Never Goodbye…It’s Always See You Soon

To Our Chen-A-Wanda Parents at home that have read our blogs, watched our videos, sifted through thousands and thousands of pictures, loved our Instagram posts and stories and believed in us enough to send your kids to spread their wings with us at Camp Chen-A-Wanda. We can’t thank you enough for sharing your children with us this summer. I have spent the past 49 nights writing to you at home in hopes of giving you a glance and what is happening inside our gates but tonight I wrote this letter and read it to your children for our last evening activity of Summer ’19. They were arm in arm with one another, crying happy tears for the love they feel here and sad tears because summer ’19 has come to an end. It has been the most magnificent summer and it is because of your children, the heart and soul to Camp Chen-A-Wanda. Thank you again for believing in us to care for your babies and enjoy them tomorrow when they are back in your arms.


Forty-nine days ago you all arrived here and we began our Summer ’19 journey together. We built a community based on trust, kindness, communication and a commitment to be the best versions of ourselves. We hope you stepped outside of your comfort zone and tried something you never thought you would be able to do and gave it all of your effort. It’s about the journey that matters most and we hope your summer was meaningful and full of great awesome moments.You may not always remember all the details of what happened this summer but our hope is you are able to reflect and cherish on how Camp Chen-A-Wanda and the people here made you feel.

For 49 days we have had the privilege of witnessing the best part of humanity. We have seen you at your best, we have seen you come through tough moments and we have watched you put the needs of others before your own. There have been countless examples of your kindness that has inspired us to be better people. We have seen you embrace one another and support each other. We have watched friendships develop and we have had a front row seat as we watched your hearts grow bigger as you let people into your lives. When one of you is hurting, all you of come to the rescue. Your words are full of compassion and empathy, your acts of kindness inspires everyone around you. Together we have formed a perfect place to spend our summers at. The word perfect doesn’t mean it was without conflict or disagreements but it does mean that we listened to one another and that we heard each other and more importantly that we took responsibility for actions that may have negatively impacted someone else. When we listen to one another and truly hear each other, we become better friends and happier people.

To our staff.. You have blown us away with your spirit, your loyalty to the campers, your commitment and care in everything you did here. We told you at orientation that this experience will be one of the most challenging jobs you will ever have and that it will require you to dig down down and believe in yourself, trust the process and watch your life change for the better. You gave to our kids when you thought you had nothing left to give and then you gave more. You leaned on each other and developed a camp family that had each others back. These relationships are lasting and meaningful and will enrich your lives for years to come. We hope you feel a sense of great accomplishment and pride for what you provided to our campers this summer and most importantly we hope this experience gives you the confidence to continue doing amazing things with your lives. Wherever your path takes you, we hope you will always remember how incredibly awesome you were that summer at Chenny. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, Thank you.

To our campers who stole our hearts this summer- It’s hard to put into words the effect you have on us but you changed us for the better. You inspired us to face our fears, step outside our comfort zone and you gave us confidence to know that whatever comes our way, we got this. 
Freshman owned the cuteness game and we hope you loved your first summer full of piggy back rides, gaga tournaments and making so many new friends. Juniors & Middies – Thank you for your off the charts camp spirit and playing all summer long. There is nothing sweeter than watching our kids play and watching you warmed our hearts .Inters & Collegiates – Mohican kids brought the fun this summer. Your positive energy spread sunshine all throughout camp. You played and laughed and learned that inclusion makes everything better.  Seniors and Supers – The bigger kids with the later curfew -we hope you continue to find your voice and always keep your hearts open to each other. When your world gets bigger, your world gets better. To our GC’s, you wandered and embraced the West coast but it wasn’t where you were, it was who you were with that made your summer so spectacular. You became One Division and now you are on deck to lead camp next summer. We can’t wait to watch you shine so get back here and kill it! Summer ’20 is yours. To our CIT’s, you blew our minds and you lead the way this summer and set the tone for how incredible the feeling here was. Your camper road has come to an end. There are no more Sign and Songs, or Girls Sings, no more Boys Lip Syncs or Color War but every moment, every memory lives forever inside each of you. You passed the love you have for this place onto your campers and that is the circle of love we do here at Chenny. It’s never ending. We just cannot thank you enough for the giant and beautiful mark you left here at Camp Chen-A-Wanda. Listening to Sam Tell and AJ Grisack share a piece of their heart with us at Boys Lip Sync with their incredibly powerful words shows all of us the impact camp has on each of us.We ask that you each of you never forget the lessons that this summer has presented to you, they will serve you and enrich your lives if you let them. Thank you CIT’s of ’19. You will never be forgotten.

So.. here we are at the end and each of us in this hall will soon return to school, team tryouts, SAT tutoring, carpools, homework (lots of homework),tests, hebrew lessons, college applications, starting college and some will head back to work, finding work, bills and the stress of growing up. But we ask each and every one of you sitting here in front of us to remember, on those cold winter nights how this place made you feel and how it filled your heart with so much joy. How Camp Chen-A-Wanda changed you for the better and how we all created a world of kindness and compassion that will last far beyond the 7 weeks we just spent here. So as you head back out to the “real world” share a little Chenny with everyone you meet. Be kind, put down those devices and talk to one another, replace Fortnite with a great game of Palace, hold hands with your friends, find time to stargaze, tell those you love how much you care about them, Carpe’ Diem, sing at the top of your lungs and dance like you are still in the Lodge.

Thank you Chenny for a summer we will never forget. We Love You!!

Jon & Elissa