Hey Camp George!
Yesterday Camp George opened its gates to share with our family community one of the most significant parts of our summer experience – a Camp George Shabbat. Us camp veterans have come the know and love the magic of Shabbat – the excitement of Super Spesh Song Sesh, the camp tunes that we sing at services, and of course cooling off at Free Swim at the beach in the afternoon!!
My favorite part of Family Visitors Day is always seeing the campers connect with their families. In prior years, as a counselor and Unit Head, I always looked forward to this part of the day – it’s always so rewarding to hear our campers rush to tell their parents about all the new experiences they’ve had at camp! And this year was no exception, the stories poured out!
At the same time, we had our Jewish Living Specialists – Michael Weiss and Leah Sternberg, handing out our Nitzotzot and Lehavot Tzedekah boxes to our campers, so that their families could take them home and carry on the values of Tzedekah with them in the off season. Michael and Leah were also there to answer questions and share information on our educational programming and about our summer them of “Ayeka? Hineini” (Where are you? Here I am.) To learn more about our summer theme check out these blogs: CG 101 and Project Barak!
We began the Shabbat experience with a service in the Beit T’fillah. It was amazing to see all our families together, and participating in a service with our campers, CITs (insert link to new CIT blog) and staff! The tunes for Shabbat services at camp could be described as “Jewish Rock,” and boy did our campers teach their parents how to rock in the Beit T’fillah. It was wonderful to see so many families share in our camp-style of spirituality and to have the opportunity to get a taste of how Camp George celebrates Shabbat.
After services, our families went with their campers to find a nice quiet spot for a family picnic lunch. Following lunch, we also ran a “Taste of Shabbat Limud” (educational programming that usually takes place after services). We were lucky to have the Weiss family – Michael Weiss -Jewish Living Specialist, Rabbi Cory Weiss and Karen Winkler Weiss all at camp to run a program called “Stump the Weiss’s”, where the Weiss family accepted questions from our families about different Jewish traditions and knowledge! And were they ever un-stumpable! We challenge our Second Session families to arrive with tricky questions…Michael Weiss says he is up to the challenge!
While we as a camp were incredibly excited to share in a Shabbat experience with our families, we know that our campers were very excited to show their parents their camp lifestyle. To that end, campers showed their parents their bunks in their cabins and parents were finally able to put a face with a name and meet the counselors! Specialists waited in their activity areas so they could talk to parents about the skills their children had learned!
I will admit to a bit of eavesdropping and say I was thrilled to hear stories about children staying up a bit too late gossiping with their new friend on the next bunk and chatting about getting over their fear of heights and trying out the Swing at the Ropes Course! Our campers were beaming with pride as they told their parents all about life at camp!
Before saying goodbye we wrapped up the day with a song session, led by our wonderful song leaders and Dean of Jewish Living – Rabbi Noam Katz. Our campers, staff and families showed amazing ruach, and sung everything from “The Camp George Song” to “Hinei Ma Tov” and more!
For all of our First Session families, we hope that you enjoyed the day, and to our Second Session families, we can’t wait to share our Shabbat experience with you on Family Visitor’s Day next session!
– Thanks for coming!