Erev Tov, Maalot Parents!
Wow, what a week it has been! Last night, our chanichim (campers) returned, exhausted and sweaty, from their three-day overnight in Acadia, Maine. This Achla Yom (trip day) is one of Yavneh’s most exciting trips, and has chanichim counting down the days until their Maalot summer.
We left camp Monday morning, a bus filled with two hundred burgers, a thousands bags of pretzels, and forty-seven wide-eyed campers. The four and a half hour bus ride passed quickly, as we sang along to songs and watched “Night at the Museum” and “Cheaper by the Dozen.” Everyone was in good spirits as we hopped off the bus at Hadley Point, our campground for the rest of the trip. We set up our tents, played a game or two of spike ball and football, and went off to our first excursion in Maine. While aruchat erev was being prepared, we took a short ride to a mountain-top during sunset. The view was absolutely spectacular, and our kids were shining during golden hour. We ended our first night with a campfire at the beach. The kids sang along as Yonatan Konstanstine strummed his guitar, and we sat with s’mores by the fire.
The next morning we had an early start. After tefillot and a huge breakfast, our chanichim set out for Atlantic Climbing, a rock-climbing site complete with guides and a spectacular view of Bar Harbor. Every single one of our kids climbed their way to the top of the summit, and we were extremely impressed by their determination! Yashar koach (way to go!) Maalot! After three hours of bouldering and rock-climbing in separate groups, we ate lunch all together.
We then headed to Bar Harbor, and had a mid-day glida (ice cream) treat. We split up and explored the town, strolling around the old streets and walking in to all of the shops. The chanichim purchased hats, socks, and shirts all labeled with a sheep and “Baaa Harbor” and everyone was laughing at each other’s purchases. Our last stop of the day was mini-golf, and the kids were shocked that their day could get even better. Eighteen holes later, and we headed back to the campsite for a much-needed shower and barbeque.
Our peulat erev (evening activity) started with their favorite activity: Zimriyah practice. They had been begging us to reveal their Shir Ayda, and finally, after a long day of good behavior and fun activities, we played them “Drops of Jupiter” and forty minutes later they were all belting the chorus. Afterwards, some madrichim (counselors) made a fire while our kids paired off and did a round of boundary-breakers. They had a sheet of paper, an assigned partner, and asked questions like “What is something you hope people remember you by?” Our chanichim really enjoyed getting to know someone different, and it truly unified the ayda (age group) as a whole. The night ended the same way it had before, with a campfire, a sing along, and a late-night snack of hot potatoes. Before we put them to sleep, we gazed at the stars and took advantage of the silence.
Our last day in Maine was spent on a two-hour hike in Acadia. The views were absolutely spectacular, and we didn’t hear even one complaint on the way up the mountain. We had lunch at the summit, belted Yom Huledet Sameach (Happy Birthday) to Beth Betzalel and Tani Smart, and headed back to the bus.
We spent last night scrubbing the smell of bon-fire off of our bodies, and unpacking from the trip. We were all exhausted, and by 9:15, not a single camper was awake.
We can’t wait for Shabbat, more Zimriyah prep, and even more smiles!
Rachel and Aaron