2018 Fall Benefit Weekend

Izzy Finkelstein reflects on the 2018 Fall Benefit Weekend


As we pulled into 1543 Colebrook River Road, we sang a spirited yet off key rendition of the Kinderland Hymn and gave Jack a “boom chicka boom” for his driving! We pulled up near MoRo and saw our friends hanging out on the porch (it was just like summer minus 30 degrees). I literally felt my real world worries melt away and was buzzing with the energy and love of being at camp.

The next morning, we woke up and got ready like it was the first day of camp – making signs, distributing linens, cleaning up and welcoming folks to Tolland. We played games, learned about the history of camp from Judee and sang with Ira on the porch of the dining hall. Some of us even braved the cold for a chilly lake swim!

At night, we arrived at Robeson transformed into a club in Bushwick thanks to a crafty set-up team and some leftovers from the Electric Zoo festival. Inspired by the original moves of some very coordinated babies, we danced the nights away to the funky beats of DJ Stiif (the aforementioned Jack Steele).

On the second day, we hiked, stretched, played with babies, discussed involvement with camp and played basketball. Despite some initial technical difficulties (thanks Roxy and Rachel for the assistance!), Skyye led us in a blacktop campwide dance session to rival any past banquet. Later on that night, bellies full from an amazing barbecue dinner, we gathered around the campfire that Dennis had kept blazing both day and night. We sang songs, told stories, ate smores and continued to laugh a lot.

It was truly one of the best weekends ever. Whenever I’m at camp, I lose my voice within 5 minutes because I am so excited to be surrounded by people I love and I find myself laughing pretty much every second of the day. In the “real world,” it often feels like you can only enjoy things if you’re good at them. At Camp, everyone sings and dances and plays basketball and learns together.

My favorite part of camp is the ways in which everyone contributes and is able to shine in their own ways without dimming anyone else’s light. Dylan and Jake cooked amazing food for each and every meal – full of love and creativity and deliciousness. Everyone contributed to help clean up after meals and wash the dishes. Jenny, Cody and co set up Robeson to look brand new. Gigi sang us beautiful tunes around the campfire. Isaac Wasserman helped with literally everything and Jimmy guarded us valiantly at the waterfront. There were tiny babies (Hi, Rose and Leila!) and grandparents; people who had been at camp for generations and significant others who were visiting for the very first time. There were folks who had been at camp this past summer and folks who hadn’t been to the Berkshires in years.

I have loved camp since the moment I arrived there as a Lower Senior, Yiddish dictionary in hand (my dad handed this off to me as a pre-camp gift and I thought I would have to be translating every conversation). But the older I get, the ever more grateful I am to be a part of this community. Camp is model of what the world should be – a place where people build each other up and strive for fairness and justice and contribute their skills and efforts to make a better place for everyone.

At share on the last night, Ben Katz taught us the Yiddish “word” of the day, “Ikch khob dikch lieb,” which means “I love you”. Ikch khob dikch lieb, Camp Kinderland, and I can’t wait to be joined by even more people at the Camp Benefit Weekend in 2019!