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  • Aviva Wulfsohn

Something exciting every day

Pictured left: Camp Ideal 1972 - Shelley Natkow leads day campers in starting a typical day at Camp Ideal

Each morning my camp buddies and I gathered around a tree in the back of Sinai Synagogue to wait for the bus to take us to another day of Camp Ideal. We sang all the way to camp.

First thing we did when we got to camp was drop our sturdy metal lunch boxes on a long bench inside a barn-like structure, and then we found out what was in store for that day – swimming, wading in the water with our pails and nets to catch tadpoles and the possibility of playing a game called – Newcomb? Sometimes we caught a few tadpoles. Sometimes we got to take them home. Sometimes they were still alive when we got home.

Activities were written on slips of paper and placed in a hat and counselors (and sometime campers) took turns drawing a slip so we’d know what was in store for the day. I remember hearing my counselor Shelly – rather unhappily staying “Newcomb with the boys.” Off she marched to Mrs. Natkow to complain. I don’t remember if we ended up playing “Newcomb” or not, because I still have no idea what it is. Maybe something like volleyball?

Camp Ideal campers, circa 1970s. Pictured: Karen "Jaye" Galloway (center) & Lisa Brown (lower right).

Lunch was awesome if my mom put a little can of Snack Pack chocolate pudding in my lunch box! Snack in the afternoon was always milk and cookies. Milk arrived in metal crates. I can’t remember what kind of cookies we had, but they were really good and I can still taste them.

I do occasionally remember singing on the bus ride home, if I hadn’t fallen asleep first.

Do you have a favorite memory from your days at Jewish summer camp? Let us know! Send us an email and tell us your story, or share your favorite photograph to our Dropbox (no account required). You can also drop off physical photographs in person at the Jewish Federation during normal business hours. We'd love to keep a record of your memories!

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