While we sometimes interchange the words tents and dwellings, tents are temporary shelters that are relocatable, while we know dwellings to be a bit more permanent and sturdy. As we prepared for our second summer at URJ Sci-Tech Academy, I found myself thinking about space a lot. Not only do we approach our use of space throughout our camp season quite intentionally, we also have the task of transforming our beautiful space at Governor's Academy back into our summer home after spending 9 months away - and recreating a space that represents our values and fosters holy community.
While I would not go as far as to say that we spend our summer in one gigantic tent, it is quite remarkable to think about the transformation that occurs at both the beginning and end of our summer. Walking onto camp, it still very much looking like a school, and we work together to rebuild what we left last summer. From road signs to posters to room set-ups to supplies and then some, our leadership team and staff does it all.
But what exactly goes into our dwelling that makes it one of blessing? As I spent the last few days walking around camp, hanging out with campers and staff and watching our second summer come to life, I've gravitated towards a few answers...
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Our core values are present throughout the fabric of daily life at camp. Whether working on a project in a workshop, discovering a new experience in chugim (electives) or posted on the walls of our chadar ochel (dining hall) and programming spaces, we actively live our values through our relationships and interactions with each other at camp and it is those interactions that help create and define holy space. Imagine what our society would be like if this was normal behavior outside of our enclosed safe and sacred camp community. As our campers and staff go home after the summer, we challenge ourselves and each other to continue to share and live our values and help make our world just a little bit better, one action at a time.