“At Sci-Tech You Build a Family.” An Interview with Jules, a Pioneer Camper

I had the opportunity to chat with Jules, one of our pioneer campers about her experience last summer, the importance of women in STEM, Judaism at camp, and what she is looking forward to for this coming summer. Jules will be returning for a second summer at 6 Points Sci-Tech and be one of our oldest campers, doing the Forensics workshop. Jules was a recipient of the Women of Reform Judaism scholarship for girls to attend 6 Points Sci-Tech. Scholarships are also available for the summer of 2015 and more info is available on our website.

GREG: How did you originally find out about Sci-Tech before last summer?

JULES: I always loved science, and Sci-Tech was for my age group. You don’t normally find science camps for my age group. We were looking at lots of different camps and URJ camps and I thought 6 Points Sci-Tech looked really interesting and really cool.

GREG:  Can you share with us one great memory from last summer?

Jules Portnoy

Jules (Center) and her fellow campers discover geology together.

JULES: My memory is from the very first day. Walking in, most of the girls had already arrived, so I was pretty nervous. As soon as I got into the hall everyone introduced themselves and everyone was really nice. The counselors were nice and curious to learn about you. Even when I was missing home it was a really comfortable and friendly environment.

GREG:  Last year your workshop was Environmental Science. What did you learn?

JULES: A LOT! We didn’t just learn about one thing, we learn about all different aspects of the environment. We learned about how global warming affects us directly, and the scientific facts behind it. Looking at the science, it is very possible that one day New York could be under water and we need to do something about it. You don’t just learn facts, you learn and have the ability to do something about it. We also went to an organic farm and saw how they compost and even got to play with chickens and pigs.

GREG:  What is unique and special about being a girl at Sci-Tech?

JULES: There aren’t a lot of women in science, and getting people into it is really important. There might be people who attend camp who make important discoveries one day. That would be great. At Sci-Tech, you build a family with the other girls and everyone had the same interests. It’s a really unique experience and you make friends. It’s such a nice environment to be in.

GREG:  What did you think about combining Judaism and Science into one camp?

JULES: You never would think that these things go together. They do! I was nervous about the Jewish stuff and what it would be like, but this was an amazing part of camp. You definitely learn things about Judaism and you get to learn new things about the prayers. We had counselors who were Israeli and when you have people from Israel, you get a different perspective. We got to learn about what it’s like to be a Jew in Israel, and see it from their perspective.

GREG:  What are your favorite camp songs?

JULES: What Kind of Cat Are You? and The Jellyfish Song

GREG:  What was your favorite food at camp?

JULES: Tetris tater tots at breakfast. We used to run to get them. (yes the tater tots are shaped like Tetris pieces).

GREG:  What are you looking forward to this summer?

JULES: I am excited to see people from last summer. I keep in touch with a bunch of other campers. My brother is also coming this summer and being able to share that with him is really exciting. I am also really excited about my workshop, Forensics. During the session, you sat down with a group of us and asked us about ideas for next summer and one of the workshops I suggested was Forensics, and I was so excited that my idea got chosen as the new workshop!

GREG:  What is one piece of advice you’d have for a brand new camper?

JULES: Don’t be shy. Get out there and make friends. If it’s your first time going, just go for it and meet people. Even if you are a returning camper, each summer is a brand new experience with new people. Also it’s really important for campers who need help with anything at all to reach out to a counselor. The counselors are really supportive and awesome and if you are missing home you can just tell a counselor and they will be there for you.






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