Why Summer Camp Matters Now More Than Ever

By Lianna Krantzberg, Assistant Director of Junior Camper Care

In life, people often talk about the different hats they wear. For me, these hats would be Elementary Teacher, dance instructor, and Assistant Director at CBB; but when I think about these hypothetical hats, I don’t think I am ever really swapping one out for the other. My experiences at Camp B’nai Brith of Ottawa, as a camper and staff, shaped who I am as a person but also paved the way for me to continue with my passion as a dance instructor, as well as pursue a career in education. I know that whether I am in front of my primary students in my classroom or teaching a dance class to a group of teenagers, I am always wearing my CBB hat. 

I can’t put into words what camp means to me. I mean really, how can I be expected to explain nearly two decades of CBB magic in one blog post? But, I’ll try… When looking back on my 8 years as a camper at CBB and my (so far) 10 years as a staff/supervisor/admin, I can see how camp has changed my life. As a camper, I had a place where I could spend my summers creating memories with lifelong friends. I was given the opportunity to continue growing my passion by participating in the camp dance program, while also stepping out of my comfort zone by playing soccer in CBB’s World Cup each year and attempting to learn how to waterski. As a staff, I developed my leadership skills and found my passion for working with children. Camp helped me realize that becoming a teacher was my true calling (and that being a teacher means I have my summers off so I can continue to be a CBB lifer!).

As an educator, I see how challenging this pandemic has been for students. The uncertainty, school closures, and social distancing from friends takes a toll on the social-emotional wellbeing of today’s youth. When you ask a CBB-er what they love about camp, you will hear answers like ‘I love spending time with my friends’, ‘I feel like I can really be myself at camp’, and ‘I get to try new things’. After a year of quarantining, it is extremely important – now more than ever – to give your children the opportunity to spend their summer with their friends, feeling like themselves, trying new things. 

The social-emotional wellbeing of students and campers has always been important to me, which is why moving from a Unit Head to a Camper Care supervisor in 2018 was transformative. Combining my passion for social-emotional wellbeing with the importance of physical health, I know that the Camper Care team will be playing an integral role in supporting our campers this summer. The Assistant Directors overseeing Camper Care (Justin Shulman and myself) will be working closely with the Medical Team to ensure our camper and staff health and safety with our new Covid protocols. We will also be working alongside the supervisors and counsellors in order to provide the tools our staff need to create a safe, inclusive, and supportive environment for all of our campers. Personally, I am looking forward to my evening check-ins during bedtime. I love getting to visit the cabins for dance parties, bedtime stories, or simply to help brush tangled hair. Having these small group, or even one-on-one, check-ins will be so important this summer.

I am counting down the months, weeks, days, and minutes until we are back home again! 129 more days to go until the best summer ever! #22for2