Shabbat Shalom, Maalot Parents!
For those of you who didn’t meet us this past Tuesday, we are Aaron Butler and Rachel Wechsler, and we are the Maalot Roshei Aydah (unit heads) for this summer. If you couldn’t tell from our introductory video, or our permanent smiles from Opening Day, we are beyond thrilled to be spending our third summer with your children.
The fun began Tuesday night, at our first Peulat Erev (night activity) of the summer. We headed to the Ben Tzvi (theatre) and split Maalot into five groups. Each group was handed a “passport” and given a simple task: make it to Maalot. Each group went to various stations, and were tasked with emulating certain characteristic of Gurim, Gefen, Kfirim etc. They particularly enjoyed the Leviim station– a jump rope game that was linked with logic and clues. At the end of the night, each group had made it successfully through the different aydot at camp, and made it all the way to Maalot. We ended with a special handshake and cheer, to get the kids excited about this kayitz (summer).
Wednesday brought the first day of chug (elective), the first day of kitah (class), and our very first Maalot Peulah. This is a time that all of Maalot comes together to prepare for Mini-Mac, Yom Yisrael (Israel Day) and learn important leadership techniques. We spent the first peulah together discussing what it means to be in Maalot, and talking about the legacy they want to leave at Yavneh. They gave us unbelievable responses, and left us speechless.
After lunch and a relaxing Sha’at Menucha (hour of rest) the kids hopped into the Agam (waterfront) for the first time this kayitz. A few of our campers are learning lifeguard training with Estelle, the Rosh Agam (waterfront head) and they were absolutely exhausted after completing their introductory twelve laps. To cool down, that was followed by an hour of board games and card games, and a particularly tense round of bananagrams. Nish nush (snack) immediately picked up the mood– ice cream sandwiches make everyone happy– and we all munched together. Before showertime and dinner, the banot (girls) made bracelets with hebrew letters that said their hebrew names, or that said Yavneh and Maalot 19 while the boys played a sweaty game of basketball. We ended the night separately– the girls all dressed in tourist clothes and took a trip to the Bilhamas (BILhamas). Meanwhile, the boys were busy solving climate change through advertisements and commercials, and different contraptions. We were amazed by their creativity!
On Thursday, everyone was excited as we had our very first MaGuPu (Maalot-Gurim-Peulah). These peulot are always a success, because it gives each Maalot camper a chance to connect with an individual Gur. During Maalot Peulah we watched a TedTalk about relationships and discussed what it means to be a role model. This early-morning discussion clearly paid off because at the end of the MaGuPu the Gurim campers were attached to our Maalot campers. We cheered “MaGuPu!”, ate some snacks together, and traded interesting facts. Bochee ball was next, along with frisbee and basketball, and another game of football. We ended the day with a Chinuchi (educational activity) learning about the theme of the summer, HaKarat HaTov (recognizing the good). We definitely recognized how lucky we are to have these good kids, and are so happy with how this first week has gone. We can’t wait to spend Shabbat all together again!
Rachel and Aaron