Dear Herzl Camp Parents and Families,
It’s been an incredible week here in Webster to say the least. We’ve had some unforgettable moments over the last few days – the spirit of ruach that has filled our campgrounds since our third session campers arrived on Tuesday.
Each Friday, we will be sending an email to all parents who have campers in residence at camp — to share some of the highlights of the week. In addition to the photos that we post on Campanion/CampMinder, we hope these weekly emails provide additional snapshots into the camp happenings — the how and the why of what we like to call the “Herzl Magic.”
Returning to camp after many years has been an exhilarating experience for me. As I drove into camp on May 30th to kick off this summer, I’ll admit I had some serious butterflies and a mix of both excitement and nervousness, not knowing what to expect in the slightest. But what I’ve witnessed so far this summer has filled me with joy and pride for our incredible community. Here’s what some of those moments have looked like:
One of the highlights has been the Ha’atid and B’yachad campers’ participation in the “buddy program”. Watching our youngest and oldest campers connect and bond has been heartwarming. And what’s even more special is knowing that many of our B’yachad campers will eventually become Ozrim/staff for the Ha’atid campers in the years to come, creating a wonderful cycle of friendship and mentorship within the Herzl camper community.
Our Amudim campers and staff have done the (almost) impossible by creating an awesome cheer that brings the entire camp together. No matter what program they’re in, the entire camp joins in, pausing their activities and conversations to chant in unison. It’s one of the coolest cheers that Herzl Camp has ever seen!
Habonim campers have been enjoying every moment at camp, laughing and smiling, and quite possibly have the largest number of hammocks in their Kfar (village). And our Kadimah campers returned from their canoe trip this week with stories of resilience and determination, facing heavy rain within the first 20 minutes of paddling and wanting to quit, but persevering through it all. It’s these special moments and so many more that there isn’t enough space on your hard drive!
Speaking of special moments, I’d like to share one from the other day.
When some weather came our way earlier in the week, we spent time in the Chadar (dining hall) basement to let the storm pass. When the power went out, the kitchen staff quickly sprang into action and organized a makeshift food assembly line. With the hanhallah, staff, and Ozrim’s help passing out food and entertaining the campers, we were ready to take on the darkness. But, just as we were about to start dinner by candlelight (flashlight), the power returned.
What happened next was truly magical and one of my favorite moments from the summer so far. The entire camp gathered in the Chadar, and the energy was electrifying. A few counselors suggested playing some songs, and what ensued was a heartwarming scene of campers and staff of all ages dancing and singing along to familiar tunes together. Song after song, the ruach and pure bliss just did not stop. And when the program cheers started, first one after the other – Kadimah, then B’yachad, then Ha’atid, then Habonim, then Amudim – and then all at once with everyone cheering for their individual program at the same time, the ruach was so powerful that it literally made the floor shake. I turned to the person next to me and said, “this will be a core memory for everyone that they will never forget.” It was truly an “only at camp” experience, a simple moment that came about from an unexpected afternoon. It was a moment that can truly only happen at Herzl.
As we prepare for the first Shabbat of Third Session, which is planned and presented by Kadimah, I continue to be grateful for our campers, staff and community that produce beautiful moments. Thank you for entrusting your children to us at Herzl Camp; I can assure you (especially after this week!) that we are dedicated to creating an enriching and unforgettable experience for each and every camper.
Wishing you all a Shabbat Shalom and looking forward to another fantastic week at camp!
Director of Camp Life & Culture