from the Realm for years to come. You can access the digital yearbooks from our alumni page and see for yourself the magic in the trees from years before.
As a member of our extended camp family, Sol and I wanted to let you know that our dear friend and co-director David “DC” Cole is retiring from Camp Robin Hood this Fall. For the past 15 summers, DC and Woody have worked diligently to ensure that Andy Friedman, founder of Camp Robin Hood, and John Klein’s legacies and mission live on.
We are so thankful for the years DC spent with us and wish him, Jamie, and their daughters only the best. They will always have a special place at camp and will always be part of Robin Hood. Both Sol and I are eternally grateful for DC and Jamie’s service and dedication to the Realm.
I’ve worn many hats in my 45+ years connected to Camp Robin Hood: camper, staff member, visiting Green and White judge, parent of two campers, and 15 wonderful years as co-director. I am now humbled and excited for the challenge of taking over as Robin Hood’s full-time, year-round director. I’m dedicated, not only as director but as a parent myself, to ensure that each and every one of your children feels at home in the Realm.
– Richard ‘Woody’ Woodstein
The beauty of camp is not just the scenic views on the waterfront or on the fields but the friendships, unique experience, and memories created at camp that live on for years. At Camp Robin Hood we see that beauty of camp daily and call it the magic in the trees.
We recently found an article that one father shared about what it meant to visit his son’s summer camp and remembering the beauty of his camp experience. It is a great reminder about why the time spent at summer camp is so meaningful from your first summer to 20 years later when you are sharing a memory with your child.
In this, my son’s fourth summer, I returned to camp over two decades later … It was an extraordinary seven days. Not easy, but extraordinary. I was forced by my exposure to so many kids, to look for and see my deepest sense of self. The camp asks children to be vulnerable, accepting others for the worth of their soul, not for their superficial cover. And, so while asking such from children, we adults are forced to do the same. I observed and was moved by kids who normally wear every mask they can find to hide from the world, instead, remove the layers and serve up generosity in portions which if put together, might actually save our world.
I was moved by the depth of spirit and maturity displayed by the counselors in camp. They are barely adults themselves and yet, they hold the emotional and spiritual lives of real children, experiencing life on all ends of the human spectrum. When these same counselors return to the college campus in the fall, most of their friends will assume that their summers were carefree because they worked in camp. But the opposite is true. These caring souls work eighteen hours a day and learn how to be mature and steady leaders because of their work. I believe that the best of them will build on their summer experiences to make meaningful and impactful lives for themselves.
Most moving, was the sense of freedom children seemed to feel by being at camp. Not because they rule the roost, but because, in a safe environment, they are forced to independently make choices……about which activities they love, but more, how to connect in relationship. They are given room to fall down and not have a parent catch them. They don’t have parents there to micromanage their friendships. Their actions have consequences and it is not made better because of their parents’ wherewithal.
Freedom with boundaries and values says it best. All week, I observed children as they shed off their layers and found within, their deepest sense of wisdom and self. I heard children as they laid on the ground and watched the stars, talk with relief about being away from the drama of their home relationships, the constant talk of violence on television and the academic pressure to be perfect.
It is obvious that breaks from our routine are important, but this was more than mere vacation. These days away from home, school these children in character-building, value-evolution and independence-making. It is not magic; it is good old-fashioned, spiritual, wise, evolving, joyous freedom. The campers grew. I grew. And all of us could use the time away from the same, somewhere, not for fantasy, but for independence from all which sometimes keeps us shackled. We all deserve it.
Excerpt from The Spiritual Beauty of Summer Camp by Matt Gewirtz