Learn how the shared experience of camp has brought one family closer together.
In the Orell family, both Bailey and her husband Jonathan attended JCC Day Camps as children. They unknowingly lived parallel lives, engaging in many of the same childhood activities; at the center of both their upbringings was JCC Day Camps. When they eventually met, married and had children, it was a “no brainer” that their son Oliver was going to JCC Day Camps.
“I remember the feeling of waiting for the bus and just knowing I was going to have a great day,” Bailey recalls. It is that lasting sentiment—that feeling of everything is going to ok—that she hopes to give to her son; with JCC Day Camps, she feels assured that when he looks back, he will recount that very same memory. Bailey took a sober tone as she reflected on the 2020 camp season: “my son had  glorious weeks of summer that not a lot of kids got because of COVID. You walk up that path [toward camp] and it feels like you could be anywhere in any time. I don’t think Oliver noticed for a second that anything was different.”
“JCC Day Camps is such a big presence in the community; you just can’t get that Jewish camp experience elsewhere,” Bailey said when asked why she refers so many families. Rooting her children in the very community that both her and her husband have long cherished is why camp is so important to her. JCC Day Camps is the thread that links her family’s past to its future. She plans on sending her two-year old daughter as soon as she is old enough to attend. Will Bailey Orell ever stop referring families to JCC Day Camps? Not anytime soon.
We ended our delightful conversation with what Oliver was most looking forward to this upcoming camp season and Bailey answered quickly, “seeing old friends and making new ones.” After I hung up the phone, Bailey’s words stayed with me “[your kids] come home dirty, tired and happy. And if my kid is happy, what’s there to not be happy about” and it dawned on me, maybe I need to send my son to JCC Day Camps.
By Monique Fontes, Shalom New Haven Staff
Learn more at jccnh.org/camp or contact email@example.com | 203-387-2424 x253
Scholarships to JCC Day Camps are available through the Send a Kid to Camp Fund. Click here to learn more or make a donation.