Holiday Gratitude Guide: I’m Grateful This Year Because…
By Deb Ackerman, Perlman parent
Perlman is more than just a camp to us; it’s an entire extended family of people that my son feels his happiest and most comfortable around. All school year is a countdown to the summer, and as the summer draws nearer, the excitement in my home is almost uncontainable.
Ryan’s cousins have been going to Beber for years. He’s always said he’d like to go to sleepaway camp and Ryan’s uncle promised it would change his life if he did. To my amazement, he got on the bus, alone – didn’t know anyone and ventured out to Pennsylvania. As a mom, I worried and I wondered if he’d be calling to come home that night. The phone never rang and as I checked the website for pictures, he was smiling and having so much fun.
As a parent, nothing feels as good as seeing your child happy.
Not only did he stay the whole summer, he met so many kids of all ages from all around the globe. His new friends made him feel safe to be himself and when came home, he had more confidence, the experience of a lifetime and literally, a huge, extended family.
Since then, almost 5 years ago, he has returned to camp with the same group of kids summer after summer and each year he meets more and more new friends. But, it’s not just the summer anymore – the phone calls, the road trips, the reunions and parties, go on all throughout the year now. This group of young men and women has become so close that it’s really changed Ryan’s life – and mine. There’s a big difference in the friendships he’s formed at camp than those of his friends from home. It’s nothing I can pick out in words but when you see it, you understand it. These will be life-long friendships. Just as Ryan’s uncle promised him. He’s changed. He grew up, he’s opened up to trying new things; he went to Israel with them. He had his Bar Mitzvah a few years ago which going to a Jewish camp made that even more special. He’s embraced his Jewish culture at camp in ways I couldn’t do myself at home.
What I love about Perlman as a parent is they love my kid and with that comes my ease and comfort when he’s there. They always keep in touch and there is nothing they wouldn’t do to make sure my kid is happy and having an optimal experience. Whether it’s a random text or picture of my son in a talent show to brighten my day, to assistance with financial aid to make sure he can go to camp again – they are always available to me. They helped me let go and trust that my son was learning to do things on his own, which isn’t always easy for a parent to do. Perlman has changed our lives for the better. I wish there was a rewind button so that he could have started even younger than he did. We are now part of a very big Jewish community that extends over continents! It’s exciting and it’s fulfilling and it’s a very big part of our life now.
No matter the gift, large or small, your support and generosity ensures that every camper will have the opportunity to experience the life-changing magic of Summer 2018 at Perlman Camp. Share the Magic today.