By Allyson and Mark Tibor
Our daughter, Rachel, has attended Camp Barney Medintz since she was a rising 3rd grader. There was no two-week session for her, as she was ALL IN from the very beginning. (She was so excited to have a vacation from her brothers!) Camp quickly became her true happy place.
Rachel entered 10th grade last Fall, along with her twin brother. She was returning to school in-person, like so many other kids, after a year and a half of remote learning. Unfortunately, this school year would prove to be very different. The pandemic had taken its toll, and it became evident that she would need extra assistance, and likely also summer school.
Panic began to set in, since her whole world revolves around camp and the friends she’s made there. She was devastated to learn that she might not be able to go. This summer she would be a JIT, which is the last year teens are eligible to be campers. Her friends were all registered and chattering about camp. But our hands were tied—with only a month or so left in school, nobody had any hope that she would pass her classes.
But Rachel became a machine, churning out her work and staying after school. Two weeks before school got out, she had brought up all her grades, and even passed an online course to make up for a science class from the Fall. I had always told her that if she could make it happen, I could make it happen. So now it was my turn.
I kicked it into high gear, much like she had. I made calls, completed paperwork, and prayed. I hoped the donors in our community would want a deserving young girl to have the opportunity to go to camp. Camp Barney was very understanding, supportive, and generous. The Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta’s Jewish Camp Initiative placed the last piece into the puzzle. Though we were very late in making our request, they understood our predicament and played a big role in “making it happen.”
Rachel attended Camp Barney’s first session, making new friends and participating in experiences that she could never have had anywhere else. This was the year for “solo,” in which she had to survive alone for 24 hours. She was so proud of herself for not only surviving but thriving! The confidence she gained from that one activity will surely serve her well in the future. If she could do that, she will have faith in herself, knowing what a strong woman she is becoming.
We are forever grateful to our Jewish community for assisting our child in having this life-changing opportunity. She was truly happy, and it showed in all the photos and letters from camp!