I was 16 and quite excited. Y2K had passed without a glitch, I had an extra 22 shekels on my calling card, my first year away from home was wonderful, I had returned alive from making a Pesach seder in some forsaken corner of Southern Ukraine, I was moving up the Montreal summer camp's farm system, and I had just received a phone call on the yeshiva's payphone (that wasn't from my parents. That's a big deal).
A few years back (from then) I experienced my first summer at an overnight camp. It was the camp to go to, Camp Gan Israel Montreal (which was actually located some 2 hours from the city). Being that I was going to be moving to New York with my mom, I was stuck in the "Oholei Torah" bunk (the New York bunk). Basically the wild-crazy kid bunk. And I was anything but. It was definitely an eye opener.
Anyways, 2 years later I moved up into the "Masmidim" section, where we spent half the day learning, half the day playing. Good times.
Now, 1 year later, at 16 I was going to be one of the youngest on the staff, to be joining the waiter crew. We were to serve food, clean up food, have fun, learn some, and make obscene amounts of money from tips.
And then I got the phone call. It was from the head counselor, Zalmy Heber. Now this sounds ridiculous, but at that stage of life, everyone waited to find out who the head counselors were going to be at Montreal. It was a golden ticket into the match-making world (that's not the reason we cared, it just shows us how they were considered the cream of the crop).
Conversation went something like this: "Hi is this Zalmy?"
"yup! who in the world is this? you don't sound like my father or brother?"
"It's Zalmy Heber, the head counselor at Montreal."
Heavy breathing, sweaty palms.
"Well, we've had someone back out from being a counselor and we were wondering if you wanted to take his place."
Heavy breathing. sweaty palms.
"Well, are you interested?"
"Yes!! yes yes yes. Ummmm what do I have to do?"
I forget the rest. I ended up having a wonderful summer counseling the youngest bunk. (It's odd how they do that, pair up the youngest staff with the youngest campers... not cool.) I did miss hanging out with my waiter friends, and I was no where near cool enough to hang out with all the older staff, but I did meet some great people with whom I'm still close with, and made way less than my waiter friends.
The point of all this is (what? you ask. there is a point?!) last year I had the pleasure of photographing one of my camper's wedding, and a month or two ago I shot my second one :) and that Zalmy Heber dude was there too.
Thank you SO much to my second shooter Kristin Marie for kicking some serious rear end.
And this wedding did not end. Seriously, I think I left the ballroom at 2:30 am. People just wouldn't. Stop, Dancing. Which was more than fine with me :)