I remember when I was a camper at Camp TIOH (Temple Israel of Hollywood). It was called Camp Simcha [“joy”] back then, which is exactly how camp made me feel. At 10 years old, there was nothing I enjoyed more than spending time with all my friends, playing games all day and hanging out with the counselors (who, at the time, I thought were the coolest people in the world). Every year my mom would ask me if I wanted to do something different for summer, and every year I answered with the same thing: Camp TIOH.
Now, as a high-school senior, Camp TIOH is where I still get to spend my summer — but this time as a counselor. Being able to transition from camper, to CIT (counselor in training), to counselor, has been one of the greatest experiences I’ve had, thus far.
My dad has always told me that if I do what I love, then I’ll never have to work a day in my life. Working at Camp TIOH has made me believe in this statement. What counts as a summer job on my transcript never feels like a chore, and that’s because I thoroughly enjoy working at Camp every day. I love seeing our campers and forming bonds with 6, 7, and 8 year olds; I love being a counselor at the camp I used to attend; and I love Camp TIOH.
Izzy Berrent lives in Park La Brea with her parents, and she is at senior at Buckley School.
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This summer will be my third year as a camp counselor, but my seventh year at Camp TIOH. Throughout elementary school, I spent my summers watching/participating in talent shows, playing Ga-ga, making lanyards, and of course, eating the much anticipated melty popsicles at the end of the day.
The counselors filled our days with smiles, laughs, and an undying excitement. Ever since my first year at camp, I have hoped to someday be a counselor and give campers what my counselors gave me. I will always cherish my fond memories of friendship and fun at Camp TIOH.
Now as a counselor, I recognize the value of summer camp even more. I can see Camp TIOH in a broader sense — as a warm, tight-knit, supportive community that fosters growth and education. The campers are genuinely excited to participate in the activities offered and the counselors feel so lucky to be there! There is a reason why we come back to Camp TIOH — campers and counselors alike. It is a truly special place and I wouldn’t trade my experiences for the world.
Ellie Barnes is a high school senior at Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies (LACES).