Testimonial from Frankie Rothschild, Camp Sabra Alumni
When I’m asked what Camp means to me, my mind is overcome with the countless memories and faces I will never forget. It is hard for me to express in words how much Camp Sabra has impacted my life. I have changed as a person mentally and physically, and I have learned things that I wouldn’t have without living and learning with 35 other teenagers, things that cannot be taught by a teacher in a class room. I’ve spent the past seven summers in the place I call my home surrounded by my best friends.
In 2009 when my journey began, I was nervous and hesitant on going. I had no clue what I was about to embark on. I was only supposed to go for one week, but I fell in love. So, I asked my mom if I could stay for another week, and she said yes. Swine flu hit camp, and I remember at lunch that day a staff member saying on the announcements that camp would be closing for a week. I was devastated. I was the last healthy camper in my cabin, so I had to pack for all my sick cabinmates and sleep alone with my counselor in the cabin. I didn’t want to go home. On the bus back to Dallas, I got sick. I had to make sure I got better before camp reopened. I did, and one week later, I returned to Camp. I was back in my element. In this last week, I met my best friend, Erica Berman. After camp that year, I didn’t go a day without thinking about it. I continued to go back the next six years – each year getting better, each year making new friends, making new memories, learning new skills, and building so many personality characteristics I would not have had if I had spent my summers in Dallas, Texas. After 2011, I started going both sessions, and this was by far the best decision I have made in my whole life. Every day at camp I had so many opportunities at my fingertips, and I could try new things every day. I learned to be an independent person and find good in everything.
This past summer, my journey came to a close with the Masada trip. I remember getting to camp in 2009 and seeing these kids outside of the bus who I honestly thought were twenty years old. I remember calculating I would be that old in six years. I never imagined myself being the “big kid” or the “cool girl” in the dining hall. We left for Colorado on a Sunday night after dinner and I was beyond excited! During my trip, I unlocked a new emotion: I had never felt as happy as I did when I summited Anchor Mountain. I remember looking around and seeing everyone smiling – there were no worries in the air, no stress, no drama, just smiles. I was overwhelmed with joy. I can proudly say: I did not shower for 12 days. I lived on a bus for 2 weeks. I slept in a tent under the stars every night of that trip. I cooked meals for 35 teenagers. I laughed so hard I cried. I screamed so loud at the top of that mountain just because I could. I took advantage of every opportunity given. I met amazing people and each one of them had so much to offer. I learned to appreciate nature and that one does not need technology to survive.
Camp isn’t just a place where you sit around a campfire to roast s’mores and tell stories. Camp is a place to learn and grow. Camp is a no judgment zone. From being sung happy birthday by 200+ people while skipping around the dining hall with my best friends laughing behind me to crying so hard on the last night of camp hoping it is a nightmare, I have experienced so much at this magical place, People often get caught up in their busy work schedules and don’t have time to take a step back and appreciate what they have in front of them, but Camp lets you appreciate things like this: a carefree atmosphere and waking up to beautiful sunrises and calls of counselors and birds chirping. Not a day goes by that I do not think about camp. Everything I do somehow relates to camp and reminds me of it. Camp Sabra is forever my true home and a place I am so lucky to have. “My hiking boots will always be ready and waiting in my closet, And no matter how cozy my apartment is, I never sleep better than when I am in a cabin in the woods. For I am a camper. No matter where I am, what I do, or who I become, I am, now and forever, a camper.”