Attitude of gratitude for summer 2020

"Smiling eyes above the masks were proof that we squeezed in every last bit of Apachi fun. We owned it. Summer 2020 was AMAZING!"

Apachi-Camp image
Left photo credit: Sam Boord. Right photo credit: JCC Chicago.

The last day of camp during any summer is a messy mix of emotions - happiness, pride, sadness, longing for just a few more precious days before the stress of the school year begins. This summer, though, our emotions were on overload. The first day of Apachi J Camp brought familiar faces, excited campers, and counselors, and a whole new set of to-dos. Temperature checks. Small groups. Face coverings. A shorter session.

But through it all, smiling eyes above the masks were proof that we squeezed in every last bit of Apachi fun. We owned it. Summer 2020 was AMAZING!

The success of this unusual Apachi summer was truly a team effort fueled by a community cheering us on, parents who are true partners, and the most resilient group of campers who came ready every single day to embrace this summer fully.

We are grateful to our community partners who stepped up in a big way to make sure we could deliver a true Apachi summer. Apachi Old Town and Apachi Northside relocated to Chicago Jewish Day School and Emanuel Congregation, respectively, and Apachi Rogers Park spread out to a second site at Ida Crown Jewish Academy. Also, in Northbrook, 'Z' Frank Apachi Day Camp worked with Winkelman Elementary School, who kindly allowed us use of their parking lot for camper drop off, temperature screenings, and pick-up. It takes a village, and these partners really showed up for the community and for our kids.

And speaking of our kids, after months of being at home and away from friends, Apachi campers came ready for a summer filled with happiness, new friends, and new activities. While many of their parents thanked us for giving them the summer their kids so badly needed, we are the ones who want to say thank you. We are so proud, so grateful, and so inspired by our Apachi campers-not only following new safety rules but for bringing their love, their unbridled enthusiasm, their kindness, their open hearts, and their smiling faces to camp every day.

With summer now a wonderful memory and an unusual school year upon us, trust us when we say we can learn a lot from these kids. We know that we are strong, united, and flexible. Together we made summer happen. Together, we can do anything.

~With an attitude of gratitude from JCC Chicago and Apachi J Camps

Elizabeth Abrams is the Director of Program Marketing and Communications for JCC Chicago.

JCC Chicago is a partner with the Jewish United Fund in serving our community.


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