We had another amazing week jam-packed with fun and activity! By dinner on Wednesday evening, the chadar was sent in a whirlwind and all four seasons hit at once! We had leaves falling and snow blowing and it sounded like there was a thunderstorm all at once. That’s when we found out it was Seasons Maccabiah and only the best season could remain. After all day of competitions ranging from dance to sports to fire building and more, only one team and season could prevail. The Tie Dye Summer team took the crown and the captains and judges celebrated with a pool jump while the campers cheered them on!
This has been such an incredible week here at the Home of Happiness. After Shabbat was over and our entire camp received our negative covid results we had a giant dance party in the chadar (dining hall)! The next day we were able to start our chugim (elective activities) and we also celebrated Yom Yisrael (Israel Day). It was so much fun to learn more about Israel from all of our Israeli staff that we have in camp this summer but we are missing the teens that are traveling in Israel. Be sure to read to the end to learn more about what our 43 teens in Israel have been up to in the last week!
The first few days of second session have been filled with energy, ruach (spirit), and excitement! We love the energy that all of our second session campers brought with them to the Home of Happiness. On Wednesday our cabins spent the day getting settled and getting to know each other. And in the evening each cabin participated in bunk night where they worked to create a special dynamic and bond in each cabin. Last night the villages had their first evening programs. Chalutzim and Ohalim participated in an epic lip sync battle, Noar cabins had a Wrestlemania night with fictional places, and Solel grew closer together during their cruise night.
We’ve had another very exciting week at the Home of Happiness! n the middle of the week we had a break from our normal activities for our first Maccabiah since 2019, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Maccabiah! Mickey Mouse was moving out of his clubhouse and the camp was divided in to five teams to battle over who could move in; it was between Goofy, Daisy, Donald, Minnie, and Pluto. Over the course of a day and a half, each team participated in competitions full of sports, spirit, and arts.
This week has been filled with laughter and fun! On Sunday, we were finally able to join as a full camp community for meals in our chadar (dining hall), it has been so wonderful to be together as one camp three times each day – you can feel the energy when you walk in the room! In between all the daily activities there have been a lot of moments to celebrate. There have been special parties for birthdays and the tooth fairy has been very busy visiting campers in Chalutzim and Ohalim, we’re lucky they can find us all the way in Chardon! The villages have also had some unique programs this week including a snow day in Chalutzim and a Silent Disco in Solel!
Wow! That’s all I can say, wow! What an incredible first week of the 2021 summer!! After 680+ days, Camp Wise reopened to welcome our first group of campers back to the Home of Happiness. I am beyond grateful to spend time with each and every one of your campers; thank you for trusting Camp Wise to provide a safe, warm, and welcoming home away from home for your children.
This summer, our hearts broke with the news that campers would not be able to experience The Home of Happiness. It was hard for us to even imagine being current campers excitedly gearing up for a summer at CW and hearing this news. We reached out to one another and agreed we would go to pretty much any length to see camp open in Summer 2021—to give campers the opportunity to return to their paradise at 13164. Throughout our time at Wise, we learned so much about the importance of camp, Jewish identity, and community. Camp has given us so much, so it only seemed right to give back, together. We hope, that with our collective donation, and the generosity of fellow Camp Wisers, we will help secure the future for Camp Wise.
Giving back to the place that has given us so much for more than half a decade felt empowering, especially this summer. Knowing that our signatures will be tucked away on the inside of our project forever and knowing that we are starting our legacy of giving back to camp in new ways means so much to us. This summer has been pretty lackluster for us otherwise, but returning to camp for a few hours filled us with the energy, lightheartedness, and happiness we had six years ago when we arrived there for our first summer, and that is a testament to how wonderful CW is. While walking through camp, we found ourselves reminiscing, talking about camp and smiling the whole time. Even though we all had to spend this summer away from our home away from home, we want the entire Camp Wise community to know that camp still feels like camp, and that giving back to camp helped remind us of how much it has impacted us in our lives.
Eight years, three houses and two states later, we now live in Cleveland and the one constant that has remained for our family is Camp Wise. It is where our children, now teenagers, have found themselves. It is where they have learned independence. It is where they have learned how to enjoy the muddy, rainy camp summers more than the hot and dry ones. On a regular basis, they debate whether potato bar constitutes as a full meal. They know that they have a community that wraps around them and supports them. Toasted cheese. Chugs and more chugs. And, as one of our kids says, “Camp Wise is a feeling; you can’t label it or define it by one word. It IS Camp Wise.”