Monday, July 25, 2011

hellooo- i'm back!

culture shock is a funny thing. One would never expect that one would experience culture shock coming home after only one month...but one does. Especially when one has just come home from camp, where one is very secluded from the outside world.  ~welcome home! hey look, it's a computer!~
 Camp was a really great experience this summer...last summer it was a little bit eh, but this year I really felt that me and the rest of my kvutsah (age group) grew a lot closer. From showering in the bik (the beit kisay-literally house of chairs-otherwise known as the bathrooms/communal shower...don't worry there was a boys' side and a girls' side) to planning the activity that my mom told you about (getting the entire camp safely into "Palestine" in the middle of the night) to having a sleepover with my kvutsah on the basketball court, the last night of camp...I actually felt very at home this summer.
 That said-I'm also glad to be back, and to be able to sleep in! I have many more stories to share, but there is a time limit on how long I can blog today, so I'll share them with you another time!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Another Nighttime Disturbance

As a guest writer and mother of this blogger I felt obligated to report more on the world of summer camp from the perspective of the "outsider".  We had the opportunity to go to summer camp on visitor's day to find our happy and exhausted daughter filled with glorious stories of learning, fun, bonding and leadership that happens at her camp in the normal course of events. 

It is still true that being awakened in the middle of the night for mishchief and fun is partially why these campers are so exhausted.  But in one such case, it was my daughter and her friends who planned the surprise activity to give the younger campers the thrill and sense of finding themselves in an unusual historical drama and then being asked to navigate their way through relying on skills and leaning from prior weeks.  Younger campers were awakened in the middle of the night and told that they needed to illegally escape their home country where they were being persecuted to try to make their way to Palestine and freedom during the British blockade of Palestine. This blockade was in place from the 1930's and continued until after WWII.  [Towards the end of this operation, many of these people would have been Holocaust survivors living in detention camps in Europe.]  Though many campers were caught and "jailed" and had many close brushes with "British soldiers", they were able to escape  and make it through to Palestine (the camp parking lot!!!) and could celebrate with delicious brownies and cookies (which my daughter helped bake) in their new safe Haven and home.  It did impress upon the campers a sense of fear and "not knowingness" that accompanies so many peoples trying to leave their homes to find a better life in a new country.  Whew! 

Despite such intense experiences, there are lots of fun sports and crafts and singing that accompany the campers through their summer as well as the nurturing of sweet life-long friendships !!  I look forward, as I am sure you do, dear readers, to your blogger's return next week!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Night Activities at Camp

Well the Mom is not as clever as the Daughter, however, I said I would give this blogging a try.  The pace at home, especially since homeschooling has ended and summer has begun, has changed without the Daughter here.  Happily, I can report that camp life is busy and filled with new, fun and challenging activities on a daily basis.  My daughter, who loves to dance as you followers would know, is enjoying daily yoga and movement with some folk-dancing thrown in for good measure.  We get letters home detailing interesting tid-bits but we especially love the ones commencing :

"... and then they woke us up in the middle of the night to go into the woods and do ..." 
How fun is that?! 

You just don't do that with the same verve at home!  Here's an example from the camper herself (in the process you'll learn a little bit of camp Hebrew, good luck!!):

"I'm so tired today, last night at 11:30 pm we had an ep-ep (a midnight activity with only our age group).  We were told to put on long pants and hats, then we walked across the foggy field and into the woods, we were led to a wall that was literally a few boards (loft tall) nailed together with a platform on top.  We were told that by using teamwork, we had to get the whole kvutzah (group) over the wall.  We ended up sending three of the strongest people in the kvutzah to stand on top of the platform to drag the people up, and a bunch of people at the bottom to boost everyone up and to help spot.  It was sooooo hard to get a few of the larger people up, but we were able to get them all (except for 1).  The guys at the top, and the people boosting told me that I was the easiest person to get up, bu I was so scared that  I was shaking!!  Then at midnight everybody started shouting Happy Birthday to me, and it was very embarassing (in a good way).  The whole activity was very kvutzah-building...then when we wre done getting everyone up and over the wall...we went to the Chadar Ochel (Dining Hall) where the Madrichim (Counslors) and other campers surprised me ... with cake and song!  So, by the time we got back to the tsrif (bunk), it was 1 in the morning and today all of us are so sore and tired that we've complained all day!!"

Don't let that last sentence concern you; that means fun was had by all!  Happy camping everyone!