By: Rebekah Houpt
This year I was given the incredible opportunity to ‘test-drive’ a brand new URJ Camping initiative and assumed the position as a URJ Service Corps Fellow. The Service Corps was essentially designed to help bring the magic of Camp George to camp congregations across North America. Every URJ camp selected at least one Fellow, and I was honoured to be representing Camp George at Temple Anshe Sholom in Hamilton, Ontario. My job in the community was to run camp-style programs throughout the year and get to know the present and future Camp George campers at the temple.
I had a lot of fun planning and running programs! Some of the highlights included…
Arts and Crafts Day! I’m no Hannah Iwrey (Summer 2013 Head of Arts), but I think our tie-dye and shrinky-dinks turned out pretty well! The kids had a great time and were so excited to wear their t-shirts as soon as they got them back!
Camp George Shabbat! It took a lot of prep work and help from some incredible volunteers, but in the end it was success! The kids did a wonderful job on the bimah, sharing stories about their Camp George experience.
Rock Climbing Day! Our biggest program of the year was a Camp George style Ropes chug at Gravity, Hamilton’s local rock climbing gym. The kids learned the basics in rock climbing and we got to watch them reach new personal bests all day!
Camp George Shul-In! This program was focused on our teenagers, and we used this opportunity to help them get a feel for planning their own camp programs for when they are C.I.T.’s or staff. The teens ran a “Matzah Decorating Challenge” during their Shul-In and had a great time eating their creations!
The Service Corps was a great experience for me, because it gave me the opportunity to help bridge more of a connection between Temple Anshe Sholom and Camp George. Camp became something that was always present and approachable throughout the year, as opposed to something that we just looked forward to in the summer. I have also learned a lot about Camp George behind-the-scenes and it has given me a new outlook on the effort and amazing staff that go into making each summer so incredibly magically for all of the campers. I am sad that my time as a URJ Service Corps Fellow has to come to an end but I am so excited to get to Camp George. I can’t wait to see my Temple Anshe Sholom kids and use all of the programming skills that I have picked up during this awesome year!