June 24, 2018

A Glimpse Into Week 1.

By Brooks Weaver

We spent all of staff training talking about “transferring the feeling.”  That indescribable feeling we get at camp.   As we wrap up our first week, I can tell you the feeling in this camp right now is exciting.  Excitement over our new activities.  Excitement over all the activities campers got to choose this past week.  Excitement over starting new chugims tomorrow.  Excitement over reconnecting with our old friends and making new ones.

I just want to give you a glimpse into some of the awesomeness that took place in our activity areas this past week.  Outdoor Survival Skills Chugim learned how to build a fire.  The Arts Chugim made objects out of recycled materials and plaster and started painting the first of many murals we hope to create at camp over the next 2 summers.  Israeli Cooking Chugim made all kinds of good stuff: Shakshouka, chocolate balls, and bourekas!  Rehearsals are underway for this year’s musical, Alice in Wonderland.  Over 20 campers are in the show and are working hard to be ready for their big performance at the end of the session.  Campers who signed up for Ropes Challenge Chugim were in heaven! They got to do a different element every day this week.  It’s only the end of week 1, and those kids have already done the Zip Line, Giant’s Ladder, Climbing Wall, Flying Squirrel and the Vertical Playground!

A camper in the Fishing Chugim caught a 4 pound catfish! It’s the biggest fish we’ve ever seen to come out the Cheat Lake.  Camp band spent the week practicing the drums and bongos and performed at Shabbat concert last night.  The Fitness Chugim got into the gym and did strength training using weights, equipment in our gym and worked on endurance with sprints and Spartan training.  Before the SIT’s left for Israel, 10 of them began their American Red Cross lifeguarding certification course.  By the end of the summer, these 10 SIT’s will be lifeguard certified and will be ready to work at camp as pool or lake staff in 2019.  I could go on and on…

One thing I love most about camp is we truly have something for everyone.  This week we offered a Board Games Chugim where 12 campers spent the week learning to play mahjong.   We have a few counselors whose grandparents and parents taught them to play, and now here they are teaching their campers to play. You might be thinking, “mahjong!?”  Sounds like something played more amongst senior adults rather than at summer camp.  But think about the multi-generational connection this game allows for.  These 12 campers will now leave camp knowing how to play a game most kids won’t learn until well into adult hood.   They will go home and have an easy way to connect to older generations of their family members and community members.  What a way to keep connection and tradition alive through l’dor va’dor,  generation to generation.

Our Jewish value this past week was savlanut, patience.   On Friday night at services, Sam Bloom gave the “Middot Minute” where he summarized the importance of having patience at camp.  Patience in activities when you are waiting to take your turn.  Patience when you don’t get your second choice Chugim and have to wait until week 2 to get your first choice.   We spent the week talking about what it means to live as a community, sharing living space, sharing a table in the dining hall, and how much patience that sometimes takes.  We learned about how having patience makes us better people.  And how camp is the best place to learn and practice this important Jewish value.

As we continue to learn new skills at camp, whether it’s how to fish, how to cook, how to play soccer, how to swim, how to live with others, or how to have patience, we can’t wait for the next 3 weeks and all camp still has to teach us.

Shavua Tov,

Brooks Weaver, EKC Program Director