By: Sydney Mirviss (2014 B’yachad Camper)
Superheroes. The people we look up to and can always count on when in need of saving. I’m Sydney Mirviss, a 2014 B’yachad camper, and Herzl Camp is my superhero.
Although my days of being a Herzl Camper are over, the days in which camp continues to save me are forever. Camp has had the power to save me in a way that no other human can, just like a superhero.
I have scoliosis, an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine. Since middle school, I never felt comfortable opening up to anyone about it. However, as each summer rolled around, camp recharged me to feel more comfortable in my own skin – It helped me be brave and strong, like a superhero. This previous summer (my B’yachad summer), I found myself opening up to my cabin mates and I felt happier than ever before.
This past summer, my amazing staff and the thirteen best friends in my Tzrif were my superheroes.
Every Friday night, our cabin sat in a circle after Shabbat Dinner and talked. We lit candles and played high low hero, reflecting on our week. We continued to do this weekly. One Friday, after our usual routine, and after our counselors left for a meeting, we continued our circle. Everyone shared something they didn’t normally like to talk about…including me. I shared about my scoliosis, and how insecure and scared I was about it. It was the first time I felt at peace with my situation and from then on, camp changed
As I said, camp became my superhero. Of course, it’s still the same place I can be my crazy self and have the time of my life, but also, it’s the place I feel comfortable enough to openly talk about the things that bother me. It saved me when I needed it most. Camp is the place where I can always rely on all my heroes that are there, whether it’s my friends, staff, or even a simple circle in the middle of a cabin.
This past January, I had major surgery for my scoliosis – called a spinal fusion. The doctors put rods and screws in my back to straighten my spine and the surgery took eleven straight hours. I was in the hospital for a week and had to give up my number one passion: dance.
This was the hardest thing I ever experienced, but I couldn’t have gotten through it without Herzl Camp.
There were countless ways in which Herzl helped me through my surgery. My counselors and camp friends were there for support before, during, and after surgery. I felt calm when I listened to songs from song session. I felt comforted looking through camp pictures, new and old, as I smiled thinking about all my unforgettable memories. All of these things were my superheroes during my surgery, and helped me get through it. They made me remember that camp is always with me, and the memories and lessons I learned will stay with me forever.
Camp played a huge role getting me through the time I was in the hospital, and every time I giggled at a memory, or talked to a camp friend, I felt a little bit better.
Herzl can be everyone’s superhero, and not just during the summer, but beyond.
As a wise Herzl Camp counselor once said, “Being a camp counselor is so much more than for the summer.” I believe that everything I get out of camp doesn’t just last the summer, it lasts a lifetime. I recently got the green light from my doctor to get back to dance and soon I will be able to do everything I did before the surgery.
I now realize how right my counselor was…Herzl’s impact goes way beyond the summers.