Hey Camp George!
It’s been a fun filled first few days at CG! We’ve had great weather, successful swim tests, and lots of fun at our newest activity area – Frisbee Golf! There’s also a new and exciting program unique to our youngest unit in camp – Nitzotzot (Sparks) that I want to share with you!
It is called “Camp George 101”, and it’s designed to teach our youngest campers the ins and outs of camp, from teaching them the words to Birkat Hamazon (blessing after the meal), to orienting them to the layout and Hebrew vocabulary of camp! So I sat down with Michael Weiss – one of our Jewish Living Specialists, who is overseeing the program to get the insider’s scoop! You can read all about this new program below, and also find out more about Michael!
- Thrilled that camp is finally here!
A little bit about Michael…
“Hi! I’m Michael! This is my third summer at camp! My first two summers I worked as a counselor, and this year I’m thrilled to be returning as Jewish Living Specialist! Outside of camp, I attend McGill University where I major in Jewish Studies.”
Where did the idea for Camp George 101 come from?
“The idea for the program came from an experience last summer, when two of our wonderful faculty members, David Gershon and Rabbi Rob Morais, led a spontaneous and fun program about prayer for a Nitzotzot cabin. Thrilled with how the session went, they came back to our Dean of Jewish Living – Rabbi Noam Katz and suggested that we create a special program just for the Nitzotzot unit.
While in past years, Nitzotzot has combined with Lehavot for their educational program, we recognized that Nitzotzot campers, many of whom have never been to camp before, deserved their own age specific program. Camp George 101 will help them become accustomed to the rituals and culture of camp, so that they’ll be more comfortable and hopefully have long and meaningful Camp George careers.”
Can you give us a sneak peak of what the program will look like?
“For the first session of Camp George 101 – we focused on setting goals for the summer, and also learning about the different locations in camp (each station was in a different location around camp). Some of the activities included;“Recipe For A Fun Summer”, where they shared their ideas of what a fun summer at camp would look like, “making new friends”, as well as an activity where each cabin got a cut out of a flutter board- and the campers set waterfront based goals like “pass my swim test.
At the end we all came together, and learned about the summer theme – Ayeka? Hineini (Where are you? Here I am) and campers decorated small people shaped paper cutouts – which they designed as themselves, that they then placed on a spot on the Camp George map, in a location where they wanted to create fun summer memories (for example, the ropes course, sail, A+C etc). Thanks to this first session, campers now have learned more about: the theme of Ayeka? Hineini, the layout of camp, and they have set goals to fulfill!”
What is your favorite part of working with this age group?
“I’ve worked with Nitzotzot for the last two summers -they have a lot of energy, and they’re always willing to try new things. I also have seen how much we can learn from campers at this age. Two summers ago for example, I was walking with a camper towards the Chadar Ochel (Dining Hall), and we saw a bunch of sunbeams coming through the clouds and he commented “look God is right there”, and I was verklempt (choked up). It was an incredible moment, they see things that we pass by most days, an opportunity to see the world the way they see it.”
What are your goals for the program – Camp George 101?
“I am hoping create a generation of campers who love singing Jewish songs and prayers, campers who are engaged in trying to find spiritual moments in prayer, campers who understand the value of helping people less fortunate then themselves and campers who perform acts of love and kindness when they see opportunities to do so.”
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