By BERNIE BELLAN Just as BB Camp had a plan in the works that allowed families to make use of the camp, Massad also had something similar in the works – with families being able to rent cabins.
While Camp Massad had to cancel all its June bookings, it was still able to take bookings in July for rentals.
Nevertheless, the families that were able to come out to Massad had a fantastic experience, Massad Executive Director Danial Sprintz noted. “We even encouraged families to bring their dogs with them,” he said.
“We know that when we run our cabin rental program in June again next year, it’s going to be hugely popular. People loved hanging out at the pool and using all of the camp amenities. Next year we’ll be fully booked,” he said.
Unlike how the Ontario Health Department responded in sufficient time to allow BB Camp to notify campers that there would, in fact, be a second session, Manitoba Health procrastinated. By the time permission from Manitoba Health was given to Massad (in the last few days of July, if you can believe it) to hold a second session, it was far too late. Actually, since so much planning is necessary to hold a camp session, Danial and the Massad board had taken the decision in May not to have any camp at all this summer.
Still, as unfortunate as it was not to have any campers at all out at Massad for what turned out to be the second consecutive summer, there is a silver lining to what has happened, which is that over the past two years Massad has been able to make major improvements to its infrastructure.
“Thanks to the generosity of the Winnipeg Foundation, The Jewish Foundation, private donors and the Jewish Federation we’ve put an incredible number of resources into putting added improvements into the camp,” Danial said.
“Our community stepped up to in order to maker sure that we didn’t just close down, only to reopen the way it had been before.”
All the cabins now have dropped ceilings, he noted, as well as now having been insulated (which will help to keep the cabins cooler in the summer). With major improvements to landscaping that were put in place last summer, the problems with drainage that occurred every time it rained will also be put behind Massad.
And, unlike BB Camp, which had to operate with a much smaller complement of staff than normal (As Jacob Brodovsky explained, many staff just didn’t want to wait around to find out whether they would have jobs this summer and found employment elsewhere), Massad had made the decision to bring out half of the paid staff and a full complement of volunteer staff, regardless whether there would be any campers at all this summer.
As Danial noted, it was important to provide young volunteer staff and counselors with training this summer, so that they would be fully prepared to step into their roles next summer. If there had been no training of counselors for two consecutive summers, the camp would be in a precarious position when full camp sessions will resume next summer, which is the expectation at the present time.
As well, for the counselors who were on hand, their experience at Massad this summer was remarkable in one other respect, according to Danial.
“We did the first Kaballat Shabbat and Havdallah services that we’ve done in years,” he said. And, while there may not have been campers on hand to witness that experience, for the counselors in training who were there, it was meaningful and brought home the beauty of the Camp Massad experience in a way that was quite unforgettable.