We are on a journey. A journey of self-exploration, friendship, and Jewish identity. It’s an amazing journey filled with laughter, singing, cheering, and being down-right goofy. The setting is a magical place with lush trees, rock roads, and starry skies. A place many of us know as the “home of happiness.” Many of us started this journey at CW in previous summers, while others are joining us for the first time. Our journey is one that you need not go on alone. We get to experience it together, as a community. Everyone’s journey may look differently and include separate adventures, but at the end of the day we all end up at the same place – calling Camp Wise our home and leaving camp with friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. As is tradition at camp, we start every session with the shecheyanu to symbolize the beginning of our journey:
Barach atah adonai elohenu melech ha’olam shecheyanu v’kiy’manu v’higyanu lazman hazeh.
For many of us, camp is a journey of self-exploration and independence. At camp, you can be the truest form of you. Dr. Seuss likes to say that, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” Around every is corner is an opportunity to push yourself and see how far you can go. Camp is designed to give each of us the opportunity to choose and soar to new heights. Everyone gets to choose the activities they want to participate in during the summer. This leads to discovering new hobbies that become our passion. These passions stay with us well beyond the woods of camp. Being able to participate in programs such as the talent show or be a part of a silly lunch skit which allows us to jump out of our comfort zone. The idea of communal living offers us the opportunity to open up and share with others, but to also listen and learn about fellow cabin mates. Even though this particular journey may be about the individual, the individual is never traveling alone.
We are on a journey to find friendship. It might be all the rain we’ve had this summer, but it’s so much more fun to jump on the ark two by two. Making a new friend or rekindling a summer friendship creates a joyous atmosphere that enables all of us to relax and be in the moment. Camp is all about moments and making memories. Our friends make each on of those moments more enjoyable. Friendships can be created during activities, but they really come alive during the “non-program” times – in the cabin after lights out, in the village playing roof ball, walking to chugim ready to experience something new, or at a campfire singing camp songs. Everything that we do is designed to be engaging and super fun, but trust me, having that friend walking beside you is the reason you keep coming back each summer. This journey is all about building lasting friendships and memories.
We are all on the journey of discovering our Jewish identity and creating Jewish community. As a pluralistic camp, we create a space of openness and regardless of knowledge or experience we all learn from each other. The camp setting provides a unique atmosphere where campers can be immersed in “living” Jewish. Our programming rooted in our Jewish Core Values helps campers gain a sense of ownership for their own Jewish identity. Imagine a lazy susan with all different aspects of Jewish identity – religious identity, social identity, cultural identity and the campers can pick and choose what is most important to them. Some may end this journey with a stronger connection to prayer, other may with a stronger connection to Israel. No matter what we each choose to take, it helps us create a stronger sense of Jewish identity. This journey carries well beyond camp into the “real world.”
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” – Dr. Seuss
C1- From Tie Dye, to soccer, to low ropes, to drama, cabin C1 has been able to get a sneak peek of almost every program area of camp. This close knit group of friends has bonded over cabin games and late night stories, and they had a great time during our backwards night evening program. As fifth graders, these Chalutzim veterans are excited to see what secret programs and activities we have in store for them in the coming days.
C2- Our second cabin of fifth graders in cabin C2, who are next door neighbors to their friends in C1, has had an incredible start to camp. Their presence can especially be felt in the chadar, where they are the leaders of our village cheers and song sessions. Between mad libs and raid planning, C2 is constantly finding new ways to make this summer the most special yet.
C3- Whether playing gaga in the village, or discovering their inner-spy during our evening programs, the ruach (spirit) of C3 goes unmatched. While cabin C3 is our youngest cabin, they are also the biggest boys cabin. Their energy and love for camp is unbelievable, and as the talent show approaches, I can’t wait to see what acts may come out of this cabin.
C4- Though they are only a cabin of four campers, cabin C4 has joined with cabin C3 for activities and have adjusted to camp beautifully. They have all signed up for a full set of afternoon Chugim (electives), where the campers have their choice of over a dozen activities to take part in. We’re all super excited to see C4 take part in their first camp Shabbat as well as our day trip that is coming sometime in the not so distant future.
C5- The C5 small silverware have had an incredible first week at camp filled with some super fun cabin activities such as Israeli culture and yoga! These girls have already made their presences known at camp, all thanks to an awesome prank pulled on our oldest village, solel, during one of their overnight trips!
C6- C6 candy land has had an incredibly sweet first week at camp, particularly during minion’s night! The ladies made a splash at the lake during their Jet Ski cabin activity and proved that they were #allin during basketball!
C7- The C7 Minnie mice have had a great first week at camp, starting it off with a camp favorite, outdoor cooking! The ladies worked as a team during their low ropes cabin activity, but also proved their teamwork when they sent their staff on a scavenger hunt, culminating in milk and cookies!
C8- The C8 ladies had a superb first week at camp and had a fantastic time learning about the Torah portion with our Jewish educator, Kyna, during their cabin activity. They proved they had all the moves during dance and with the help of their staff, pulled a hilarious prank on the chalutzim boys supervisor, Brian!
O1 – O1 is so happy to be at camp and have jumped right into the camp spirit! They’ve already experienced some of the best that camp has to offer by going to the lake and conquering the vertical playground!
O2 – O2 has quickly settled into camp and have enjoyed every minute of camp so far! From relaxing in the radio room to making their own tye-dye t-shirts, O2 is having the time of their lives!
O3 – O3 is one of the loudest, proudest, and most spirited cabins in camp, with their voices echoing throughout the dining hall. During our “Tree” evening program, they had a blast dressing up their counselor and making a skit to perform in front of the whole village!
O4 – O4 has had so much fun throughout these first few days, enjoying activities such as low ropes and yoga. They built an incredible fort at Tuesday’s evening program, helping lead their team to victory in the village-wide battleball game!
O5 – O5 is the biggest cabin in the village, and is leading the way with their ruach and great attitude, even through the rain! They had an absolute blast at the lake doing all sorts of activities during the “Bear vs. Shark” evening program!
O6- O6 is having an incredible time in their first week of camp, sporting their brand new tie-dyes. They loved their lake cabin activity and made the most of their time on the aqua jump and the jetskis. The girls have loved making new friends in the cabin and fostering old ones.
O7- O7 have hit the bullseye of camp (and archery)! The highlight of their week has been Bunk Night when they got to know each other and their counselors ready for an awesome session. The girls have been loving Ohalim’s nightly campfires, singing their favorite songs and learning some new ones.
O8- O8 is still celebrating ‘Tree’, the night where they painted and dressed up counselor Halle as their very own tree. The pictures are wonderful! They also really enjoyed being stuck in their cabins during the storm, hosting a spa afternoon complete with nail polish and flash tats.
O9- O9 loved playing knockout in general sports on Wednesday and got to make their own cookies yesterday in outdoor cooking. The girls are scheming hard, making grand plans to prank their counselors and shooting (attempted) bullseyes in archery.
O10- O10 ‘leaf cutter ants’ loved their drama cabin activity with Hailey and Sam and dived into skit planning, hopping up on stage covered in leaves with their cheer that was heard around the dining hall: ‘We are ants, we cut leaves, we’re the best you best believe!’ The girls are getting along beautifully are are definitely the loudest cabin in the village!
N1- The boys of N1 had an amazing first few days of camp. Between tie dying shirts in the art shack, conquering fears at lily pads, and fending off zombies during zombie night, there’s never been a dull moment. N1 has already grown close as a cabin, and nobody can wait to see what the next two weeks have in store.
N2- N2 jumped into second session head on, bringing energy and ruach (spirit) to activities like basketball and outdoor cooking. You’d never know that almost a third of the cabin is new this summer—with returning campers setting the tone, it seems like everyone’s been at camp for years! From late night stargazing to cheering in the chadar, N2 is so excited to experience all that Noar has to offer.
N3- The cabin of N3 has had an amazing first week! From mountain biking to drama as some of their cabin activities, they are always positive leaders in the Camp Wise community!
N4- The N4 Bologna are already climbing to new heights at their lilypads cabin activity! Not to mention, they were ready to attack and protect their fellow cabin mates in Noar’s Zombie Apocalypse evening program
N5- N5 embodies the phrase “small but mighty.” Though there are only ten girls in the cabin, they’re constantly the loudest and most enthusiastic in the village and chadar (dining hall). The N5 girls bonded over gouda cheese during bunk night, made cookies in outdoor cooking, and sculpted custom plates for their pottery cabin activity. N5 already has a great cabin presence, and you’d be hard pressed to find an N5 camper without a giant smile on her face.
N6- The N6 girls started the session strong, performing an Israeli dance in front of all of camp on day two. Things only got better from there—from archery to guitar, every cabin and village activity has brought the girls of N6 closer together. It’s been amazing to watch the four Israeli campers in N6 integrate with the cabin, and it’s exciting to see how much all of the girls have bonded despite vastly different backgrounds.
N7- N7 is always spreading their magnanimous positivity, whether it’s at their dance or guitar cabin activities! They also had an awesome time at their Doorhinge evening program where they got to create their own species of “Hingeflies”!
N8- N8 hasn’t let the rain bring them down from enjoying all that camp has to offer! From pottery to dance, this group of girls is always seen laughing and having fun at their cabin activities!
Solel began Trip II with a roaring start! After merely two days in camp, which included a night bonfire at the lake, we were off to Buffalo, NY. From thrilling rides at the Darien Lake Amusement Park, to getting soaked on the Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls, and seeing new life at the fascinating Niagara Aquarium, week one has surely been a blast. Can’t wait for what’s next!