Hi, Louis and Sarah here!
We are two of the thirteen 2014 Machon (or CIT) unit. Today we are shadowing Rachael Baer, the Communications and Development Associate here at URJ Camp Kalsman. We are taking this opportunity to share with you the life, adventures, and goals of our awesome program.
The general goal of the Machon unit is to transition from the role of camper to staff member. To do so, we go through a morning of training similar to those given to staff members at the beginning of the summer including topics such as leadership styles, child developmental stages, and effective communication. In the afternoon, we live the life of a camper, having a counselor or staff-member run activities, pool hour, tefilah, dinner, and an evening program. Going into second session we are being sorted into various units to further immerse ourselves in staff life. We will be mentored by counselors, partake in unit activities, sleep in cabins with campers and staff, and learn all the ins and outs of counselor life, as well as assistance in running of activities and chugim programs.
The New Machon:
We have a new Machon adviser, Kadi House (she’s super awesome). Kadi has taken it in her hands to shape the Machon program into a model for the future through the aforementioned goals as well as new traditions and unique leadership opportunities such as leading Shabbat services, being ruach (spirit) leaders at Maccabiah, and having a theme for ourselves that exemplifies leadership and fun.
Na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na MACHON! (sung to the tune of the batman theme song).
The CITs this year adopted a superhero theme! Why superheroes, you may ask? While gamma-radiated-superheroes are works of fiction, we decided to smash our way into example because of the characteristics that superheroes hold that are true to all inspiring leaders. Example, strength of mentality, leadership, legacy, maturity, communication, responsibility, and all-around awesomeness!
Why we are CITs:
Personally, I [Sarah] have been a camper at Kalsman for many years (7 to be exact), so getting the opportunity to be immersed in a relatively new program with a small group of friends has been a truly unique experience for me. This program is packed with fun! From the outside, it may seem like a lot of work, but it is so rewarding. We have gotten to have “the camp experience,” while also having more and more responsibility around camp.
Life is full of transitional phases, and being a CIT is one of the better ones. Not only are we approaching our college years, but we get a taste of what it is like to be a staff member. The biggest thing I have learned from being a “junior staff member” is that the staff here are awesome! They have welcomed the CITs, and I have really had fun getting to know them, not just as counselors, but as friends. Our experiences as CITs have helped us get to know all the members of our kehillah kedosha and what they do to make camp as great as possible. We love being CITs at Camp Kalsman!