I’ll Make a Mensch Out of You

Posted August 14, 2016 by

Let’s get down to business. Camp is a funny thing. It is a place full of love, laughter, and s’mores. But while we were having fun in the sun making friendship bracelets and the like, something else was happening to us. We became better people. I don’t mean this in the sense of “Because I went to camp, I am inherently better than you.” Rather, I am a better person than I would have been had I NOT come to camp. In a conversation along this line with a friend of mine, I was asked why I think this is the case and what were those life lessons that I learned that are so important to me. After giving it some thought with the knowledge that we are about to welcome our newest group of bright eyed campers at Try Chi, we wanted to share with you why overnight camp is so special and some of the ways you can look for changes in your campers once they return.

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Alumni Spotlight: Todd Kessler

Posted August 13, 2016 by
Todd Kessler

Across the country and around the world, Chi alums keep the flame burning. For this, Alumni Spotlight, we are featuring Todd Kessler.

I entered the music business right out of college. I graduated from the University of Illinois in 2005 with a degree in Music Theory/Composition and was in the studio the day after graduation starting work on my first album. At that time, I was playing open mic nights and bar “gigs.” Those shows led to gigs at bigger clubs and eventually to forming a band, Todd Kessler and The Folk. We worked our way up through the scene, playing at clubs like Schubas, Double Door and Lincoln Hall, and eventually touring throughout the Midwest, with two notable appearances at Summerfest in Milwaukee in addition to many Chicago festivals including The Taste of Chicago at Millenium Park. In addition to playing with my band,

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The Story of a Chi Summer

Posted August 11, 2016 by
Homecoming 1

I like to think of a summer of camp as a story. As in any quality story, there is a beginning, middle, and end, but our Chi story is unique because these three components are the same summer after summer. Camp Chi’s story starts with Homecoming, arcs with Havdalah services and concludes with Chi Burning. Some of these traditions have been around for more than 60 years while others were created in the past 10 summers. All of these traditions grow and evolve each year and create even a deeper meaning and appreciation for the place that is our home away from home.

Homecoming is the program we run on opening night of each session.  We gather for the first time as a kehilla (community) to celebrate what we have been waiting for all year, the beginning of camp.  At Homecoming, we recognize all the various countries that are represented at camp amongst our campers and staff. 

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Building a Better Habitat for All

Posted August 9, 2016 by
Habitat 2

As the summer days become shorter and the end of the session approaches, the Staff-in-Training (SITs) at Chi are leaving an impact on more than just their campers and the camp community. Throughout the summer, the SITs have volunteered with Habitat for Humanity of the Wisconsin River Area, a local branch of the international organization that strives to create affordable housing by using volunteer labor to lower construction costs. Since the beginning of the summer, the SITs have worked on the construction site of a house in the nearby area. In addition, they helped prepare the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Portage, Wisconsin for its Grand Opening, which happened in late July.

When the first group of SITs set foot on the building site, the house was in its very early construction stages. Just a few weeks later, that same house is nearing completion. While the SITs are just some of the volunteers working with the organization,

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The Significance of Havdallah at Camp

Posted August 5, 2016 by

We hear about Camp Chi magic all the time. It’s that something special about camp that keeps campers, staff and alumni coming back year after year. It’s something that no one could clearly articulate to me when I first joined the Chi staff  six months ago. Now that I have acclimated to my new role and have finally gotten to experience this first hand, I have found that one of the most  magical times  in the week is Havdallah. In my eyes, it is an integral part of making Camp Chi feel like a family, living Jewishly under the stars in Lake Delton.

Havdallah is the ceremony that marks the end of Shabbat and the beginning of a new week. Like all Jewish ceremonies and holidays, Havdallah begins at sundown, specifically, when 3 stars are visible to the human eye. During the hot summer months of June, July and August,

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