We have a very special Small Business Spotlight for you. We are pleased to highlight a Deerfield dad of two grown kids and the camp director of Beber Camp, a Jewish overnight camp located in Mukwonago, Wisconsin, Michael Wax!
Michael began his tenure with Beber Camp in 1982 as a camper, turned counselor, turned camp director! And although his kids no longer go with him to camp, there was once a time when they, too, were campers turned counselors at Beber Camp. Read on to learn more about Beber Camp – camper’s choice for favorite meals and activities including Beber’s hobby program, what’s new at the camp this summer, the Beber Rocks program, how this camp is your camper’s “home away from home,” how proud he is of the Beber community. Welcome, Michael!
Hi Michael! Please introduce yourself. Where are you from originally? What city do you live in now? What brought you here?
My name is Michael Wax and I’m the camp director at Beber Camp. I’m originally from Louisville, Kentucky and started attending Beber in 1982 as a camper. I currently live in Deerfield, IL but of course, spend my summers at camp in Mukwonago, Wisconsin.
Tell us about your family. Do they come with you to camp?
I have been married for 22 years to my amazing and supportive wife, Caren. As a camp director, it definitely helps to have a partner that can let you focus on the summer community for 9 weeks. Caren spends a few weekends each summer with me at camp, but works full-time as a marketing professional. I have two incredible sons, Ben (20) and Jack (18) who both spent many summers at Beber as campers and counselors. They are currently studying business in college and spend their summers pursuing their individual career opportunities.
Tell us more about Beber Camp! How long has this camp been around? How long have you worked for this camp? Were you a camper here?
Beber Camp is celebrating 48 summers in 2023. This will be my 33rd summer and over 20 years as a full time camp professional. As I mentioned above, I was fortunate to have my parents send me to camp in 1982, and I haven’t looked back since. I consider myself lucky to still be a part of the community that welcomed and cared for me over 40 years ago.
Describe something you’re most proud of as it relates to Beber Camp and your role as director.
There is so much to be proud of, but the Beber community definitely stands out. It’s not uncommon for campers to say that Beber is their “home away from home.” This sentiment is certainly an indication of why Beber has a very high retention rate. Having spent my career at Beber, I’m also proud of having watched so many campers grow up and give back to our community as great staff members. I’m also incredibly proud of the diverse activities we offer at camp. Finally, I take great pride in how the site has been maintained. Our site has been a camp for nearly 100 years (it was Burr Oaks Camp before Beber), and we’ve made investments to ensure the site is always safe, fun, and welcoming.
Why should Jewish families consider sending their children to a Jewish camp?
Beber Camp embodies the values of community, gratitude, courage, leadership, and Love of Israel. By living these values each summer, campers take pride in their traditions and are more likely to stay connected to their heritage for a lifetime.
What are the most popular activities at this camp?
Beber’s hobby program sets us apart from other camps, and allows each individual camper to customize their day with activities they are excited to participate in. Waterskiing, aqua park, the challenge course, cooking, and sailing are some of the most popular choices. With that said, the diversity of programming at camp is one of Beber’s strengths. This summer, we’re expanding our high ropes challenge course to allow campers to self-belay through 20 new elements. I’m also really proud of our music, theater, and arts programs. Check out some of our camper’s great music content at www.beberrocks.com. With over 320 acres, we also have a farm, organic garden, athletic fields, and so much more. There is something for everyone at Beber!
Campers tend to rate food highly when they go to overnight camp. What are the most popular meals at Beber Camp?
Our food is delicious and nutritious. Campers are served three meals and two snacks a day. Chocolate chip pancakes and apple turnovers are a breakfast favorite. Grilled cheese and Wacky Mac (Beber’s mac and cheese) are popular lunch staples. Campers also rave about the BBQ and Shabbat dinners. It’s also worth noting that campers are treated to canteen twice a week where they can select from a variety of sweet treats.
When first time campers arrive at Beber Camp what can they expect?
The lyrics to a popular Beber camp song, The Beber Boogie begins with the following, “Where can you go, to find a smiling happy place everyday… when you’re at Beber Camp OH YEAH!” Upon arrival at Beber, new campers can expect enthusiastic smiles, new friendships, and a loving and accepting community that will give them the summer of a lifetime and a new “home away from home” for life.
Is there anything else you’d like us to know about Beber Camp?
Beber’s tripping program is a highlight. Our youngest campers spend one night with their friends in tents under the stars on the Beber Camp property. Beginning in middle school, campers choose a two night, three day camping trip with several different trip options including climbing in Devil’s Lake, fishing on Lake Michigan, canoeing the Wisconsin River, backpacking the Glacier trail, and more!
How do our readers learn more about Beber Camp?
*This post is sponsored by Beber Camp.