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After the fires in 2018, we learned that camp is truly the people, not the place. In 2020, we learned that the magic of camp will always reach us, no matter the distance. As we begin our summer this year at Buckhorn Camp in Idyllwild, after these last few years we don’t take a single moment together for granted. The time we spent apart makes the time we spend together sweeter! With profound joy, camp opened, welcoming campers and staff to spend a safe, fun, and meaningful summer together this year—for Summer 2021 (more like 20Twenty-FUN!).

Here is a snapshot from our first week of camp.

As the sun set behind the mountains of Idyllwild, campers in white shirts assembled for the first camp Shabbat together since August of 2019. They took their seats in the Chapel of the Pines, the space we have already made our own, with painted hand prints, paper chains, of course, and our beloved menorah. Shabbat is always special at camp. It brings moments of peace, gratitude, and friendship. Everyone had waited so long for this moment to arrive. Many were amazed that it happened at all!

Barely six weeks before opening day, staff scrambled to find a suitable new location when COVID protocols changed at their original site. In the San Jacinto Mountains to the East they found Buckhorn, an overnight camp for nearly 70 years not in session this season but a property that has all the things we love about camp: cabins, a field, a pool, lots of trees, hiking, a ga-ga pit, fire pit and so much more! Being back at a camp is the return to normalcy we’re all yearning for.

With not a day to spare, the Camp team brought in all the necessary services to run camp – food, security, maintenance, transportation, and, of course, the finest group of counselors, CITs, and red-jacketed Leadership.

After the first full day together and before singing the Modim, prayer of thanksgiving, Rabbi Rayna Gevurtz asked, "What are we feeling grateful for tonight?" Without missing a heartbeat, eager hands shot up...

“I am grateful that I am finally here.” 

“I am grateful for all the trees (and my Claritin).”

“I am grateful that I get to give my friends a real hug.” 

“I am grateful for my counselors that braid my hair.” 

“I am grateful for French toast sticks for breakfast.”

“I am grateful for my new friend."