Through the Lens of Camp

  • A picture says a thousand words, and when you haven’t seen your child in person for a couple of weeks, I can imagine that the perfect shot of your camper can say a few thousand more. Each day, I spend at least one or two periods jumping from activity to activity, checking in with campers, spending time with staff and of course, taking pictures to capture each day we spend here. I wear many hats here at Tel Noar, and while photography is admittedly not one of my strengths, having the opportunity to help illustrate the magic of each day, and seeing each activity, event and moment through a different lens, is one of the things I am most grateful for.

    Taking a good photo is all about the subject and the setting. When camp is our foundation, even the day-to-day gets infused with a little bit of magic.  Saturday’s are special because the normal routine of our six period days are elevated through our Oneg programming and complimented by the more relaxed pace. Last Saturday was a chance to take a breath, take it in and take on a new activity as a bunk. Our older kids had a special leadership program with a guest educator. Bunks did community bracelet making, while others wrote Shabbat-o-grams to one another and participated in a camp-wide art project.  We concluded with Havdallah and jumped right into Minute to Win It, a favorite among all ages, as campers compete in various rounds doing a variety of tasks. The excitement was palpable and our youngest campers rushed the floor after almost every competition to dish out high fives and congratulate the winners.

    Perspective is everything. A shift in perspective results in a renewed appreciation for even the most simple parts of our day. This week I got the chance to roll my sleeves up and join Bunk 9 during clean up. It gave me new insight into the process of camp and showed me how far these campers, many that were new to camp this summer, had come in just two short weeks. I quickly found myself being bossed around by a very spirited, but very grateful, group of eight and nine year-olds, as I confirmed my theory that girls are messy and boys are dirty. I made beds, helped organize under beds, combed hair, applied bug spray, all in just 45 minutes and I headed back to the office for 1st period with an appreciation for our campers’ enthusiasm for even the most mundane tasks and for our counselors’ extraordinary patience.

    Focus on the important stuff. The activities are fun, evening activities are engaging and we love the excitement of a special event, but the most important thing, the part of camp that we rely so incredibly heavily on, are the strength of our relationships. With Bunks 8 & 18 on their way to go Whitewater rafting in Maine and 7 & 17 arriving for their overnight in North Conway, NH, we were excited to have the chance to refocus our attention and provide a teambuilding opportunity for our oldest Tsofs.  Bunk 5 and 14 headed to Project Adventure for a day of high ropes and adventure. Bunkmates supported one another, literally and figuratively, belaying and spotting one another as they conquered fears, let go of worries and work together. The counselors reported a notable transition among the dynamic in the group from the beginning of the day to their final game together.

    What you see is not always what you get.  If you can’t find me in the office, and if I’m not taking photos around camp, it’s very likely you’ll find me at the Waterfront. For me it’s a hub of the camp action and one of my most favorite places at Tel Noar to take out a kayak or just take it all in. I spend lots of time on the beach or in a boat and on Tuesday, as I waited for one period to end and the next to begin I was excited to see Joel, the head of our Pool, returning from a long swim with a group of about 8 Tsofot campers.  I always love when staff take the opportunity to do something out of the ordinary for their campers in the bunk, and in programming, and it was obvious the girls were loving the change of pace. Each camper on a foam noodle, and Joel leading the way (sans flotation device), the girls cheered as they approached the shore. I joined in from the dock as they got closer. Once Joel reached a depth that he could stand in, he gathered his balance, stood up, hands on his knees from exhaustion, and as he caught his breath, I realized that around his waist was a rope and lifeguard tube that the girls were holding on to so he could haul them around the lake.  I was impressed by his physical fitness but I was even more impressed by his ability to turn a regular swim lesson into an extraordinary moment.

    Snapshots are all a part of the big picture. Bunk 3A watched Wonder on the big screen in their bunk and chatted about inclusion on Tuesday. Bunk 12 remained focused and engaged in a special drumming program on Wednesday. Siagel Productions gave our Oles and Tsofs one of the most memorable nights of the session with an incredible pool part last night. Jeremy and Gabe became friendship bracelet making machines after I showed them a new stitch during Sampler Platter. Our Bunk 7 & 17 counselors beamed when they got to share the rave reviews of our campers by the staff at Attitash during their overnight trip. The Olot chug became the scene of the most intense hair detangling effort I have ever witnessed (we’re tangle free now!). Our Talent Show was filled with funny, talented, supportive campers and bunk mates. The Master Chef elective gets more gourmet by the day and our bunny and baby ducks are being cared for by our campers. S’mores are being eaten. Cheers are being sung and fun is being had. Each smile is captured and we love being able to share that with all of you.

    Zooming in on the smile of a camper gives me the reminder to zoom out on why we are all here. Sleepless nights, early wake ups and every moment, and hug, and hand we get to hold in between, helps us keep everything in perspective as we capture the perfect shot and the perfect summer on Sunset Lake.


One response to “Through the Lens of Camp”

  1. Dena says:

    Another amazing recap. Thanks Becca!!! xoxo

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