by Anna Vernick

For me, Camp Harlam is the absolute most beautiful place in the whole world. I couldn’t have loved that place more. The friends I made at Camp Harlam are irreplaceable, and I will love them forever. If I didn’t meet them, my camp experience wouldn’t have been quite as great, even though I’m sure it still would’ve been pretty awesome! I’m so glad I begged my parents to let me go, or else I wouldn’t have the opportunity to experience the most beautiful sight ever, a Camp Harlam Shabbat.

Camp Harlam Shabbats are something I will never forget. Sitting on the benches on the Chapel on the Hill and seeing the whole camp from there was truly amazing. Talking to my best friends before the service started, and hearing the music dance into your ears, and feeling just, so happy, those are the feelings I miss every day I’m not there. I remember everyone in my unit holding hands as we walked up to the Chapel on the Hill, and hearing the music getting louder and louder as you get closer. I remember my first Camp Harlam Shabbat, it poured. We had to have the service inside, but it was still beautiful.

Shabbat of course wasn’t the only thing I absolutely loved at camp, I remember the night I got really homesick, and my bunk all surrounded me to make sure I was okay. I remember pretending that I knew the words to the songs we sang at my first song session. I remember hearing the Birkat Hamazon for the first time, and wondering when it would end. I still find it hard to believe that I know that prayer by heart now. I still remember the smile that I smiled from ear to ear as we pulled up to camp. I remember me and my mom trying to figure out where to go on the first day, and then when we finally found my bunk, all of my counselors coming out to help us unpack.

I have never loved a place as much as I love Camp Harlam. I love the family that I made. I love walking hand in hand up to the Chapel on the Hill. I love color war. I love the stories that I heard about the past years. I love how I was welcomed into the big family. The only thing I would’ve changed is starting to go there a lot earlier in my life. Camp Harlam is a place I will remember for my whole life. And I will also never forget each one the friends I made. They’re really not kidding when they say “it’s where friends become family.”