The Joy of Camp

  • Every year we count down the weeks, days and hours until we are reunited together at camp. The result? Pure joy. The butterflies of pulling through the entrance into camp, running, hugging and jumping into the arms of the bunkmate you haven’t seen in ten months, high fiving your counselor as you unload your duffle into the chug. It looks different for everyone but the result remains the same…we couldn’t be happier to be here.

    Every week at camp, we honor a different Jewish value and it is so fitting that joy was the first of summer 2017. We saw it on the faces of our campers as they indulged in their first (or second, or third) grilled cheese on Opening Day, as they proudly watched their counselors introduce themselves on the first night during Staff Skits, and as they found out their new favorite friend was also in their Water skiing elective.

    The first day of programming was incredible and the energy throughout camp made us feel grateful and excited that it was just the first of many amazing days in Hampstead. Animal Care took our new baby bunnies out for a “walk” in the Dell. A group of Tsofot girls got to break in a new camp favorite, 9 Square in the Air. Tie dye has already begun to coat our hands and the pavement around camp. Hammocks hung all around have become a favorite hangout for campers and counselors to share their favorite parts of the day with one another. Campers have hung values posters throughout camp. Our first BBQ was delicious, the berry bar at breakfast was top notch and the Master Chef elective has received rave reviews. Bunk 8 woke up this morning and made pancakes on the beach, with a side of donuts, of course. Olot joined Head Counselor Jill for early morning yoga on the Dance Platform. Mad Science experimented with making 3D bubbles. Bunk 10 practiced howling in Nature class. Funny, amazing, joyful moments are happening in every nook and cranny of this magical place.

    Today, my moments of joy were specific and were plenty. A strong start with Bunk 14 in the Rec Hall learning the CTN Step Dance reinforced teamwork, patience and fun as we stood together and step by step, observed and followed Sherman’s lead. The group listened and repeated meticulously, and the groups focus was amazing. A stop by the Waterfront during second period quickly turned into me sitting on the floor of a very wet canoe with an Olim boy in front of me and one behind (shoutout to my crewmates Walter and Jonah!). We reviewed the steps of holding a paddle and how to work together to steer. There’s something very humbling about being at the mercy of a 7 and 8-year-old when you have your walkie talkie on you in a very unstable canoe.

    A quick downpour sent us back to shore and as sweatpants and rain coats went on, camp quickly shifted into a modified regular schedule. During 3rd period, I found myself with an amazing group of Tsof campers heading out of camp in the 12-passenger van for a quick treat and some curriculum building as we planned for the next periods of their Sampler Platter classes. They were fun, grateful, and simply put, hysterical. Having the opportunity to get to know campers in smaller groups has always been a highlight of my summers. I felt lucky to start it off with this crew!

    And now here I am, our first staff meeting has wrapped up, my nails are still drying after a quick visit to Maryn’s Manicure Store in the Olot chug, and I’m anxiously awaiting the first Shabbat (and my first knish!)  of the summer. Every day I get to walk around, taking in all those little joyful moments and every Friday I eagerly look forward to sharing those with all of you. Thank you for sharing your children, your joy, with us, and thank you for being a part of helping us create the most unforgettable camp experience! Shabbat shalom!

4 responses to “The Joy of Camp”

  1. Alison Strausberg says:

    As always, you captured the essence of camp beautifully. As I read your post, I felt like I was walking beside you all day!

  2. Carol Denbo says:

    Sounds wonderful. Wish I were young again and back in camp!
    Love this newsletter. Keep up the great work

  3. Karen says:

    Made me tear up with a small amount of sadness because I miss being there and a HUGE amount of joy because my children ARE there, experiencing all of this with you. Thank you for sharing your spirit and energy with the Tel Noar family and for allowing the parents at home to reflect with you! Shabbat Shalom!

  4. Bob's Mom says:

    Everyone loves you Becca! Love the blog post. Keep em coming!

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