Happy Monday! At camp, it’s easy to lose touch with what’s happening in the “real” world – political debates, Monday morning traffic, baseball standings – it all fades away out here in the woods. Not that we don’t follow a strict weekly schedule, the routine that helps campers adjust to camp and move past homesickness is the same one that replaces the real world…Thursdays mornings we have Prayer Challenge, Thursday pm we cookout, Fridays we caravan, Saturdays we eat cinnamon rolls, Sundays we start new chugs, Wednesdays we teva… or not.
Optional Teva… This is a new concept at camp. For several years, we’ve been building up our staff and camper’s skills and love of actual camping (tevas). This took a big investment in equipment and training and a commitment to getting our suburban campers comfortable sleeping under the stars. We’ve come a long way in the last three summers! So it came as a surprise when Tevas became optional – doesn’t seem to match up, right?
Here’s the scoop – two things: 1. Tevas are more fun when they are smaller. Moving 60 kids and 15 staff into the woods for the night is a military operation, not a fun outing. 2. Tevas are more fun when you and the people around you are excited to be there! So campers can now opt in to a night in the woods.
Our goal is for those who opt in for a Teva to love the adventure and return to camp pumped about camping! We know that when campers navigate with compasses, set up tents, build their own fires, and cook their own food, they come back to camp proud of their ability to fend for themselves, full of great stories and adventures to share with their cabinmates.
Last Wednesday, 20 of our 60 Tzofim campers opted to teva! On the hike to “Strawberry Fields,” our teva site, the campers were divided into 4 smaller groups and armed with photo cards. The cards included pictures of plants, birds, animals, bugs, and one with S.S.S. (something super special). When one of these items was identified, they marked off the card. To succeed, the group needed to quietly stalk through the woods, observe and communicate with each other on the way. The goal is to arrive at the site with every card marked.
When they arrived at Strawberry Fields, they were greeted by our Tripper dressed as Moses holding the tablets containing the 10 commandments (aka the rules for staying overnight at a campsite!) Our Teva staff planned a full night of activities and adventures and carefully followed the weather to get everyone packed up and back to camp before the dew became heavy (read “rain came”).
It’s fun and exciting to see this plan that we put in place 3 years ago develop fully. Who says Jews don’t camp??