BENEFITING: Jewish Community Centers of Chicago
Kevin Miller wrote -
Below is the speech I wrote for Ron for the charity event we held in March. I wasn't able to give it due to some sound issues but now im hoping to honor him in a different way. All Ron does is give and now he wants o fulfil his dream of buying a pontoon boat for camp. Please read below and please give what you can. Camp Chi Magic Lives Inside of you, KM
1995. I was finally ready to try overnight camp. To the dismay of my brothers and father, it would not be Ojibwa. I had heard my friends talk about a camp in lake delton. It was for jews, it had sports, it was co-ed. Sold. I signed up for camp that summer. I signed up for my life to be changed. Like so many in this room I was made by a stretch of woods off blass lake. Camp was everything. The year was broken down into two sections. At camp or waiting to be at camp. When you took that exit off 94 it was the annual reminder of how great you are. You could be anybody but normally chose to be the best version of yourself. I was able to do the impossible, rock climb, get on stage for the first time, water ski (that’s actually a lie, I was at camp for 14 years and never water skied), play ball through rain or shine, touch a boob, dance, laugh, grow. Every summer was this magical symphony both unique and comfortably familiar. Behind each year was the conductor. Sometimes forced to conduct while being locked in his office, wand in one hand and a phone in the other, where hed be explaining to a mother why their child wasn’t smiling on the website. Ron Levin gave me, me. The irony of this event is that Ron would be the last one in this room to want to be celebrated with a gala like this. The first would probably be me followed by a long list of the north shores finest narcissists. Big papa, thank you could never be enough but Ill try. Thank you for being the first to welcome me home. Thank you for giving us our playground. Thank you for never disciplining too hard, even if a boy made a unique order at dairy queen or marched an entire unit to the dining hall wearing only boxers and chanting its too hot for pants, thank you for your endless support, thank you for the greatest gift any of us have ever received, Camp Chi. The final day of camp would normally end with a warm goodbye from Ron. My final year I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Paying your respects to the don had an odd weight of finality. There is no finality with camp. Its never goodbye. Despite what a second year counselor may tell you its not “really different now”. Its always there. Its always waiting. Ready to remind you how great you are.