If you’re reading this, my guess is that you spent a little time at a summer camp. There are so many different songs that take me back to my time as a camper, and I’m sure the same is true for you. Spend a little time getting back into camp mode! Put together your favorite songs from the past. Pretend you’re back in the dining hall, at the campfire or wherever you sang during camp. Are you there? Make some s’mores. It will help.
Over the course of my time in the Jewish camping world, I have found that parents, campers, staff, alumni and anyone associated with camping all have favorite camp songs. For years I’ve gone back and forth with fellow camp professionals about our all-time favorites. (A little secret: Many of the Jewish camp directors around the country are friends.) It’s always fun when we get together—we argue and sing and figure out which songs are the all-time best.
Here’s a little text study for you:
Come gather ‘round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin.’
Today, this game is as fun as ever. Why? Well, like Dylan said, “the times they are a-changin.” The songs I learned as a child are mostly still present at camps, but new songs have taken over as the camp favorites. I’m all about tradition, but some of these new songs are just really, really good and deserve a place in the camp songbook.
I’d like to invite you all to join me in this little game! What are your favorite camp songs of all time? Hopefully if enough people participate, we’ll have a New England Jewish Camp Top 10!
Here are a few of my votes in alphabetical order (and yes, I’m going to throw in a few new ones since it’s my blog post, so I get 15!):
“Cats in the Cradle”
“Father and Son”
“Leaving on a Jet Plane”
“Wish You Were Here”
“With a Little Help From My Friends”
For years I’ve been telling people that being a camper is not about your age; it’s about your ability to play, have fun and forget about the hustle and bustle of your everyday, three-season life. Prove me right and rock out today to a few of your all-time favorite camp songs!
Mitch Morgan is the director of JCC Maccabi Camp Kingswood.