Summers At Camp HASC
By Chaya Feldstein
This year we had another amazing summer session at Camp HASC. While I am thrilled that my sister will be home, it comes with mixed feelings; I was sad for her that it’s over. A whole year Gitty says, “Camp HASC, Camp HASC, Camp HASC.” Ever so impatiently she waits for the departure day and for the bus to come, barely saying goodbye to her family!
I wait to see the pictures of her smiling face in the loving embrace of her counselors. Then I feel a deep urge to write letters and send faxes or e-mails. The visiting day comes with much exciting anticipation, always engendering an emotional experience because Camp HASC represents true unity, love, and selflessness. And, personally, I can assure you that what is said about Camp HASC is true; first words spoken, first steps taken, and countless other firsts.
Gitty was accepted as a camper when she was 5 and our family pediatrician convinced my mother to send her to camp. So it was with much anxiety that my mother and family said our goodbyes and she boarded the bus to camp. But no sooner was she on the bus than the stress and worry began. Should we keep Gitty in camp? After all, she doesn’t talk much and would cry, cry, and cry some more, missing home. The doctor consistently comforted and encouraged my mother to stay strong and allow my sister the time to get used to camp. The staff at Camp HASC left it to my mother’s discretion and patiently walked us through the process. We were happily astounded on the first visiting day; all we saw was love and devotion given with genuine happiness.
I don’t think I will ever forget the look on Gitty’s face when we came to visit her on that first visiting day of her first summer; it was a shock of bewilderment. Her eyes and her smile said it all: “You didn’t forget about me, you didn’t leave me forever alone.” As we were leaving, the crying and sadness began. And although at the time it felt so horrible to leave my sister crying in camp, we knew she was being taken care of in every possible way. It was reassuring to know that immediately after the conclusion of visiting day, the campers would be treated to a concert during which staff would try their best to make Gitty happy.
During those first years of camp, Gitty learned to accept her separation from us, and her homesickness abated. Each summer, the crying for home lessened. Now it became a cry to go to Camp HASC!
That is what brought me to visit Camp HASC, and keeps me going back. I am proud to be part of the HASC family. As a proud sister of a famous Gitty, my life has changed forever due to the kindness of Camp HASC, Mr. Kahn (the founder and director), its sponsors, and dedicated staff and counselors, who spare nothing to ensure happiness for Klal Yisrael’s holiest neshamos. I’m lucky that I grew up with that mentality–Gitty has a heilige neshamah.
Saying the words “Camp HASC” brings a smile to Gitty’s face that lights up the world; nothing can compare to it. Now, over 20 years later, bli ayin ha’ra, not only did she get used to it, she lives for camp and for her counselor’s Skype sessions, calls, and visits.
May we be zocheh that the achdus created at Camp HASC will permeate every fiber of Klal Yisrael, bringing us home together forever.