Written by David Kaplan
Waterfront Department Head
Fox Mann Island is not large but a small activity group or cabin can use it as a unique programming space. With networked trails weaving through the trees, a picnic table and campfire ring in a central clearing, and berry bushes galore, the Island is a great place for campers to connect to Teva (nature). In the past, individual cabins have enjoyed lunch and T’Filah on the Island. This year, some cabins even camped out on the Island, using the isolation from the rest of camp to bond with their friends.
During Island Adventures chug last week, 14 Nesharim campers went to the Island for the first time. While some of them canoed around the island during previous summers, stepping foot on the dock was breathtakingly exciting.
The first two days of the chug, Lifeguards Miriam and Daniel wanted the campers to explore the Island. Hide and seek variants such as Eagle-Eye and Predator versus Prey were fun games for the campers that enabled them to grow comfortable being in a natural environment. The chug strapped life jackets on, rowed over to the Island, and then played for half an hour before returning to the mainland.
On the third day, Daniel led the campers in a nature meditation. Each person found their own spot in the brush, away from the distractions of everything but mosquitos, and thought about three questions:
- What am I sensing now that I do not get to see or hear away from camp? When I close my eyes, what can I hear especially well? When I cover my ears, what do I see clearly?
- Does being alone in nature make me feel reflective? Does being alone in nature make me feel at peace?
- How do I feel connected to God when I am in nature? Does nature make me feel spiritual?
On the last day, the campers tried their hand at mapping the Island. Given blank pieces of paper and pens, the campers walked around and drew their best interpretations of where the different trails led.
When I was a camper, one of the best parts of camp was just getting to explore. For me, playing around on an Island would have been the coolest activity I got to do all summer. The lucky campers here get to do exactly that.