The Traditions of Camp
Written by guest bloggers: Emma Avratin, Maya Chelminsky and Naomi Alperin
We always talk about what makes camp so special. The people, the activities, grilled cheese Mondays, the magic of Bunk 8/18 summers, clean-up and Color War. The one word that embodies everything we hold so dearly about camp is the magic of camp tradition. The consistency of the day-to-day but also those all-consuming moments that we anticipate all year long. Camp is a constant in our lives, something you can count on as much as you do that favorite counselor or best bunk buddy.
Friday and Saturday were filled with tradition – those sorts of things you wait for all year long, and for our final Shabbat, instead of dancing in the dining hall we danced in the pool. This was a fun way to cool off from the hot day. On Saturday morning we had services which were led by Bunk 7 and 17. After Kiddush and lunch, we had a very bittersweet song session with our friends who would be leaving the next day. As we helped our first session campers pack up, we were getting excited for banquet. We took pictures all dressed up and made our way to the out of this world Space themed banquet. We ate amazing food, received well-earned awards, and watched a great slideshow concluding the first session.
We woke up bright and early to prepare for Visiting Day. We hugged our First Session friends goodbye and said hello to our families. There were many fun activities around camp to enjoy with our guests. Campers and families swam up at the pool, enjoyed boating on the lake, and jumping on the Aquaglide, while others chose to enjoy a lakeside picnic with their families and friends. Spending time with our families for a day was fun, but we were excited to welcome the new campers and the new session ahead of us. That night we went on a trip to Chunky’s where we enjoyed pizza and ice cream while watching The Secret Life of Pets. It was the perfect end to a very full day! The next day we woke up (early and) excited to see our old and new friends. We had fun dancing and singing while helping our friends unpack.
The first evening activity of every second session, Meet the Staff, is steeped in tradition…and laughter! Counselors did impressions of members of the Senior Staff team. It is a funny way of getting to know the Leadership Team and department heads. The next night was bunk night, where as a bunk you choose an activity to do together. Some bunks had activities such as pool parties, movie nights and bonfires. Bunks 17 and 18 had a powder puff football game where bunks 7 and 8 cheered them on. Another favorite evening activity is Minute to Win it. Two campers from each boy and girl bunk went head to head in challenges. We cheered on our bunkmates hoping we could win. During the activity, the lights turned off, beginning the first Color War fake. There was so much ruach in the camp as everyone was anticipating Color War.
No matter your age, or where you are in your camp career, one of the most special moments of a summer experience is watching a sunrise with your bunk. Bunk 8 had an extra early wake-up, with a camp-wide scavenger hunt that ended with digging at the beach. After a team effort to uncover their hidden treasure, they discovered donuts and were able to enjoy them as they watched a picture perfect sunrise. A few mornings later, the group decided to prank camp by setting up “bunk” in the Dining Hall and sleeping there…they made themselves right at home!
Wednesday afternoon our campers participating in Jewish Arts Festival went to Newbridge with Camps Pembroke and Tevya to perform for the residents. They were absolutely phenomenal and it was helpful for them to get their jitters out before the real performance this Sunday at Camp Pembroke. We know they will make us so proud! JAF is an inter-camp tradition that has been with camp for many, many years and our performers, and the audience, look forward to.
Thursday night was trip night. The Olim/Olot, Tsofim/Tsofot went on an adventure to Funway Park. They had a blast while go-carting, playing laser tag, mini golfing, and eating ice cream. Our oldest kids were shipped off to Portsmouth for a night of shopping and exploring the beautiful New England town.
We had a slow start this morning due to rain, but the lazy morning was much deserved after our late return from the field trip. Camp is abuzz with activity and action, as the clouds have begun to clear, and kids are out and about! Check out this group of guys practicing their “mensch-iness” by collecting flowers to make bouquets and handing them out around camp! With Shabbat tonight, we are excited for our first Friday night together. Our weekly song and dance sessions pair perfectly with our traditional Shabbos meal…and we are hungry!
Emma, Maya, & Naomi