Giving Back to Camp
SLC has been a pivotal part of my life and that of my family, for decades. My parents met at SLC in 1969, I am an alumna of 15 summers myself, and a parent of 3rd generation campers, SLC is in our blood.
Our kids obviously were super excited, as always, to head to 10516 this summer. And when the announcement we were dreading came from Camp, while not unexpected, it was simply devastating to face that reality. A summer without camp as we know and love it is the saddest thing imaginable.
We were recently inspired by an email we saw from Rabbi Isaac Saposnick, who is the director of Camp Havaya, requesting families of sleepaway campers consider donating a portion of their tuition back to camp. After speaking with my husband Mike, it reminded us of why our connection to SLC is so important and linked to the values we cherish as a family, and as a people. We came to understand and appreciate that SLC has been working all year round to get to the point of opening. Year-round staff have been busy planning, training and preparing. Year-long fixed costs don’t go away with the pandemic. Yes, SLC will save the summer’s direct costs representing a percentage of their annual expense budget by not running camp. But a significant portion of their budget, most of which comes from earned revenue, has already been spent. In good faith, they spent much of the money we paid getting ready to give our kids SLC’s 119th summer. They didn’t take it and run or spend it irresponsibly. They spent it on what we expected them to spend it on.
So I ask you, is it really our money to take back? Wouldn’t it be a mitzvah to donate at least a portion back to Camp, and then like us, consider rolling over the remaining dollars for the summer of 2021? Because there will be more summers to come, you can bet on that!
Supporting Camp and Camp’s mission that we all believe in is so important right now, maybe more than ever before. I know firsthand that our camp community is strong. We are a family. If you bump into someone who has a connection with SLC, you recognize that bond. The memories and friendships last forever! To keep our tradition going, and to make sure SLC is in a place to provide for future magical summers, my family has decided to donate a significant portion of our tuition back to SLC. And how amazing to know that because of the generosity of both UJA-Federation of New York and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, for every dollar we donate, camp will be matched an additional two dollars. If you donate $1,000 of your 2020 tuition, that becomes $3,000 for SLC!
If you aren’t aware, SLC annually provides scholarship to 50% of campers and it is pretty obvious given the economic climate that the need next summer will be dramatically higher.
Unfortunately, SLC will be frozen in time for the summer of 2020. All the memories, photos, friendships, new experiences, camp letters, camp trips and sleepovers with your besties that last all summer, will be on pause until next year. But SLC needs us right now to be sure they will withstand this economic crisis and return as strong as ever for campers and counselors in 2021 and beyond.
Whether you are a multi-generational SLC family, or a newcomer to camp, please consider making a donation to this phenomenal place, which changes kids’ lives every summer.
Ilana Sussman & Family