As I walked through camp this week I was immersed in the experiences that contribute to what makes Camp Wise an incredible community for all. I saw campers grow with pride as they chose the horse they would ride, I heard some of our first recorded podcasts (more information coming shortly on how to listen in), and I saw campers reaching out and taking care of each other with kindness.
The first week of the summer just flew by! Already campers have had opportunities to experience all the best of Camp Wise. From cheer-offs and song sessions in the chadar (dining hall) to jet ski rides around the CW lake, tie dye, sports and more; it already feels like our community of 500 is just one big happy family. Solel even left camp for their first out of camp trip!
My children made friends for life at Camp Wise; they developed a new found independence and a sense of pride that they went out of their comfort zone. It mattered that they were surrounded by genuine campers and counselors who cared about them, counselors that they could laugh with and new friends to play games with, people who they learned to trust.
This week’s Shabbat experience is facilitated by the village of Ohalim and in preparation for Shabbat, Ohalim talked about how we live this value of welcoming others at home and at camp. The campers discussed how perfect this week’s Shabbat is for Ohalim because their cabin’s tent flaps make their village open and welcoming to all, just like Abraham and Sarah’s tent once was.
In just a few short days I’ve had the opportunity to see just how exceptional our Camp Wise community truly is. Ohalim showed me how much fun they can have when an unexpected late night turned into a song session dance party. I joined in on Noar’s closing campfire ritual and got a chance to hang out with Solel campers on the deck. In Chalutzim, I watched as campers who had arrived just two days before welcomed our special Shabbat guests from the Columbus JCC. Together with their staff, the Chalutzim campers helped teach the campers from Columbus about the ruach (spirit) of Chalutzim and Camp Wise.
On Thursday evening we gathered to watch the session’s camp play “Seussical Jr.”. As the story is told (by the Cat in the Hat) it teaches us that a strong sense of compassion, community, and friendship are necessary to overcome obstacles and that placing a high value on those principles will allow for success. As I watched our campers take to the stage I realized that not only did the actors, the set designers, and the production crew learn to care for one another, so did everyone at camp this summer