Dear CW Families,
What a great week at the Home of Happiness filled with warm, sunshiny days! We packed so many incredibly beautiful moments into our time together. As Shabbat came to a close we joined for an all-camp Talent Show. As I sat in the audience, I was reminded of all the ways in which Camp Wise supports campers’ development in the skills of self-confidence and public speaking. Almost every camper participated in an act on stage; either on their own or with their cabin. And amongst all the new acts, we shared laughs with some of our favorites like the Bean Skit, a time-honored tradition at CW.
Our camp week was filled with energy and competitive spirit as we took a break from regular activities for Disney Villain Maccabiah! After I was kidnapped in the middle of dinner, our team of judges informed us that it was up to 5 Disney villains (Scar, Hades, Cruella De Vil, Maleficent, and Ursula) to show their inner good and help get me back. Camp was divided into 5 teams who worked together in competitions of sports, spirit, and the arts in order to save me. Ultimately, the blue Hades team saved me and I was able to rejoin camp!
Maccabiah and the Talent Show should 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 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.
In their short time at camp the ILS teens participated in workshops to help prepare them for their journey, had a chance to tie-dye (an essential when traveling with Camp Wise!), spent some time with our mishlachat (delegation of Israeli staff) to learn about their favorite spots in Israel, and even had the opportunity to meet with this year’s SITs; many of whom were participants on our inaugural ILS program in 2018!
With so much activity this week, we’re all looking forward to a restful and relaxing Shabbat led by the village of Ohalim. This week in Shabbat prep campers focused on how being created in God’s image influences the way we interact with the world. They began their session by each being given a piece to a puzzle. They had to mingle around and try to find people whose pieces fit with theirs. Since there were more pieces than people there was no way they were going to be able to finish the puzzle.
Rabbi Shana told the campers about Rabbi Issa Luria and his story of creation: Before God created the world, the entire universe was filled with a holy presence. God took a breath to draw back and make room for the world. From that first breath, darkness was created. And when God said, “Let there be light,” lightness was created filling vessels with holy light. God sent those vessels to the world, and if they had each arrived whole, the world would have been perfect. But the holy light was too powerful to be contained, and the vessels split open sending sparks flying everywhere. Some of God’s holy light became trapped inside the shards of the vessels. It is our job to release and gather the sparks. When enough sparks have been gathered, tikkun olam (repair of the world), will be complete.
Afterwards, campers talked about how gathering the sparks was like trying to put the puzzle together. We don’t know where all the pieces are. We don’t have the whole picture. It is hard to put it all together. And we can’t do all the work alone. Rabbi Shana then asked, “How do we gather sparks?” and the campers learned it is by doing mitzvot (good deeds), giving tzedakah and through acts of gemillut chasadim (loving kindness). When we interact with the world in this way, we live up to our responsibility of being created b’tzelem Elohim.
A special moment for our cabin this week was going on the Chalutzim boys overnight. We had the chance to bond with the other guys in our village and become a closer family!
The campers have been working on planning a surprise birthday pool party where there will be balloons, decorations, and games for everyone to play! We also loved boys overnight where we roasted marshmallows, sang songs, and enjoyed a beautiful night under stars.
This week we finally got to the lake for jet skiing! Everyone got a chance to ride on the back, go tubing, or even try waterskiing! We love playing ukulele at night before we go to bed; our mini song session helps us chill out each night!
This week we celebrated multiple birthdays in the cabin. We enjoyed cupcakes and special treats to celebrate! Our cabin has really become a community and we love seeing how special our bonds have become.
We love telling stories at night before going to bed. Everyone gets a chance to be in the spotlight where all flashlights are on them while they share their story. We’re looking forward to a prank we have been planning on a counselor in a different village!
This week the campers got to ride against the waves of the lake during our Jet Ski cabin activity! We also loved cheering our hearts out during Maccabiah!
This week O3 and O5 had the lake cabin activity together. Each camper got the opportunity to ride the Jet Ski or go tubing and it was a blast! We also had a surprise pool party with O9 this week!
This week we surprised our campers with a special trip to the Giant Swing on the high ropes course. It was so fun doing tricks while swinging and working together to pull everyone up! O5 is the place to be – we’ve had a lot of fun hanging out in hammocks outside of our cabin.
This week one of our highlights was our song session cabin activity. Everyone got to sing their favorite songs like Love Story and Take Me Home Country Roads. Some people even played guitar or ukulele and we all sang together! We also loved our Ohalim paint party where we all splattered paint on each other.
This week O7 hopped out of their shells as they created improv skits, bravely climbed the tower, and rocked it out on the tennis courts. We also had a birthday pool party and enjoyed some yummy treats!
Last weekend during Havdalah the whole cabin sat around in a circle and shared our appreciation for Whoopi Goldberg. We just could not stop laughing, it was so fun! We also enjoyed our time at the lake with O9 where we got to hang out and go tubing off the jet skis.
This week we had the horseback riding cabin activity. It was so amazing to watch campers move out of their comfort zones and go on a ride throughout camp! We also loved our pool party with the O3 cabin. It was great to bond with each other in a super fun setting!
This week we had a great time at tennis. We played games and learned a new technique for forehand! We also love the meditation sessions that we had in yoga!
This week we went jet skiing and tubing in the lake with N3, it was a ton of fun and a great time to bond for the 9th grade boys. We also loved Maccabiah; it gave us all a chance to shine in all our different skills, including art, sport and ruach (spirit).
This week we went jet skiing down at the lake, we had perfect weather and enjoyed a morning of tubing, jet skiing and hanging out on the beach at the lake. We’ve also had some amazing cabin talks this week about how we all feel about our place in the world and where we want to be next year. This brought us all closer together and we are all so supportive of each other!
Our top activity this week was fitness. N5 beat 4 of the records set by other cabins including the pushup challenge which we did with 7 people! We also had a special night of bonding this week. We went up to the Adirondack chairs and ate chipwiches under the stars!
N6 had a great time at Israeli Culture this week imagining their own kibbutz. Everyone participated and shared their own hilarious ideas! Another highlight from this week includes our trip to Lake Erie where jet skied and relaxed at the beach!
This week we sung our hearts out at song session and became artists during tie-dye. Our cabin grew closer as we tackled basketball and became pros on the court. Our kids are having a blast and were great sports during Maccabiah showing the little kids all the ruach (spirit) they have.
This week we went to basketball and had a great time learning about everyone’s strengths on and off the courts. Everyone was so supportive the whole time! We are also branching beyond our cabin friendships and becoming friends with the whole village!
This week, Solel enjoyed their first official full week spent at the Home of Happiness although; it certainly was not a quiet one! We began the week with Disney Villains Maccabiah, it was truly incredible watching the oldest kids in camp show everyone else how it’s done and watching the younger campers follow their lead. Leading with their spirit, enthusiasm, and experience, Solel truly left their mark on their final Maccabiah as campers. Then, Solel turned the switch on Wednesday night in their Circle of Life evening program, where we had insightful discussions on personal identity and high school life. We finished up with a “memory walk”, where we took time to reflect on our time as campers and celebrated with ice cream sandwiches. Now, as we prepare for our third Shabbat together, we can’t wait for the coming week and celebrating our long-awaited Solel Shabbat!
The ILS teens arrived in Israel on Friday morning after a very smooth day of travel, bright-eyed and excited for what their new adventure would bring! Our first stop was to enjoy our first of many Hummus and Falafel. We then spent the afternoon relaxing on the beach of Tel Aviv. Once arriving at our hotel, we brought in Shabbat with Pinemere and Livingston all united as one new community. Each camp was able to share our camp traditions in a beautiful first Shabbat of the trip.