This past Thursday, all of our Barak campers participated in “Barak Gives Back Day,” which is a half day program, dedicated to Tikkun Olam, repairing the world. For our first session Barak Gives Back Day, our campers firstly signed up for a Project Barak, each one culminating in going to one of four locations: The Bob Rumball Camp of the Deaf, C.N.I.B. Lake Joe, Parry Island First Nation Community and the Harvest Share Food Bank.
I was lucky enough to accompany the group that went to C.N.I.B. Lake Joe for a portion of the day, where along with our campers; I was blown away by the programming and community of Lake Joe. (Last year I was also able to go the Bob Rumball Camp of the Deaf, which was also an incredible experience.)
When all of our campers were back though, I spoke with several of them about the projects they were involved with. They spoke with such enthusiasm, it was clear that our Barak Gives Back Day was a success!
Read on to hear about the details of each group and a word from some of our Barak campers.
– Can’t wait til the Second Session Barak Gives Back Day!
Project: DON’T PUT A STUMBLING BLOCK…
We are taught: “Do not put a stumbling block before the blind.” In this project, we partnered
with two camps that are making a HUGE difference in the lives of people with different
abilities: the blind and the deaf. Campers learned about and visited C.N.I.B. (Canadian National
Institute for the Blind) Camp Lake Joe and the Bob Rumball Camp of the Deaf. Campers learned about their work to enhance independence for Canadians who are hearing or visually impaired and
visit new friends at a nearby camp for the blind or deaf.
Project: ECO-JUDAISM, FROM THE GARDEN TO THE PLATE
Be an Eco-Jedi! Learn about the “Force” that binds all things together. This project explored the idea of “perma-culture”: how everything in the world should be life-supporting and life-giving, from our food production to our own relationships. This group explored relationships in Judaism, nature, and us. This project culminated with a visit to the Harvest Share Food Bank, where we shared our food items collected on Visitors’ Day.
Project:THE GATHERING OF THE TRIBES
On Barak Gives Back Day, this group visited a group of children from the First Nations Reserve Wasauking – a community on Parry Island, not far from camp. In preparation for their visit, this group uncovered more about the First Nations People, looked at some of the ethics and values we have in common, and created activities that helped to create a fun and memorable experience between us.
Project: CIRCLES OF OBLIGATION
In a world full of need, how do we figure out whose needs come first? How can Judaism help us figure out answers to tough questions like hunger and homelessness? The goal of this group was to begin to understand around these issues. This project also culminated with a visit to the Harvest Share Food Bank.
A word from our campers on what they learned…
Campers who went to The Bob Rumball Camp of the Deaf:
Ronnie from B2: “I learned that the easiest tasks become challenging, like ordering food in a restaurant for people with hearing impairments.”
Elisa from B2: “I learned that they are just like us, they are just teenagers living their lives.”
Melissa from B2: “This experience taught me to keep smiling. To be happy and positive through all of life challenges.”
Ethan from B1: “I learned that there can be places where disabilities don’t matter and you can be who you are.”
Campers who went to the Harvest Share Food Bank:
Noah from B1: “I learned the importance of giving back. It felt really good, even though it’s not my year round community.”
Alex from B8: “I learned that people that look like us might need help, you never know.”
Sarah from B8: “I got to see someone picking up food from the food bank while we were there and it really put the whole experience into perspective.”
Campers who went to Parry Island First Nation Community:
Allan from B3: “I learned that their community is really in touch with their roots and that they are a close community, just like our camp community.”
Amy from B8: “I learned about their culture and history. I never had that opportunity before so it was really cool.”
Campers who went to C.N.I.B. Lake Joe:
Hannah from B2: “It was really interesting talking to people even though they couldn’t see us, they were just like us.”
Michael from B1: “I learned to be grateful for what you have and how they do the same things as us but just a little bit differently.”