First Impressions from Across the Pond

  • With less than three months to go until camp opens its doors once again for another incredible summer, I think it’s fair to say that pre-camp excitement is at an all-time high.

    With the weeks flying by, I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself as the person who will be keeping you up-to-date on all things Tel Noar this summer. A lover of afternoon tea, fish and chips and Yorkshire puddings, you may have guessed that I’m typing this blog post from across the pond, the U.K. to be precise.

    To properly introduce myself, I’m Francesca, a PR and Social Media Exec from an English city called Leeds, and I couldn’t be happier to be hopping on a plane this summer to join the CTN family. As a Brit, I cannot promise the odd American ‘z’ won’t accidentally be switched to a British ‘s’, but I can make up for that by teaching you fun U.K. sayings when I get the pleasure of meeting you.

    I type this blog post on a train home from Tel Noar’s U.K. councilors workshop, hosted in the city of Manchester (most commonly known in the US for their soccer team). From the training received today, and the knowledge of things to come, I already know that summer 2019 is going to be filled with plenty of smiles, laughter and learning.

    Entering a reception room filled with unfamiliar faces can be daunting, but in true Tel Noar spirit, it wasn’t long until the U.K. team were playing a mass game of rock-paper-scissors, and cheering on our group winner as if we’d been life-long friends.

    In just eight short hours Efraim and Michelle transformed camp newbies into future councilors with enough games and activities to keep us going all summer long. But behind these games, not all was as it seemed.

    After a couple of activities were completed, we came to the realization that we were not simply playing these games for a bit of fun, behind each activity was a lesson and a piece of knowledge to take with us for our summer ahead. Our game of rock-paper-scissors (which we thought we’d been playing correctly our whole lives) had suddenly been altered in the most brilliant way, to promote complete team inclusivity and ensure each player had an important role to play, even when not directly competing.

    Our light-hearted game of ‘build a campfire out of colored paper and fairy lights’ turned into a group singing session around the ‘fire’, with camp veteran Joel serenading us on the guitar. Going from complete strangers to singing buddies in the space of a few hours helped us push out of our comfort zones, promote trust within the group and bonded our newly formed campfire choir. A word of warning – don’t ask us to sing ‘sweet Caroline’, it won’t end well.

    In the space of a day we picked up tips and tricks which will prove invaluable for our time spent by Sunset Lake this summer. Each piece of knowledge gained from our current and future training will allow us to build upon the incredible CTN foundations built by past and present councilors. We’re so looking forward to the challenge of building trust with our campers, helping them make new friends, encouraging them to be courageous and adventurous, allowing them to gain new knowledge and most importantly, create incredible memories to last a lifetime.

    As the day drew to a close we watched and reflected on past camp videos and were tasked with pulling out key elements that we saw. The words ‘adventure’, ‘friendship’, ‘community’ and ‘smiles’ were plastered across our chalk board – just a few things our U.K. team cannot wait to bring to camp this summer. The closing activity included sharing letters from former U.K. councilors giving us a glimpse into how special the CTN community is and what we can expect from the summer. (Look for the letters in a future post!)

    Whilst we finished the day chatting over dinner, debating which Disney film is the greatest, there’s one thing we all agreed on… we’re ready to make Camp Tel Noar 2019 the best yet.

    See you soon campers, your U.K. councilors cannot wait to meet you.

2 responses to “First Impressions from Across the Pond”

  1. Dylan says:

    Hello! My name is Dylan and this year will be my second year at Tel Noar. I am just as excited as you are and I can’t wait to meet you. I had a UK counselor last year Hannah and I was wondering if she had sent you guys a letter. See you soon!

    • Amanda Charson says:

      Dylan you’re the best! Thank you for welcoming Francesca. We are so glad you loved having Hannah as a counselor, I am posting her letter below for you to see. Can’t wait to see you in a few months!

      “To everyone new to the crazy world of Tel Noar this year: There is nothing you can do to prepare for camp. Nothing at all. A year ago when I was sitting where you are I couldn’t imagine falling in love with somewhere in just two months, and yet anyone can confirm that I bawled my eyes out on the last day more than most of the kids. You’re going to be busier and more exhausted than you’ve ever been in your lives. You’ll get to launch rockets, swim across the lake, help run colour war, and never once stop for breath. But most importantly, and my favourite thing about Tel Noar, you’ll be immediately adopted into a community of amazing, exciting, caring people, no matter how much of an outsider you feel before you go. I can’t pretend there aren’t low points, but there’s always someone there to pick you back up again. Enjoy your first summer at Tel Noar, I know you’ll have the time of your lives (even if you can’t picture it yet!)” – Hannah W.

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