Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Day in the Life at Camp

It will inevitably happen that, at breakfast, your assistant unit head will approach you and say, "O wise faculty person, we are in a jam, can you help us?"

Okay, without the first part, because all camp staff know that faculty are basically a pain.

Galil was understaffed this morning, preventing the usual programming for "Galil Time" (where the kids sign up to go with each counselor for their specialization) so the wonderful AUH (Mollie) asked me to come up with something fun. I explained to her that I was NOT fun, but after brainstorming with two other faculty members (Regina Hayut, a classmate cantor in New Jersey, and Stephanie Schwartz, the educator at Mainline Reform) we came up with doing a series of trust exercises, in anticipation of tomorrow night's trust-game based unit t'fillah. It went very nicely, but what else would you expect from a program that involves Aryeh bobbleheads and blindfolds? (No Aryeh bobbleheads were harmed in the performance of this activity).

I'm endlessly impressed by the staff--poised FAR beyond their years, very capable and highly responsible (and responsive), they clearly have a passion for their kids and this camp, as well as making Judaism come alive. Probably not any different than any other camp, but it's wonderful to see these kids--many of whom I've watched come back summer after summer as children, tweens and teens--step up as 'adults' and role models. What's especially amazing is how many of these folks will NOT become Jewish professionals, but will carry that passion for Judaism and engagement with them into synagogue life (well, we hope).

Shiur round one went AMAZINGLY. I hope round two goes even half as well tomorrow and Friday. Then it'll be time to get ready for Shabbat and pack it up for home.


  1. Summer camps these days are all so serious - can't waste precious time doing 'nothing', must use it to learn 'something'. I went to a Jewish (Zionist) summer camp for four years ('48-52) and what I remember was a chance to unwind and replenish after a very demanding school year at Boston Latin School. Just a summer of softball, tennis, swimming,.... Serious summers began when I was 16 (1953), the minimum working age, and I spent subsequent summers in the serious activity of earning money.

  2. Believe me, these kids get plenty of time to do 'nothing', especially on Shabbat, and especially in senior camp (the expression this year was "K'farting around" for the K'far Noar kids...)