Broader Visions

September 18, 2013

The following is a Summer Story from 2013 by Jake Klingensmith (see right), Geza Head Counselor at Goldman Union Camp Institute (GUCI). Check out GUCI on Twitter: @URJGUCI. Thanks Jake and GUCI for sharing your Summer Story!

This is my fourth summer as a counselor at GUCI, and over the years I’ve had a lot of time to figure out what my role as a counselor is and what kind of counselor I want to be. I’ve spent three years at Carnegie Mellon, a school that is very heavy in technology, and I see people spending a lot of time sitting in front of screens. I see the amazing things that can happen on those screens, but I know there are more amazing things that happen out in the world — especially at camp.

As human beings we have an unbelievable potential to create and to interact with the world. During my time as a counselor, I‘ve noticed that many children today spend more and more time engaging not with the world around them, but with a screen —TV, iPads, etc. My goal as a counselor is to show my campers just how big and amazing the world is, so that when they go home, in addition to an awesome summer, they have a more open mind, a stronger urge to explore, and a broader vision for the future. Because of this, the moments at camp that have the greatest impact on me are when I recognize that my relationship with a camper has paid off.

One thing that I value very highly that I try to pass on to my campers is the idea that all living things are important and sacred — no matter how annoying or buzzy or strange — so when campers tell me that they just saw a really cool insect and they didn’t let anyone smash it, to me those are the most important moments of camp. Those are the times that I know that I’ve changed someone’s life and hopefully made the world a slightly more tolerant place.

This post originally appeared at