Reflections on a Summer @ 6 Points FOR kids WITHOUT kids…
By Rabbi Josh Bennett
For nearly a decade, I have had the honor to serve as a faculty member at the 6 Points Sports Academy. Beginning in Greensboro I was given the chance to shape the way a new camp concept would change the lives of Jewish Athletes. This past Summer, I was blessed to be a part of the transition to a new camp home at the Asheville School. Once again, I learned that it is not “Location, Location, Location” that matters. People are more important than place! As always, the staff, counselors, and faculty did our job. We helped shape the physical structure of new facilities into a Home Away From Home for Jewish Athletes from across the world.
But this Summer was different for me. It was the first time that I was part of the camp community without my own children. And in this experience, CAMP CHANGED ME!
I have been blessed to be able to watch my own children from a distance at camp. I hid across the Chadar Ochel from my homesick child…trying not to be noticed as he acclimated to camp life. I played on the soccer field with my son and gave him a hug after a significant athletic achievement. I ran the 5k with my boys and coached them through the race. And I witnessed their social development with friends and as they evolved from camper to staff. This was a gift!
But this Summer was different for me. I realize that, as a Rabbi, I have been given the opportunity to witness, firsthand, the magic of camp for MY family. In 2021, I became fully aware of how it will change YOURS!!
Here are my reflections:
6 Points Develops Outstanding Athletes
With eyes fully focused ONLY on YOUR children this year, I saw incredible growth in athletic ability. Professional coaches set the stage for incremental advancement of skill with warmups, drills, and technical practices. But what stood out to me more than ever was the expectation of emotional and mental growth for our athletes. This occurred not in the workouts (which were intense) but in the relationships built with counselors. Our staff are fantastic mentors and role models. Their attitude of excellence invites the student athletes to dig deep for focus and attention to detail. One session at camp demands a great deal physically AND mentally…and the staff relationships with campers creates an atmosphere of success and growth.
6 Points Creates Committed Jewish Young Adults
As a parent, I understand the value of 6 Points in the development of my boys’ Jewish identity. As a Rabbi without a child at camp, I witnessed the power of camp to drive the future of our Jewish Community. It is not only in the ritual of birkat hamazon or shabbat services that this takes place. More so, it is on the tennis court or baseball diamond where Jewish values come to life. Campers take care of each other as they internalize what it means to be teammates and friends. They take free kicks with intention. They dance and cheer with purpose. They focus on strokes in the pool with ritualistic meaning. Doing so in a Jewish environment with Jewish role model counselors and a camp leadership staff who lives serve with Jewish hearts and souls is THE recipe for a vibrant Jewish Community. At a time when Jewish communal life is being reshaped, our future looks bright.
6 Points Builds Leaders for Life
We are Jewish. We are Athletes. AND we are at Camp! The final metric is one that will serve not only our Jewish future, but our world as well. At a time when social media and digital connections define us, we need the solitude and separation provided by camp more than ever. Without cell phones and computers, 6 Points provides the proving ground for life skills. Staff and campers speak to each other with words, not emojis! LOL IRL! And while this may not seem life-changing, it is a seismic shift during the summer. Staff members teach empathy and kindness. Campers learn conflict management. The Leadership Team models excellence in the workplace and a strong work ethic. Even Rabbis, Cantors, and Jewish educators find that informal Jewish ritual speaks to this generation without compromising our rich heritage. This positions 6 Points as the centerpiece of a life-skills workshop that makes the world better.
SO…Thank you Danny Herz, The Leadership Team, Staff, and Campers! Because of you I am changed for good!