Rebecca Pereles is a Counselor and Assistant Soccer Coach. She is currently in her freshman year at Vanderbilt University where she studies Biomedical Engineering.
6 Points Sports Academy changed my life. Maybe everyone affiliated with 6 Points says that. But for me, it was something in addition to making friends and having a fun experience to look forward to every summer. It was more than getting better at my favorite sports and trying cool electives. For me, 6 Points helped me fully connect to Judaism and recognize the beauty of religion when I thought that maybe I had lost that connection and understanding.
I was a camper at 6 Points the very first summer it opened. I went for the following two years as well. Three years later, I returned to camp as a Counselor-in-Training (CIT), and that summer—in combination with my three years as a camper—truly and completely connected me to Judaism.
I come from a small, reform Jewish community in Waynesboro, Virginia. Despite having excellent Hebrew school teachers, a loving and encouraging rabbi, and a Bat Mitzvah with a workload equivalent to that of an Orthodox B’nei Mitzvot, I was not completely connected to my faith. This disconnect was only exacerbated when I entered high school. The Christian organization YoungLife is exceedingly popular at my school, and while I was never excluded from coming to YoungLife meetings, there was certainly no Jewish equivalent within the school. So, after hitting high school, I really had few connections to my religion.
However, 6 Points changed that for me. Between my junior and senior years of high school, I became a CIT at 6 Points. I made amazing new friends and reconnected with old acquaintances, but more importantly, I rediscovered how much being Jewish means to me. Through hanging out with both Jewish counselors and campers, I was reminded of the 6 core values of Judaism: teamwork, leadership, pride, growth, intention, and sportsmanship. Once again surrounded by like-minded Jewish athletes, I remembered how proud I was to be a part of the Jewish community. I had experienced that same pride while preparing for my Bat Mitzvah, but I had sadly lost it in the flurry of activity that comes with being a high school student. Returning to 6 Points as a CIT was certainly crucial in repairing and strengthening my personal relationship to religion. Now, I plan to stay close to Judaism and be active in Jewish organizations throughout college. I also hope to take a Birthright trip to Israel in the near future. These thoughts crossed my mind because I had chosen to be a part of 6 Points Sports Academy.
I don’t know if I can credit a single individual with helping me to once again find my faith and to reconnect to Judaism, but I know I can definitely credit a single family: 6 Points Sports Academy. It was amazing to be back in my second home as a full-fledged counselor this past summer, and I hope to have helped others discover, like I once did, just how amazing it is to be Jewish.