Faces of the J

J Camp Runs in the Family

Passing down traditions through generations is something that everyone hopes for. For some, it’s a family recipe or vacation spot – for Linda Morgan, it’s summer camp at the SJCC.

Linda first attended the J’s summer camp as a child in the early ’60s. Years later, when she needed a summer camp for her own children, Melissa and Todd, she knew exactly where they’d go. “There was just no question it was going to be the J,” Linda says.

Summer camp is a formative experience for so many children—and Linda’s kids are no exception. Linda recalls a particular summer of J Camp that sent Melissa off in a totally new trajectory. Though she’d never been a theater kid, at age 10, Melissa attended drama camp at the J, and ended up getting the lead in “Peter Pan.” Linda marveled at her daughter on stage, with a booming singing voice and stage presence no one knew she had.

“It was really transformative for her,” Linda says. Melissa continued to perform throughout middle and high school, and when she went off to law school, she was cast in their annual “Law Revue” production. One of the writers was a third year—someone she never would have crossed paths with if not for this show—and they later got married.

“I’m going to go so far as to say that because of the JCC launching Melissa in a theater direction, she met her husband,” Linda says with a laugh. Melissa and her husband now live on Mercer Island and their two daughters, Ariella and Sasha. The kids, now 16 and 14, followed in their mom and grandma’s footsteps, spending many childhood summers at J Camp.

Linda is glad she’s been able to pass on the joy of summers at the J to her kids and grandkids, and is happy to see that J Camp continues to be an annual tradition for so many families. “There’s really nothing better,” she says. “In an age where kids are pulled in so many different directions, camp brings them together—back to their heritage, their traditions, and their community.”

And, above all, she adds, “It’s a lot fun and the kids have a ball.” What more could you ask for?

You can help start a lifelong J Camp tradition for kids this summer by participating in our Campership Scamper. We’re raising funds for J Camp scholarships to help every kid go to camp and create amazing memories, just like the Morgan family. Join us on Sunday, May 19 for a half-mile inflatable obstacle course for a cause! Don’t want to Scamper? You can still help a camper! Learn how you can help.