Quinn with campers

I never had the opportunity to be a camper at Beber, however I was incredibly fortunate to spend five influential summers as a staff member. During these five years, Beber played a role in shaping my community, life-long friendships and passion for residential camping.

I will never forget the feeling of getting off the bus at Beber for the very first time. That moment changed the trajectory of my life. For the first time, I knew what it meant to be part of something bigger, to be part of creating meaningful camp experiences for campers. I was empowered to lead cabin activities, plan evening programs and manage the physical and emotional well-being of a cabin of thirteen year old girls twenty-four hours a day. The bonds I established with my campers that first summer and the trust shown by camp’s senior leadership has carried with me through today. Each summer I reflect on my first counselor experience as a model of what I hope my staff take home with them at the end of the season – positive personal growth, an ability to have fun with campers all day and sense of belonging to community.

Quinn with closest friends

At camp, I met my closest friends. Friends that I have traveled the world with and traveled the world to see. Everyone who has been to camp knows that there is something very unique about camp friendships. A connection and instant comfort that doesn’t come  easily in day-to-day life. Growing and learning from each other in the camp environment creates life-long friendships.  These have become the friends that today are the extension of my family.

I never wanted to leave camp at the end of the summer and daydreamed about how to spend my year at camp. It embodied what I loved and who I wanted to be.  Someone that inspired children and young adults to be themselves and dream big. It was Beber where I discovered a passion for camp and the opportunities to teach others lifelong skills.

Quinn at wedding

Because of Beber, I pursued graduate studies at Brandeis University and completes a dual masters in Jewish Studies and Jewish Professional Leadership with a focus on Jewish residential camping. I was lucky to find a great job right out of my program.  I get to build a fantastic staff each year as the Associate Director of Camp Tawonga ensuring that each of our campers have a life-changing camp experience, just like I got to have as a staff member at Beber.

For me, Beber is where I found my passion.

*Katie Quinn is the Associate Director at Camp Tawonga in Northern California. Check out Tawonga at www.tawonga.org