June 18, 2024
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June 18, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

The Power of Chesed: Camp Simcha

Editor’s Note: The following is a letter of appreciation from grateful Camp Simcha parents.

To the most amazing and dedicated Camp Simcha staff,

I do not know how to say THANK YOU for the most incredible camp experience ever! A simple letter is not enough: I could fill a book with how much fun Mendel had, how dedicated, loving and caring the staff were, and how much he gained from this amazing experience. Besides having an epic time, Mendel gained so much from the camp. He called me every night gushing telling me about all the exciting things he did each day. I turned to my husband and said, “Is this the same kid we send to speech therapy to help him express himself?’’ It helped his confidence soar. Going to a regular yeshiva he always feels different. Here he was one of the chevra just focusing on having fun.

Besides the counselors being amazing and a blast of fun, the nurses were so caring and sensitive. With all Mendel’s medical needs, I never dreamed he would be able to go away to camp. Here, he had all his needs taken care of, with sensitivity and concern. When I spoke to his nurse Yossi before camp, he told me, “Don’t worry; we send the kids back better than they come.” How right he was! Mendel came back totally taken care of, with a HUGE confidence-boost and a whopping camp experience.

One night, I called Mendel to say good night. His counselor told me to call back in five minutes as Rabbi Filer had just come to say good night. I was so shocked. In what other camp do the camp rabbis go around to see how each and every camper is and to say good night? Each staff member was more caring then the next. The program was incredible. The arts and crafts were so fancy and creative, led by such talented, patient and loving counselors. He is left with such awesome memories. The chayus, achdus and dancing were unbelievable; and the dancing and singing after each meal gave a whole new definition to the word “simcha.”

It was so healthy for the rest of our family, too. We decided to spend the time doing everything we usually can’t do with Mendel—going hiking, cycling, etc. This amazing camp experience sent me down memory lane to when Mendel was sick in the hospital. When he was 2 ½, he had an arteriovenous fistula (AVF) that ruptured all over his spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. We went to Rusk at NYU Langone for rehabilitation.

They had a psychologist who came around the ward to meet the different children. Each child had their own story. Next door was a 14-year-old girl who walked into her apartment building elevator while on the phone. She didn’t realize that the elevator was broken, and fell all the way down the shaft, leaving her majorly paralyzed. The boy on the other side of us was 3, and had been shot in the head. He had to relearn everything again and was also left in a wheelchair. It felt like a horror movie, only that we were part of it and living it.

When the psychologist came to our room he said, “Mendel, you always have so many visitors.” Then he looked around and saw all the many packages that our family and Chai Lifeline had sent and said, “You guys will be OK. You have amazing organizations and family support.’’ It was such a kiddush Hashem. Although at the time I am not sure how OK I felt, he was right. The fact that Mendel could go to such a dedicated camp as Camp Simcha is truly what the psychologist meant. We are very blessed to be part of Am Yisrael! After seeing all this ahavas Yisrael I really don’t understand why Moshiach is not here.

Today we sat in the doctor’s office for a long time. Mendel was crying as the doctor was doing all the poking and prodding. To try to distract him, I turned on some camp videos and he started to smile, and I even got a giggle out of him in the middle of it all. That is what Camp Simcha is, taking the hardships of these kids and turning them into laughter. He has already started counting down to next year!

I know you are on to the next camp session but we are going to live with this one the whole year.

May Hashem repay you all many many times over, and may you all experience much revealed brachos and simchas always!

Wishing you all a kesiva v’chasima tov l’shana tova u’mesuka, sweet in all things!

Parents overflowing with deep, deep appreciation,

E and M

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