By: Melissa Frey, Kutz Director
Shalom parents and families of Kutz 2011 participants!
It’s been a remarkable first week of camp, and there are so many wonderful things to share highlights about. Opening day was smooth and the weather was beautiful. We spent our first evening settling in our 183 summer participants, acclimating them to their summer home. Monday morning we started meeting by Majors, and the palpable sense of enthusiasm and excitement was prevalent throughout camp. Everyone had a chance to sign up for Minors, choose Electives, participate in swim tests, and we had a chance to share general camp protocols with our entire community.
It’s my hope that you’ve had a chance to read our blog, where we have been highlighting many of our all camp programs and unique learning opportunities in camp. Evening programs this week were comprised of a Disney-themed program called Creativity and Leadership, where teens explored three of ten different leadership styles as emulated by classic Disney and modern Pixar stories, highlighting the Jewish values within each story. We had a remarkable program on the history of Reform Judaism in terms of the various platforms the movement has taken in regards to issues like liturgy, Israel, the Jewish people, and equal rights. Musician Alan Goodis joined us in camp for three days, and hosted a Beit Café where he performed his music, which was complimented by many talented teens who performed songs, read poetry, and even shared magic tricks. Last night we explored worldwide progressive Jewry by getting a better understanding of Netzer Olami, the worldwide progressive Jewish youth movement of which NFTY is a member, as we formally welcomed our friends in camp from abroad, including Hungary, Romania, Holland, France, the United Kingdom, Mexico, and Israel, with a meaningful candle lighting ceremony. And one of our great moments of the week was our all-camp Yoga Tefilah on Thursday morning, led by Rabbi Lisa Tzur, who is also our Kutz Camp Committee Chairperson.
As we begin to prepare for Shabbat, following Majors, our community will come together this morning for an all-camp program with Rabbi Owen Gottlieb, who specializes in experiential Jewish education through game design. Our Friday afternoon schedule is different than the rest of the week as we prepare, by cabin, to welcome our first Shabbat at camp. Tonight we will have close to 300 people in camp to celebrate Shabbat though song and a dynamic visualtefilah coordinated by Rabbi Billy Dreskin followed by our spirited Shabbt Shira song session and Israeli Dance.
And we’re already looking forward to all of the excitement next week will bring, including programs coordinated by different Majors so that teens are given the opportunity to create, plan, lead and evaluate their own programming, with their peers, in camp. We’ll also head to New York City next week for Trip Day, and we will enjoy the remarkable music of Dan Nichols as he performs a concert in camp, which is always a highlight of our summer.
I really look forward to being in touch with you throughout the session. On behalf of our entire Kutz staff and faculty, thank you so much for sharing your precious cargo with us this summer.