I really value how much Camp Wise cares about bringing international staff to camp. The cultural exchange it affords provides a great opportunity for campers to learn about the rest of the world, and it gives staff a chance to learn about and experience life in a pluralistic Jewish community (whether they’re Jewish or not). One of my fondest memories is spending time with my campers, sharing stories of my home, answering their questions, laughing at silly different words we have for the same thing, and then debating which one is the right one!
SIT year was a phenomenal experience—it was truly life-changing. We had so many opportunities to bond with each other as well as campers and staff, and we lead activities that utilized our critical and creative thinking skills. Truth be told, more than we ever expected. The transition from camper to ILS to SIT might seem intimidating, but the SIT program was a perfect capstone to our past few years’ camp journey. We have all had counselors who significantly impacted us when we were campers, and to have the opportunity this summer to be that person for our campers was incredible.
Picture this: you’re going on a four week trip to Israel with forty-one of your closest friends. Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it? Well, that’s exactly how we spent our last month. The Camp Wise Israel Leadership Summer (ILS) experience taught us leadership in a way we would never have been able to learn anywhere else, and we can’t wait to show off our new skills in upcoming years as future staff members of Camp Wise. We had the time of our lives in Israel, and we’re so excited to tell you all about it!
As we prepare for Shabbat this afternoon we’re so excited to spend time with our teens who just returned from their four week journey in Israel! Camp will finally be complete as one big family as we have all of our campers from Rishon to ILS to SITs back at the Home of Happiness! And, this Shabbat will be filled with the amazing leadership of Chalutzim and Solel but it will also be filled with stories of Israel.
This morning we said goodbye to our friends from the Columbus and Akron JCC day camps. While we are sad to send them back home, we know they had a great experience at Camp Wise and are looking forward to being reunited with them in the summer of 2020! And, as we move into Shabbat, we’re excited to have the rest of our community back from trips so that we can all be together when we read from our new Torah for the first time on Saturday morning!
This summer, we will be particularly focusing on b’tzelem Elohim. Each Shabbat we will focus on a different aspect of b’tzelem Elohim. This week as Noar prepared for their Shabbat, they talked about the importance of self-care. They began our first prep session with a compliment battle, where people have to shout compliments at each other until someone runs out of nice things to say. Everyone agreed that it felt good to have nice things said to and about them.
We had another week jam-packed with adventures, excitement, and sunny hot days! As last week came to a close we had a special visit from the Tzofim-Israeli Scouts Friendship Caravan. We were thrilled to host this group after they took a few summers away from The Home of Happiness! With their ruach (spirit) and messages of hope and peace for Israel, it was a great way to start the last week of first session.
Maccabiah and the Talent Show could have been enough to set this week apart, but we kept the excitement going. Both the Chalutzim boys and the Ohalim girls enjoyed overnights in tents and dinners cooked over the campfire. Our Noar campers had opportunities to leave camp; the 8th graders took to Fairport Harbor on Lake Erie for a jet skiing, BBQ dinner and beach time while the 9th graders went to Pennsylvania for an overnight trip and a day on the rapids of the Youghiogheny River! On top of all of that, we spent a few days with our ILS teens, who left on Thursday morning to start their 4-weeks in Israel.
This has been quite a busy week at the Home of Happiness! There were adventures to be had here at camp and away. It all started on Sunday when C7 and C8 had a giant sleepover party in the Moadon. Later in the week, everyone had a chance to leave for trips. Solel took their big 3-day trip down south and visited Kings Island and Mammoth Cave while everyone else took day trips. Chalutzim visited Pioneer Waterland, Ohalim went to Splash Lagoon, and Noar to Cedar Point!