Monday, June 6, 2011

All Year Long I Wait For Camp

So this is another thing I wrote a while ago, most of it is still true today, and with gannizy in my town starting in less then 4 weeks I decided now is a good time to post this. 
All year long I always wait for ganizzy to start. It’s been the highlight of my summer ever sense I was 5. My best friend and I would always sing the camp songs at school on the playground. I’ve kept this tradition alive today. Although it’s changed, now I sing in the halls. Camp Gan Israel is part of a larger gan Israel network. Gan means garden in Hebrew; the garden of Israel. 
The gan Israel network is the largest growing Jewish camp experience in the world. There are around 100 sleep away camps, and over a 1000 day camps.
              A typical gan Israel day starts with line up. Line up is when the whole camp line-ups in there division, or bunk grouped by age and cheer there hearts out. I love line up, its one of my favorite times of day. After line up we have divining; praying, followed by a short lesson on Judaism. The lesson always has too do with the theme of the week. For example if it was Holiday week we might learn about Yom Kippur.  After the lesson if it’s a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday we have a quick snack and head off to fun chops. On Tuesdays and Thursdays it varies by the day, and week.
              Fun chops are 1hr periods of time where you choice between two already planned activities. Fun chops are also determined by age. You do your fun chop with either a bunk 1yr older or 1yr younger. There are three fun chop slots; one of those slots is a mandatory sports hour.  I love the sports part of the day. We ALWAYS get very into the game, usually its soccer or dodge ball and sometimes lightening or kickball. Some of the more popular fun chop choices besides sports are; chess, art, dance, computers, Lego’s, cooking and many more. Last but not least, science with Larry. Larry has been coming to ganizzy for a week or two every summer for as long as I can remember. He always has super cool and creative activities, like slime, and lava lamps.
              Fun chops take up the rest of the morning until lunch. Lunch is pretty much free time; you just have to stay in the room. Usually depending on the year and day there is hot lunch. Hot lunch is when you pay for the camp to provide you with a lunch; pizza bagels, pizza, bagels, sandwiches etc. You also can have chips or something like that as well.  Once everyone is comfortable the head counselor will get up and we’ll give tzadak, charity. We have a really cute song. A similar thing happens for mitzvah, good deed notes. Once that is over the head counselor either starts a lunch game or tells a story. When lunch is over on Tuesdays and Thursdays once again it’s different, we get on a bus and go on one of our fantastically amazing field trips! Like, a water park, minigolf, a farm, ice-skating, museums and more! And on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday we had to get ready for swimming. That’s pretty much the rest of the afternoon, except on Fridays.
              On Fridays, because it’s the last day of camp for the week, and the day before the Jewish Shabbos, we have a mini Shabbos party and get prizes from our point system for helping out. Like if you help the counselor carry the towels on to the bus you get say maybe 5 stamps. Or participating and answering questions during doveining you might get a few stamps as well. Each prize cost a few stamps. The Shabbos party is always fun. The counselor’s choice a boy, to light the candles and a  girl to bless the wine. Both the boy and the girl are chosen based on their behavior and participation in camp that week. After the blessings we feast on chips and other goodies, sing songs and just have a good time. Slowly the day ends and we say goodbyes, this happens on any regular day as well.

Man I was sooo passionate about camp. I still am. Anyone else excited for camp??

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