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Shalom Y’all, my name is Dave Shyloski (aka “D-Shy”) and I have been afforded the opportunity to serve CMC this summer as the Assistant Atid Unit Director. This summer marks my 5th at Camp Mountain Chai. During my previous summers at camp I have served the community in a variety of capacities ranging from archery instructor, counselor, and lifeguard, primarily in Amirim. I hail from North Carolina, or “North Cacalack” as we say down South. Upon graduating college it was suggested I find a job in the “real world.” The real world found me teaching literacy to underserved adults in Washington, DC. After a year or so of working the 9 to 5 I instead opted to pursue my first love; writing and performing comedy. Needless to say stand-up comedy doesn’t exactly pay the bills or serve society, but I was once told the best things in life are worth chasing. Presently I am in the early stages of creating a pilot script for a comedy show set in the rural south (insert banjo riff here). I also am an avid swimmer and climbing enthusiast and will often pass on hotels that don’t have pools.
Each summer since 2012 I have said with a heavy sigh that “this will be my last summer,” yet come what May I am twiddling my thumbs because the will to serve this community is something that has not left me. I have watched this camp grow up around me, as I too have grown within it. When I first arrived to camp in 2010 Steve Gerard pitched the staff an idea, that if you truly buy in to the camp philosophy you will give back something greater than the sum of its parts to each and every camper you encounter. After a magical summer in 2010 I began receiving letters from campers, sharing their memories, current academic reports, the recent addition of a chinchilla to the family, etc.,…but primarily words expressing gratitude for an incredible summer. It wasn’t long after reading just one of these letters that the immediacy of Steve’s words had become evident. Camp isn’t just a place or a time. Camp is the presence of a community; a community in which all must work together, deliberately and selflessly in order to create a meaningful experience that will linger in our minds and in our hearts for years to come.