In honor of her 40th birthday, a party was held for Morristown CGI director Mrs. Chana Devorah Solomon, attended by over 45 staff members who came from many states to surprise her.
The Rebbe teaches us that the power of an individual is limitless. We each have tremendous potential that, if tapped, allows one to reach amazing heights. While we are not always given the opportunity to see the fruits of our labor, one Shlucha was recently shown the results of her hard work.
In honor of her 40th birthday, a party was held for beloved camp director Mrs. Chana Devorah Solomon (known as CD), attended by over 45 staff members who came from many states to share the surprise with her.
Chana Devora, along with her husband Rabbi Mendy Solomon, is Co-Director of Gan Israel Day Camps of Morristown, NJ, one of the largest CGI day camps in the world. In recent years, the camp has grown astronomically, reaching record enrollment of 515 campers at its peak. Countless precious Neshomas have been enriched by their summer at CGI.
20 past staff members from around the world joined in as well via Skype, from locations including Israel , Argentina, London, South Africa, Canada and Australia and many states within the USA.
During the party, a memento book of appreciation letters, photos and personal stories, prepared by former staff members from the past 20 years, was presented to Chana Devorah as a surprise gift.
Duby Litvin, a former staff member wrote:
While it’s obvious that Gan Izzy Motown was a great success, what CD never realized was the impact she had on her staff. Year after year, dozens of Lubavitch teens and young adults walked through her camp doors, preparing for the summer of a lifetime. They developed relationships that extended far beyond the long hours of the camp day.
The Solomons’ doors were (and still are) open at all hours of the day and night, and anything they needed or wanted, CD would provide. Often CD could (and still can) be found staying up late, chatting with her staff members. Chana Devora goes beyond caring for each and every counselor’s well-being; she creates a personal connection, listening and giving counsel wherever she can. No matter how much work is already on her plate, she is always there for those in need. Many of these connections have become beautiful friendships that have lasted throughout the years. In her own words: “My staff has been and will always be my number one priority. Plus, if my staff is happy, then the campers will be happy.” This has been her mantra from day one, and it has certainly paid off.
B”H, many of the over 1500 Lubavitcher teens who served as staff members are now Shluchim and Shluchos themselves. They fully admit that CD’s selfless devotion and guidance to them during camp and what they have learned from their summer(s) with the Solomons has inspired them to live their lives differently.
One Shlucha in California writes in her letter in CD’s birthday book: “The first time I ran camp, the first question I asked myself was “What would CD Do?””
Another Shliach in Florida writes that over ten years later, he has
implemented many concepts and ideals that he learned from working with Chana Devora into the running of his own CGI.
A Shlucha in North Carolina sumed it up best when she wrote that in her own Camp Gan Israel, she as the director feels CD’s presence every single day. She attributes all of her success from the experiences and instruction she gained from her.
These are just a few sentiments from the letters that were collected for Chana Devora’s book, expressing their love and thanks for her dedication to them.
There is no doubt that an entire generation of Lubavitch youth has been positively affected by the personal devotion, attention and care given by this one very special person. In just 20 years, Chana Devora Solomon has been a shining example of what one person with a dream can accomplish. She continues to serve as an inspiration to us all of the power of a Shlucha and her Meshalaiach.
Many camp directors today follow her lead on how to cater to and care for one’s staff. This surefire path to success will certainly enhance every program, and build everlasting friendships.
May she and her family be blessed to continue their Shlichus in Short Hills, NJ and at Gan Israel for many years to come!
To send a personal birthday message to Chana Devora or to view the book online, send an email to CDisCGI@gmail.com