In a way, Luc was the leader of a lion pack. He was the center of my group of campers, and everyone would follow his lead. Everyone around camp knew who he was. He was outgoing, loud, courageous and charismatic. You just couldn’t help but smile whenever you saw Luc walking around.
The summer of 2011, I worked as a summer camp counselor in training at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco on California and Presidio. The day camp comprised your typical summer camp activities: sports, games, arts and crafts, snacks — the usual.
One of my first campers was Luc. The 6-year-old strolled into my room on a bright, sunny morning at 8:25, earlier than all the other campers. After a few minutes, I could tell he was a wild kid. His blonde, bowl-cut hair was always disheveled, and he never stayed in one spot or at one activity for more than a few minutes.
But I was not only able to keep up with it, I enjoyed and sometimes even topped it. It took just a few minutes before he and I became friends. A few minutes after that, he was sitting on my lap in our morning circle. At the end of the first day, it was clear that I was his favorite counselor, and he, my favorite camper. That night I went home and could only think about Luc. I thought to myself, “This is just the beginning of a fantastic two weeks.”
Luc’s mood was infectious. His cheerful personality and dialogue always made me laugh. He would always walk in before any other campers and immediately brighten the atmosphere of the room. Whenever he could, he would take my big sunglasses and put them on his small, round face. The glasses almost covered his entire head, but he didn’t care at all. Luc had a knack for making everyone smile. I never saw Luc sad or distraught, and it was rare to see him without a toothy grin lining his face.
The two weeks that I spent with Luc were some of the most enjoyable of my life. But sadly, those two weeks had to come to an end. On the final day, the last thing he said to me was, “I’m going to New York on vacation, so look me up in the phone book!” It was a final quote that embodied exactly the type of person that Luc is: funny, innocent, and curious.
The two weeks that I was responsible for Luc were different than any I had lived before. I had never cared so much about a child’s safety, protection and overall well-being. No matter whether we were at the park, at the playground, or even just in the room, I was always looking out for him and making sure that Luc was safe. It gave me insight into what parenthood would be like in the future. That was how strong the bond between Luc and I was. The connection that I built with Luc was one that I had never forged before, and one that I will never forget.
For information abut the Counselor in Training Program, Contact Stephanie Reisfeld, Teen Program Coordinator, at [email protected] , or by phone at 415.292.1249.