Summer Camp Top 10 Ways Camp Has Changed Since the ’80s
Camp Young Judaea Texas
and Camp Tel Yehudah alumnus
This essay originally appeared on Foundation for Jewish Camp
In 2006, I left my Jewish communal job in New York and made aliyah. This week, I fly to the US to perform standup comedy shows about Israel for Jewish organizations. Neither of these things would have happened if not for my experiences at Young Judaea summer camps. My Jewish identity, connection to Israel, leadership and communication skills, and so much more are a result of my journey which began as a camper, then a staff member, and continue to this day.
Today, my friends are camp directors, camp parents, and Foundation for Jewish Camp employees, and have done wonders to improve the camping world over the years. I can only imagine how camp has evolved since my first summer in 1984.
Without further ado, here are the top 10 ways camp has changed since the ‘80s:
10 – The chadar ochel now includes a Starbucks.
9 – Camp cheers downloadable via Soundcloud.
8 – “Today is the last day of camp. To capture the current moment, you’ll now write yourself a text message which will be sent to you in 5 minutes.”
7 – Loud, colorful outfits are worn ironically for theme parties, not because they don’t know better.
6 – OUT: Name labels on clothing. IN: Campers connected to lost socks via Bluetooth.
5 – The bunk cleanup wheel now includes the KonMari method for cubby organization.
4 – Archery and ceramics replaced by coding and podcasting.
3 – Tsofim caravan performance includes autotune and smoke machine.
2 – Kids no longer terrified by ghost stories but by having to go three weeks without Instagram.
1 – It’s even better now!
Since making aliyah in 2006, comedian/educator Benji Lovitt has performed for audiences around the world including Jewish Federations, summer camps, JCCs, Birthright Israel, and more. His perspectives on Israeli society have been featured in media outlets such as BBC Radio, USA Today, and the Times of Israel. Benji is a graduate of Camp Young Judaea-Texas and Camp Tel Yehudah.