By Michelle Cohen
The Evelyn Rubinstein JCC | Houston, TX
I first started going to JCC day camp when I was about three or four years old, and I continued until they ran out of camp for me after middle school. Bug juice and day camp spirit were deep in our hearts!
I returned as a CIT and then a counselor when I was in college, and even ended up being the counselor to one of my former counselor’s children. Like so many things at the JCC, camp just came full circle.
It’s hard to pick any one thing I loved best at camp—friends, camp songs, bus rides. It was all great. Shabbat was always a really special day at camp and I loved it when the groups came together for prayer and song.
Being involved in camp meant there was always a friendly face growing up in the Houston Jewish community. Everywhere I went—religious school, a new public school, BBYO, even college—there was a camp connection.
Growing up in the 1970s, my childhood was tied strongly to the JCC. In addition to camp, I was always in a club or class through the J. Because the JCC was such a fun place to be it made all those formative Jewish experiences very positive one. It helped lay a really strong foundation for us at a very young age.
The girls in this photo have continued to be involved in Jewish life. They have grown into strong women with strong Jewish ties—to their religion, their synagogue, to the JCC, to other Jewish organizations and to the community as a whole. I’m still friends with them today. Every year, my son and I go on a cruise with a camp buddy and her kids. And that’s another story that came full circle. When our kids were little, we reunited at the JCC pool!