“How We Be” at Camp JRF
Camp JRF is an environment where those who work for us say “this is where I want to be.” Working for Camp JRF, whether during the summer or year-round, is a positive experience not only because the work is fulfilling but also because being a member of the camp team is itself fulfilling. Each member of the team is excited to say “this is my camp” — we are an organization in which all feel deep ownership and pride. We are a community where each member of the team is valued, where individual staff members rightly feel that their input is important and that their decisions are trusted, and where every person who works with us brings forward the mission and vision of camp in all of their work.
Our staff forms a cohesive team that continues to further the vision of Camp JRF. While we each work on individual and often discrete projects, it is our work as a whole that propels camp to ever greater heights. We continuously strive to take camp to the next level — we are hard working, forward thinking, and thoughtful about every piece of our work. We involve our campers and staff as partners in building excitement about each summer at camp; we engage our donors and supporters in real and meaningful ways that show them that we value not only their dollars but also their input; and we reach out to families in ways that treat them as members of our extended camp family (not merely as “customers”). Each member of our staff feels that it is his or her responsibility to ensure the current and future success of camp — their work on a daily basis shows their commitment to, and passion for, our vision.
The Ideal Camp Staff Memeber
For our campers, spending a summer at Camp JRF can be a life changing experience. The lessons learned, experiences had, games played, and conversations started will be part of their memories for years to come. This is all made possible by you – the staff. Whether as a counselor, a lifeguard, a specialist, a rosh eidah (unit head), or another member of the camp staff, your role in building a kehillah kedoshah, a holy community, is essential to creating the magic of Camp JRF.
The ideal camp staff member is an individual who engages youth on levels and in ways that they never thought possible. She helps to answer age-old questions and bring meaning to everyday situations. She is willing to sit up late and talk about the meaning of life or the great joke you heard this afternoon. She will listen, give advice, offer words of comfort, give you a smile when you need it, and put everything in perspective.
He is a role model. He walks the line between being a teacher and a friend. He is willing to teach you all that he knows about life, learning, and community. He gets excited about philosophical conversations, about a great book, or about which team will win the game. He knows what is important to you and what you’re up to, and he asks about your time at the lake, how your bar mitzvah preparations are going, or about your favorite music.
She makes learning fun and engaging, framing it in a new and creative way you’ve never imagined. She makes you think about the difficult questions and forces you to grapple with questions that cannot be answered. She engages you in conversation and makes you feel at home in uncomfortable situations. She has all the right answers – and even more, all the right questions – and she shows her excitement about the topics and about you at every moment.
He is a setter of boundaries, creating safe spaces and safe relationships between you and your friends and between him and the group. You know what he expects of you, and you strive to live up to these expectations. He knows what you expect of him, and he strives to live up to those expectations. He wants you to learn with him and from him, and he wants to learn at least as much from you. He uses a gentle word, tough love, and a no-nonsense attitude to gain your respect, and he works hard to keep it. He is not afraid to make a mistake and to admit it, and he is always willing to get up and try again.
She lets you shine in front of your peers. He is a constant support for you and wants to push you to do the best work possible. She watches you make mistakes and builds your confidence as you fix them, and she makes sure that you don’t make the same mistakes again. He shows you how to fall down and get up with dignity, and she helps you to understand why falling down is so important in the first place.
Whether in the cabin, on the soccer field, in the theater, sitting by the pool, or just under a tree, a camp staff member is a teacher of life.