This week was special as our camp community welcomed and then said farewell to our teens in our Israel Leadership Summer (ILS) Program. In its inaugural summer, we have 27 rising 11th grade teens participating in this program which includes 4 weeks in Israel and a culminating week at Camp Wise at the end of second session. They teens joined us for an overnight at camp on Wednesday for a brief orientation and a special CW send-off poem. By the time you are reading this they will have already celebrated their first Shabbat in Modi’in (near Jerusalem)!
If we thought the first week of camp went fast, the second week of the session was even faster. Each day was packed in with fun! We had some Wacky Weather (ask your campers to teach you the new camp song) but that only made our days more special. Our week started off extra hot so we made sure to have additional time in the water. We changed our schedule on Monday to allow for more time at the pool and the lake. While Chalutzim and Ohalim were splashing in the pool, Noar left camp for their own water fun. The 8th graders packed up dinner and the CW jet skis and spent the afternoon at Fairport Harbor on Lake Erie while the 9th graders had a blast whitewater rafting on the Lower Yough in Ohiopyle, PA.
The first week of the summer just flew by! After opening camp all together with a special indoor campfire program on Sunday, we kicked off the week with great weather, friends, and fun. In just one week our campers have already experienced so much of the Camp Wise Magic. In between cabin activities, free swim, silly evening programs, and dining hall song sessions we even had a few groups that took their adventures beyond the normal camp day! Solel, our oldest campers, already had their first out of camp trip! Some highlights from their trip include cheering on the Detroit Tigers, glass blowing in Toledo, and adventures on Put-In-Bay. The Ohalim girls also escaped camp for a bit, and enjoyed a beautiful overnight in the CW woods complete with a BBQ dinner, s’mores, and song session.
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/.