Complete with two trip days, three birthdays, teary goodbyes, and an exciting Macabbiah breakout the past seven days have been a week for the ages! We’ll start at the beginning, which is, of course, the best place to start. On Tuesday, Gurim woke up to Kerem Karnival! The Counselors in Training, known as Kerem, plan this annual in-camp Achla Yom (cool day). This year Kerem combined fun and creative stations (noodle fencing, bowling, face paint, eating donuts off a string) with wacky inflatable stations (water slides, obstacle courses, wipe out, dunk tank). No Achla Yom would be complete, however, without special and delicious nishnushim (snacks)!!! Thus, in the afternoon, every Gur was overjoyed to chow down on chocolate covered pretzels, and cinnamon-sugar covered churros.
That night the banot and banim split for exciting Peulot Erev. The banot collected on the Migrash Sport (sport field) to play 4-way capture the flag with silly rules that left every chanicha smiling. The banim split by bunk, B9 to do a dodgeball/riddle challenge, and B8 to do a maze, learning adventure called Chinuchi (chee-nu-chee).
Wednesday we returned to our regular schedule. Waking up in the morning we held spirited t’fillot, followed by aruchat boker (breakfast), nikayon (clean-up), two chugim (electives) and a kita (class). After lunch and rest hour, the chanichim met in the Chadar Ochel for a fun chinuchi (khi-nu-khi) in which the morim (teachers) taught the summer theme through a super fun peulah (activity). We all ran around camp in groups following clues to different ingredients. Once we had collected them all, we returned to the Chadar and combined them into cookie dough!!!!!! Later we tasted the sweet reward of hard work as we learned the theme “hazorim bidima birina yiksoru” “those who plant in sorrow, reap in joy”!
While Thursday brought clear skies, it also brought a few teary eyes. Over twenty Kaytana chanichim (two-week campers) said their first farewell to the machaneh and to their many new friends! In the Chadar Ochel (dining hall) that morning, the whole machaneh joined together to sing Shalom Chaverim. While we were sad to see them go, all the madrichim (counselors) are looking forward to seeing them for even more time next summer! As one Kaytana chanich (camper) so perfectly said, “I’m so happy I get to see my parents, but then can I stay another two weeks?”
The next day, we ushered in a very wet shabbos from inside the Ben Zvi. But the water did NOT dampen the ruach! In fact, our energy stayed strong throughout shabbat day! As the weather improved, Chanichim had a chance to hang out with friends, play cards, compete in teatherball, suit up for hockey and dive in for free swim.
Sunday came with spectacles, excitement, and breakout!!! In the afternoon, we had just one peulah, instructional swim, before heading back to the bunks to shower. Afterwards, the whole machaneh joined together in front of the Gottesman Family Community Center – GFCC – known as the Beit Midrash. We did so in order to film and record Yavneh’s first ever Kululam!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We concluded this marathon of a week with another Achla Yom. Our trip day was a Ma-Gu-Pu meaning we hung out with the older aydah, Maalot! First, we hiked up Saddleback (The nearby trek), second we took a bus down the road to a blueberry farm! There, we picked over 60 pounds of blueberries 😮 ! We have since been snacking on blubes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Last night we finished off with erev superhero – in which the chanichim made their counselors into creative heroes. Check out their amazing video creations online tomorrow!
Thus the longest week in history wrapped itself up. As we enter this final week of camp, and send this letter out on the last Tuesday of the summer, I would like to sign off with a mighty mazal tov to all parents! YOU DID IT!!! Who knew you could make it through 4, or 7 weeks without your kids? Did you get kidsick, the opposite of homesick, longing for them to return? While Meital and I wished we could be there to comfort you as well, we are honored to have had the opportunity to take care of your amazing kids for the summer. Thank you for sharing them for a few magical and memorable weeks. May this be one of many many summers at the Machaneh.
Benji v’ Meital v’kol hamad