This past summer, as a part of my role as a CIT (Counselors-in-Training) Leader,  I had the pleasure of taking part in a Skype call with Joan Beber, along with the CITs. In my 10 summers at camp, I had grown up hearing about Sam and Jane Beber, but never Joan (who is the daughter of Sam and twin sister of Jane). We were all surprised to learn that the woman behind the Jane Beber award, has a living twin sister. While she did speak about her sister, Jane, and father, Sam Beber, and his founding role in Beber’s history, the focus of the call was on Joan’s story. 

During the call, Joan described captivating adventures, such as meeting Pablo Picasso on a trip to France. Every story she told came with a valuable life lesson that was relatable to everyone listening. She described how she changed her career path when she took an interest in theatre and playwriting. She emphasized the importance of knowing how to tell your own story and being vulnerable while doing so. This message resonated with many of the CITs who are currently going through the college application process and are learning how to tell their stories. 

As a CIT leader, I was especially grateful to take part in such a meaningful experience and to watch the impact it had on all of the CITs. After hearing Joan speak, the CITs were excited to learn more about both the history of Beber, as well as Joan Beber. We all walked away feeling committed to telling Joan’s story and learning how to be vulnerable when telling our own.

Hannah Spevak has been a camper and staff member at Beber for 10 years. Originally from Highland Park, Hannah is currently a student at the University of Illinois.