Wow! Over 300 campers arrived yesterday and camp is at full capacity! The ruach and joy are overflowing!
Yesterday, campers were welcomed at the Mercaz, a covid tradition replacing the Ulam with an open air space. They learned who their counselors and bunkmates are and then went on a tour of camp, finding all the important things like their cabin (tzrif) where their luggage will be waiting for them, the bathroom (Haks), the marp (health center), the indoor and outdoor dining halls (Pavi and Chadar), and the waterfront. Swim tests were taken to determine each camper’s skill and comfort level in the water (and were a welcome break from the heat!). To end the day, we gathered for Opening Bonfire at Ner Howie and shared our hopes for our time at camp.
The first day can be both exciting and nerve-wracking for campers and parents – transitioning from home to camp is a big deal! Here’s how we help campers manage the transition:
- We help them acclimate with clear instructions, even for returning campers, that provides them the camp rules, expectations and processes. This gives campers comfort in knowing what’s going on and provides some processing time for them to learn about and adjust to this environment.
- We play name games to help cabinmates get to know each other in a fun way.
- We introduce key staff that campers will see or may need help from over the session – people like their program directors, the waterfront director, marp (health center) staff, our kitchen director, our Camp Care Team staff and camp director.
- We close the day with a bonfire where we share our hopes and wishes for the session. This gives each camper a positive focus as they head off to bed in their cabin for the first time.
Today, Day 2, is all about getting into the routine of camp. This morning, campers and bunk staff are creating their Cabin Brit (agreement). They discuss and decide what it will take to live together harmoniously for the session and put it down in writing. Some things they commit to are the “toran wheel” (cabin chores) as well as how we respect each other’s space, how do we talk to each other and how do we include each other. The Cabin Brit builds individual camper’s resilience and responsibility and teaches important skills about living in community.
After this morning, we dive right into 3 daily chugim (activities). Campers selected their top chug choices yesterday and today they start. They find the location, meet the specialty staff and begin the learning and exploring! They’ll go to these chugim for a 5-6 day period and then select new activities for the next week.
Throughout the day, campers are getting into the routine of camp life – breakfast, lunch, nosh, dinner, personal nikayon, tzrif time and lights out. This routine provides a base for campers – like the comforts of home, but away from their home. Strong routines reduce cases of homesickness, nerves, or ‘acting out.’ For the next couple days, we’ll be happily stuck in a camp rut together as we all get grounded in our summer home!