I just returned home from an amazing twelve days on the faculty at URJ 6 Points Academy – California. Now you may ask yourself, how can a sports camp be Jewish? I know, I was wondering the same thing when I first started to volunteer as faculty three summers ago. After experiencing the wonder that is The Six, I not only say, Yes, but I continue to grow and be changed by the experience.
Where else can you see a group of campers learn about Jewish values and then see them living by those same values. At 6 Points, you can see this happen in a very organic and meaningful way every day! While I was at camp, there were four values introduced to the campers: community (Kehila), compassion (chemla), confidence (betachon atzmi), and Game Time (l’havdil).
I experienced these values and many more being exhibited by the staff, the coaches, and the campers. It started the moment I arrive at camp. The entire 6 Points community opens their arms and welcomes me home each summer, as part of the family. At each of the sports majors and electives I visit, I get to see and experience these values come to life. Campers come up and introduce themselves and tell me how excited they were to have me join them at their major. Always helping me and pushing me to try, even in sports that I am not confident in playing. If this isn’t living by doing, I am not sure what is!!!
It says in a camp song I used to sing when I was younger, “We went away when we were very young, to find the person who we would become, to find the person who was hidden somewhere inside, what we discovered these it still holds true…”. These song lyrics really resonated with me while I was at camp. It is the only way I can explain having so many stories to share from my time at 6 Points. One story, in particular, stands out. It truly embodies what the camp is trying to teach our campers, how to be good people as well as being great athletes. I was at the soccer major and I got to watch the campers’ stars inside them shine. They had just finished a scrimmage and were going into penalty kicks. One of the youngest campers/goalies went into goal to try to defend the next shot. He got in his stance and stood his ground; the slightly older camper took his shot. The goalie did what goalies do and tried to block the shot. He got his hand on the ball and almost stopped it, but the ball rolled into the goal. His team, didn’t make the usual grunts and sounds of dissatisfaction for the missed goal, they picked his spirit up by cheering the fact that he got a piece of the ball. He came out of the goal not feeling defeated and holding his head down, but head high, feeling supported and proud of what he had accomplished. This is just a small fraction of the remarkable community (kehila) and compassion (chemla) I saw while I was at camp.
As I leave you with the thought of these campers and the incredible experience they are getting at camp this summer and every summer they are at 6 Points Sports Academy, I place my hand into the center of the circle with my values bracelets on and send you off the way they we do every day at camp…Points on six, Points on six…ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE, SIIIIIIXXXXX POINTS!!!!