The memories spent basking in summer’s heat, laughing with my friends, exploring my creativity, and growing as a young adult continued to impact me long after singing “Leaving on A JCC Bus” during CW night. Those precious moments as a camper at my home away from home have left a deep imprint on who I am today.
The first time I truly understood the impact of a large Jewish community across the country was when I attended Camp Wise. As someone who was lucky enough to attend camp from ages 12 – 21, I attribute most of my positive attributes and self-confidence to Camp Wise. While my wife and I have shared many of our life experiences together, we did not grow up at camp together. CW remains the one thing I feel I am not able to properly describe to her, especially in regards to its lifelong impact on me…
The camp we love is a product of everyone who has left their mark since 1907, and the traditions we cherish are deeply rooted in camp’s history. Lasting contributions and legacies have paved the way to the camp we know today, and they are the reason that Camp Wise continues to play a role in each of our lives. Camp Wise is a place unlike any other…
We jumped down sand dunes, rode camels, stayed in Bedouin tents, hiked up Masada, visited the legendary Dead Sea, saw the Old City in Jerusalem, snorkeled in the Red Sea, chilled with Israeli host families, had nights out in the city, visited crazy Israeli markets, had Shabbat and Spirit Circle in the desert, and ate falafel that made us cry because it was so good.
This week was so busy and it all started when our Rishon campers arrived on Sunday afternoon! Camp warmly welcomed our 28 new campers and they all jumped into the excitement right away. As new campers arrived we also had groups leaving on trips. Our 9th grade Noar campers had their whitewater rafting trip this week and our 8th graders had their own special time down on the CW Lake. Meanwhile the Ohalim boys had a bit of their own fun with a special overnight in the Camp Wise woods. And all of this happened before our all-camp program of Avengers Maccabiah (color war) broke on Wednesday evening.
Campers have been raving about our new podcasting program. With the addition of brand new Apple computers, campers have been able to record their own podcasts with their friends in cabin activities and chugim (elective activities). Listen to our podcasts at Podcast Central: http://www.campwise.org/podcast-central/.
Last night, we gathered together to watch the camp play, Matilda. The story of Matilda teaches us that anyone can take a stand and make a change; that each person is in control of their destiny. This story is not so different than the story of the Camp Wise Magic. I know that when your child arrives home on Sunday they will be better versions of themselves. Each day at Camp Wise we see campers learn how to create new friendships, accept challenges, and master new skills. Throughout the session, campers learn to appreciate their Judaism, discover new talents within themselves, and grow to be more confident individuals.
Thursday night concluded our Peter Pan Maccabiah (color war) program. Maccabiah is a day and a half long program packed full with competitions in a variety of activities like arts, sports, music, and cheering. At Camp Wise it is equally important to win these competitions for your team as it is to have fun and participate by showing sportsmanship, comradery, and ruach (spirit). Amazing moments happen when there is the perfect balance of competition and ruach in camp.
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.