As I prepare for my next professional endeavor, I wanted to take a moment to reflect and thank the Beber community. Eighteen years ago, I was a shy 12 year old whose parents urged him to go to summer camp. Growing up in Naperville, I didn’t know too many other Jewish kids my age but the few I did went to a couple of camps. After looking at the different brochures and meeting Danielle and H at the roller skating reunion I decided on going to Beber. Little did I know how much of an impact that decision would have on my life!

My first summer was in 2001 where I met some of my best friends, a few of which stood up in my wedding. After four years as a camper I transitioned to staff, which shed light on a whole new side of camp. Having the opportunity to impact campers’ lives and still spend summers on the shores of Lake Beulah was a no brainer decision and very rewarding. I continued on to be the Basketball Specialist and Makor head counselor before getting the opportunity to join the coveted Leadership team as the Makor Division Leader.

In this new role as Division Leader I had the opportunity to develop my supervisory skills, have new relationships with staff and get to know even more campers. After a successful first summer as Division Leader, I got to come back for another summer and be the Makor Division Leader again, this time with one of my best friends Emily Albun. We had another amazing summer, and with this being the last summer of my college career, I really thought that would be the end of my Beber career. I would need to join the “real world” and get a job.

After graduating college and finishing up camp, the job search began. This was right in the peak of the recession and the demand for an Industrial Designer was not high. As I was looking for jobs, I got a call from another one of my best friends, former bunk mate and staff member, Mark Shankman. Mark let me know that he was moving to LA and wanted to know if I was interested in taking a road trip across country to help him move. Of course, the answer was yes. When else in my life would I be able to drop everything and drive across country for a month? Within a few weeks his girlfriend had joined in and we had a full itinerary. Just 48 hours before leaving another good friend from Beber, David “Blacko” Blackstone had decided he wanted to join us, only caveat was he lived in London. Blacko booked a plane ticket that day, Mark and his girlfriend drove to Chicago picked me up, we stopped by O’Hare to pick up Blacko and the road trip officially had begun. Along the way we made numerous stops getting to see and stay with many Beber friends. After a month-long trip and getting Mark settled I had to head back home to continue my job search.

Once home I had a few contract jobs and different interviews before finally getting a call from the Beber office letting me know that they had some part-time work. I jumped at the opportunity to spend time back in the “Beber Bubble”. That part-time work evolved into Beber creating a new position, the Manager of Customer Experience and Marketing. This was the perfect position for me. It combined my love for camp and creative skills into a full-time position and allowed me to spend my summers at camp trying something new as the Hobby Director. Over the past almost 8 years as a full-time staff member, the camp family has really become my second family. Whether it is staying up late nights hobby sorting, to belly aching laughs on the blue swing, or the wave of emotions on the first and last days of camp. Beber has really been, and will continue to be, a huge part of my life.

Not only did I create a second family at camp, I had the privilege of meeting my wonderful wife, Lexi (Smith) Robinson, at camp. As Marc Altman loves to share, it started with me putting my arm around her at a campfire during leadership week 2010 and needless to say, the rest is history. We got married on Valentine’s Day in 2015 with over 30 Beberites in attendance, some traveling all the way from London and Australia! After settling down in the suburbs and getting a dog, this fall we welcomed our own future Beber camper into the world, Noah Elliott.  The outpouring of mazel tov and happiness from the Beber community was heartwarming and continues to show how Beber can be there for you in every stage of life.

Over the last 18 years I have grown up at camp, from camper, to counselor, to leadership staff and on to full-time staff. The lessons and skills I have learned over the years are countless. Though my time as a Beber full-time staff member has come to an end, my time in the Beber community will never end. I will now get to enjoy my time as a full-time Beber alumni and will experience my first summer at home since I was in middle school. Though I will miss my summer at Beber I know that Beber will always be in my life and for that I want to thank the Beber community!

 

-Brad Robinson