Tamarack
(Tamarack)

The CAMPaign for Change aims to strengthen young people’s relationship to Judaism through experiencing and embracing tzedakah and the importance of sharing, volunteering and giving back.

At our annual fundraiser, Send a Kid to Tamarack, we raised critical funds that supported camper scholarship; and, throughout the evening, we highlighted the idea that a Tamarack experience so often changes campers and staff “for good.”

Now, reflecting upon the journey of an atypical summer, and my first in a new role as CEO, I continue to be motivated and inspired by the positive changes that occurred in every program at Tamarack Camps — and, most importantly, in the lives of those connected to our camp community.

As each program concluded, we received an outpouring of messages from families expressing the emotion of this unique time. One Camp Kennedy parent shared: “My child’s experience was very impactful” … “There is certainly special magic in the outpost and part of the magic is the staff. This year, after being cooped up for a year-and-a-half, camp provided that first opportunity of normalcy, while at the same time balancing safety. Everyone was all-in.”

Lee Trepeck
Lee Trepeck

A Camp Maas parent expressed: “Our boys had ‘the best summer ever’ at a time when the best summer was needed more than ever. As parents we are so grateful that they were able to have a summer of independence, experience and joy after 18 months of COVID and with an uncertain fall ahead of them. As Tamarack donors, we know our investment in this community resource is a good one. As community members, we are confident that Tamarack Camps is helping us to strengthen Jewish identity and strengthen Jewish Detroit.”

Summers at camp help our participants grow into future leaders — and now, with campers and staff “home from home,” they are “changed for good” and driven to further solidify the foundation of our camp. This is why we have launched the CAMPaign for Change.

Within the spirit of interactive camp programming, campers and staff learned about tzedakah and the value of giving back. They built their own tzedakah bus boxes and have begun collecting change for collective change. As activists, they are giving tzedakah themselves — and, simultaneously, asking friends, family and neighbors to help fulfill the mission.

I am so grateful to our president, Geoff Kretchmer, who conceived the idea of CAMPaign for Change, and our committee members, who are implementing its vision. And I am beyond appreciative to those participants who are investing in immeasurable opportunity. Through the generosity of individual action, we are collectively supporting scholarships to help ensure that every child, regardless of financial ability, can enjoy life-changing experiences at “The Greatest Place on Earth!”

That’s leadership. That’s “change for good.”

To learn more about supporting our campers and staff as they CAMPaign for Change or to help by making a gift toward camper scholarship, please visit www.tamarackcamps.com/change. 

Lee Trepeck is chief executive officer at Tamarack Camps. This essay first appeared at myjewishdetroit.org.

Previous articleSimchat Torah: The Antidote for Despair
Next articleThey’re Here! Meet Detroit’s 2021-22 Shinshinim