By Phyllis J. Lubin
The four hours went by quickly. We were extremely excited to see our young man. True, we had been viewing daily smiling pictures, giving us a visual of how his summer was going. But seeing him in the flesh was something we were greatly excited about!
He has been away from home since June 30, and our house has been missing a particular ingredient. Leib doesn’t have his morning shul partner, and the crew at Chabad has been missing our young man’s morning announcements and tzedakah-collecting.
Yussie has returned to Camp Mesorah this year as he has done for the past two summers, but this is his first summer away for the entire season. He is mainstreamed in a typical bunk with a shadow who has been trained and supervised through Yachad.
For Yussie, his summer experiences are not just fun; having the opportunity to mainstream amongst typically developing peers has been extremely educational as well.
Since Yussie’s two weeks participating in the Mesorah experience two summers ago, we knew that this was the camp for him. The Mesorah family welcomed him with open arms, and there is almost no one who doesn’t know Yosef Binyamin Lubin!
The Yachad presence at Mesorah has educated the campers and staff as well. Fortunately, we live in an age when children with special needs are not shunned, but rather accepted in the norms of everyday life.
The moment when we first caught a glimpse of Yussie this past Sunday at Camp Mesorah’s visiting day was priceless! He rushed into our arms and gave us a special Yussie “group hug.” As he gave us a tour of the campus, we felt we were being escorted by a star—everywhere we went, staff and campers gave Yussie a huge greeting.
The hours passed quickly, and the only sour note of the day was when we had to say goodbye. As much as he is having a great time, our parting was a bit melancholy—as the end of any visiting day usually is. But we were confident that Yussie would quickly be refocused on a fun activity.
The very next day, Yussie participated in the Yachad 5K around the Mesorah campus. We were happy to view Yussie, smiling and all decked out in running gear, on the Mesorah website.
Our visit with Yussie was enjoyable and now we are completing the final packing for Lea, who will be leaving for Camp Kaylie on July 23. At press time, my two babies will be away in sleepaway camp. Here’s to a wonderful second half of the summer! ϖ
Phyllis Joy Lubin is an attorney with Maidenbaum & Sternberg, LLP, who resides in Cedarhurst with her husband, Leonard. They have six children—Naftali, Shoshana, Rivka, Rochel, Yosef, and Lea—and a daughter-in-law, Nina. The author welcomes your questions and comments at MothersMusings@gmail.com.