Happy blog-post-Wednesday l’kulchem (to all)!
Let’s roll the tape back to last week, where we left off. Early in the week we had been preparing for KTV and Rikudiyah, but Wednesday morning we woke up and set out for a Leviim tradition; the Welch Dickey hike. Accompanying us on the hike was experienced “Welch Dickey hiker” Davida Amkraut for her last Yavneh Achla Yom (trip day) hike. We woke up early, packed our bags and lunches and loaded the buses. The hike was challenging but the kids were so positive and when we reached the summit there was an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. After finishing the hike, we made a quick stop on the way back to camp for much deserved ice cream from Johnsons. After our return, we showered ate BBQ dinner and enjoyed a night of KTV. The chanichim (campers) enjoyed performing their songs and watching the Kerem videos, and overall had a very fun night.
Thursday was a shortened afternoon due to the beginning of the nine days, so the girls had their last Powderpuff practice and the whole ayda (age group) had one final Rikudiyah practice before the performance that night. Rikudiyah itself was another night full of fun and a lot of dancing. Each ayda prepared a dance of their own, along with a madrichim (counselors) and roshes (head counselors) dance, and everyone performed it in front of the whole entire machane (camp). It was an ruach-filled (energy-filled) night that got all of the dancing out of our system before the nine days began.
Friday afternoon was jam packed before Shabbat. As you have heard, the banot (girls) have been practicing all week for their Powderpuff game against the Maalot banot, and in the end the game was a competitive and, at the same time, bonding experience for the banot who played. There is never anything wrong with some healthy competition especially when it is encouraging all girls participate no matter how far or close to their comfort zone football may be. In the meantime, while the banot were busy at Powderpuff, the banim (boys) joined the Ma’alot banim for an afternoon of Quidditch/Gladiator/Dodgeball. This is a new tradition that began last year, that while the banot spend time being active and bonding, that the banim do so as well. Both the banim and the banot had a blast together and in getting to know Maalot too.
Later that evening, we welcomed in our second Shabbat of second month, and enjoyed a relaxing weekend with beautiful weather (except for the unpredictable scattered downpours). Shabbat was as usual, filled with singing, laughing, and a little bit of necessary napping. We ended with Havdalah which was done differently than usual. Because we are in the nine days in which we are not supposed to dance while we are in a time of mourning, we had Havdalah outside and the entire machane stood in one big circle as we closed Shabbat together in a more subdued manner than most weeks. With the glow of the candle in the center of us all, it was a beautiful way to end Shabbat and welcome in the new week.
Sunday went back to a regular schedule. The chanichim switched their chugim (electives) in the morning, and starting in the morning was the Basketball Tournament which Yavneh hosts every year. Some of the chanichim got to watch the tournament in the morning, and in the afternoon we all got to watch the semi-finals which unfortunately we lost but still very much enjoyed watching. Also in the afternoon we planned a peulah chinuchi (educational activity) which was a fun trivia game. Sunday night was l’fi tzrif (by bunk) and the counselors planned their last peulah (activity) of the month. They saved up their best ideas for last: the boys planned a casino night while the girls had female empowerment night. Both peulot were a blast, and we ended the night with a conversation with the banim about gender equality which sparked thoughtful discussions in both the boys and the girls bunk.
Monday was a very special day for Leviim, because we got to do another Leviim tradition: Yom (day) High School!!! Because the chanichim are about to begin their first years in high school, each year Leviim prepares for what that may look like by having a day filled with high school themed fun! The activities began after lunch, when the chanichim all went back to their bunks and were given a high school persona. The four groups assigned were the Lax Bros, Thespians, Nerds, and Prepps. Everyone dressed up as their personas and we headed down to our first class of the day, health class! In health we labeled diagrams of the brain, the ear, and the body, we played a game of Kahoot! with questions about general hygiene and health, and finally we learned the bone song from an episode of Hannah Montana which was a classic when we were growing up. After health we had two shorter periods, one period of science and another of drama. In science, we exploded cans of soda using mentos and then we worked together to build a giant erupting volcano. In drama we did some improv where two people would go up at a time, and would be given a location, a word for inspiration, and finally a category of music they would have to periodically sing in. For example: one skit was set in target, the word was shoes, and the music genre was yodeling. Afterwards came our final class period of the day, PE. In PE we had a dodgeball tournament which the nerds won, and after we did some drivers ed with the scooters around the beit am (gym). Now the last and finale event of Yom High School culminated after dinner in an “under the sea” themed prom. Everyone came dressed either in “formal” or in “under the sea” attire, and we enjoyed some snacks and a photo booth, and after some schmoozing we prepared comical skits about what people at camp were probably like when they were in high school. Overall Yom High School was a very fun day, but not entirely an accurate representation of what their experiences will most likely be like.
Tuesday was Achla Yom (trip day), or as we called it this week “yom seasons” as we had a variety of temperature changes throughout the day. First we woke up and dressed warm in long pants tall socks and sweatshirts, but in our bags we packed towels and bathing suits as well. Our day had two parts; first an ice skating rink, and then to the beach. We spent a couple hours ice skating together in our on private rink. For some it was their first time skating, but by the end we were all pro skaters and had worked up an appetite. So we headed to Wallis Sands State Beach, where we are lunch and chilled for another couple hours in and out of the ocean and just enjoying each other’s company. We then arrived back in camp, had our usual Achla Yom BBQ, but then gathered as a camp to begin a new Yavneh tradition…or so we were told. Because of the nine days, we were told that Maccabiah had to be cancelled but instead we would be having a new event called Zimriyacapella which involves each bunk preparing an A Capella performance. So we entered the Ben Tzvi as an entire camp, and the roshes performed an a cappella song they had prepared as an example of what Zimriyacapella would look like. After the performance, out of nowhere the roshes start getting into an argument about this huge change. Some were very upset that Maccabiah had to be cancelled other were very excited about the idea of bringing something like Zimriyah into second month, but once the roshes started fighting the entire camp joined in and everyone was chanting about what they thought was a good idea and what wasn’t. Finally the argument got out of had so we had to shut it down and the roshes did one final song which culminated in… MACCABIAH BREAKOUT!!! it turned out the whole thing was set up to be breakout and there was never going to be Zimriyacapella after all and it was just the breakout plan all along.
Now that Maccabiah has begun, there is a lot more in store for the week to come and we can’t wait for the events to begin. Wish us luck in the games!
Nina and Adina