Thursday, 7 June 2018

Camp Stories #4: Run Leora! Run!

We've challenged our Staff to tell us their favorite Summer Camp stories.  Enjoy!

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I had been begging my parents to go to sleep-away camp for years before I actually went, at the age of nine. Seeing and visiting my older sister in Halifax for three straight summers at Camp Kadimah had me itching to go, and when my parents finally thought I was old enough to board a plane and go to camp for six weeks, I was thrilled.

Fast-forward 13 years to today, and Camp Kadimah has become my favourite place in the whole world. But that first week of camp as a nine year old was tough.  I loved my cabin, was making friends, and finally learned to ski, but I was super homesick.

Luckily for me, that all changed with Maccabiah! (AKA Colour War); a four day event where campers and staff of all ages are split into four teams and compete in sports, arts, music, etc. I was super shy and hesitant to sign up for any events. On day two, Maccabiah: track & field, one of my cabin counsellors (knowing I had been homesick) thought that running my unit’s marathon - probably 2 laps at that age! - would help me feel more comfortable. She insisted I sign up. Two hours later I found myself at the track starting line with the entire camp watching.

As the whistle blew and I took off, I can distinctly remember repeating to myself over and over in my head: do not come in last. Five minutes in, I was so distracted by the thought of finishing in last place that I hadn’t even noticed that I was winning! As I rounded my last lap and crossed the finish line - First! -  our entire team jumped to their feet and erupted in cheers. I literally could not wipe the smile off my face!

From that day on, my homesickness vanished and I loved every minute of camp. In retrospect, that moment was really a turning point in my ‘camp career,’ and one of my favourite memories. Ultimately, that marathon win at the age of nine proved to be the peak of my running career, but 13 years later, I still love Camp Kadimah as much as I did in that moment.

Leora Chapman, 2018

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