I’d like to welcome everyone to our first edition of “Around the Campfire with Sean” for the 2015 season. Many of you are veterans to the campfire, but others may be joining for the first time. I hope everyone can smell the marshmallows roasting over the fire and hear the guitar leading us in a song session. My weekly post is meant to be a window for you to see inside the magic that helps create the Camp Wise experience. However, you don’t have to wait until Shabbat to take a peek inside. You can check us out on Twitter (@campwise) to read about evening programs, Facebook where we post cabin videos, and your Camp InTouch account where we upload lots and lots of photos to our website! There is no escaping the wonderful world of Wise when you turn on your computer or smart phone or tablet or whatever crazy device you have.
A few years ago I was able to attend a presentation by an author named Shawn Achor. He wrote a book called The Happiness Advantage and has toured the United States sharing his secrets on happiness. His premise is very basic and he believes that if we do a handful of simple tasks each day we can improve our own happiness (we’ll get to the simple tasks a bit later). He calls it positive psychology and it centers around three ideas – an individual’s mindset, an individual’s social support system, and an individual’s well-being.
I started to look for ways to incorporate these ideas at CW – after all, we are the home of happiness! Using his three ideas I started to ask myself questions so we could have our own positive psychology to help enhance each camper’s experience:
- How can we make sure our campers stay positive throughout the summer? (Individual mindset)
- How can we help our campers build positive relationships that provide them support (Social support system)
- How can we make sure everyone stays healthy (Well-being)
Creating our own version of Achor’s positive psychology led us to some “ah-ha” moments. Sometimes it takes an outside perspective to show us the obvious. So we’ve started to implement some of those simple tasks each day to ensure we can improve our campers’ happiness during the summer.
According to Anchor, having a meaningful conversation with someone helps increase your happiness. Our staff members make it a point to engage in a positive conversation with each camper. Better yet, they encourage the campers to have those conversations with each other. Many cabins use bedtime as the perfect opportunity to start this type of ritual. We tend to call this type of sharing “roses.” It’s an opportunity for everyone to share a highlight of their day. Sometimes the focus is on another cabin mate and how they did something nice or helpful.
Taking every opportunity to provide positive support can help build strong friendships – a central theme of camp. At camp this can be as simple as saying “please” and “thank you” at meal time. It also happens when campers write their friends a Shabbat-o-gram (special note handed out during Shabbat). This really comes alive during activities and in our Chadar (dining hall) when a camper performs a skit at a meal or succeeds at an activity. When this occurs everyone erupts with support and cheering – often times with a favorite cheer of, “we are proud of you, say we are proud of you!”
This is my favorite – smile! Walking around camp with a smile on your face is contagious. We’ve realized that a positive attitude can help shape any interaction you have with others. When you’re happy, others tend to be happy. When you’re mad, others tend to be mad. Putting a simple smile on your face makes every day more enjoyable.
The list could go on and on about how we provide a positive camper experience, but I’ll let your child(ren) tell you all about it in their letters and when they get off the bus at the end of the summer.
Shabbat Shalom Camp Wise!
C1- Cabin C1 has had an amazing first week filled with activities like outdoor cooking and archery. While they may be living in the mighty village of Ohalim, they have been the leaders of Chalutzim and provide the ruach that other cabins have modeled themselves after.
C3- Though they may be a cabin of only seven campers, cabin C3 has felt more like a cabin twice its size based on their contributions to Chalutzim. Between their nighttime stories, hilarious skits, and constant participation in village programs, C3’s presence in Chalutzim has been incredible.
C4- Through just a couple of days at camp, the campers of C4 already appear as seasoned Camp Wise veterans. The cabin has learned our village cheers and camp songs, they have enjoyed their chugs and cabin activities (particularly jet skiing), and they can’t wait to be a part of some of our amazing all-camp programs.
C5- The small but mighty cabin of C5 Beehive had an incredible first week at camp and have not only created an identity for themselves as a cabin, but as an entire Rishon village! They’ve had an awesome week trying out different cabin activities and really enjoyed going to Israeli Culture and the climbing tower.
C6- C6 Falafels started out the session on a great note picking out some awesome chugs (hobbies) and bonding as a cabin. They showed off their skills this week at the climbing tower and powered through the cold waters at the lake during their jet ski cabin activity.
C7- C7 Butterflies had such a fun first week fluttering around camp and deserved Oscars for their performances during Drama cabin activity. They also seemed very pleased to kick Kari’s (village supervisors) tush during their general sports cabin activity.
C8- The mighty cabin of C8 Amurrrica proved their role in the village during Wrestle Mania night when their superhero, Sky Storm, saved the village. They ladies have also really bonded during their different sports cabin activities and just found their inner calm during yoga today.
O1 – O1 has an amazing presence in the mighty village of Ohalim, always being enthusiastic and leading the way with incredible ruach and offering their roof to the village for the popular Ohalim game of “Roofball.” They’ve truly gotten into the camp spirit by tye-dying shirts at the art shack this week and can’t wait to show them off to the rest of camp!
O2 – O2 dominated our first evening program of Extreme Makeover: Cabin Edition by winning the crab-walk relay races and the Kung Fu tournament. At the climbing tower cabin activity this week, every camper got the chance to climb, and a few campers even mastered the hard wall
O3 – With a consistent presence in the Ohalim Ga-Ga pit, O3 is having a fantastically fun first week of camp! They’re one of the loudest, most spirited cabins during meals as they can always be heard leading cheers and singing songs, and have been chosen more than any cabin at camp to lead the prayers before and after meals!
O4 – O4 has had an incredible start to the session, and won Ohalim’s Silver Plunger (awarded to the cleanest cabin) on the second day of camp! They are having a great time, and really enjoyed the delicious cookies they made in their Outdoor Cooking cabin activity!
O6- The 06 Pixie Chicks are loving flying around on set skies and their late night chats with their counselors. They are having a ton of fun during this first week of camp, enjoying a whole range of activities from archery and soccer to the ropes course and teva (nature).
O7- The 07- Up had an awesome time doing their camp tie-dies ready to throw themselves into Camp Wise dress! Their schedule has been full and fun, including going down to the lake for jet skiing and relaxing with the guitar specialists during a song session.
O10- The -10 Monster Pen absolutely loves being theatrical! They have already experienced the drama activity and learned all the new games. They got to spend some time riding the horses around the paths of camp, and also made some awesome pottery at the ceramics activity!
NOAR – 8th grade
N1- The campers of N1 have had an amazing first few days here at camp. From bonding over cabin activities like Lily Pads and Israeli Culture to creating an amazing cabin dance during Campchella, there’s never been a dull moment. Through a huge amount of energy and ruach, N1 has created a truly incredible presence in the village of Noar.
N2- Though the campers of N2 have only been in Noar for a few days, they’ve already emerged as energetic leaders within the village. N2 has created a strong cabin identity, and it shows- they managed to win an evening of stargazing by taking home the most money during Casino Night! The campers of N2 have spirit, and it will be exciting to see what they accomplish over the next three weeks.
N6- Even the rain this week couldn’t keep N6 down- you’d be hard pressed to find an N6 camper without a giant smile on her face! Between cabin bonding, constant participation in village programs, and hilarious cheers, N6 has been an incredibly positive force in Noar. A definite highlight was turning their counselor Rachel into RT- Rex, during superheroes vs. super villains night. N6 has tremendous energy and enthusiasm, which will serve them well in the weeks to come.
N5- The campers of N5 have settled into Noar quite well, forming lasting bonds with both cabin mates and those in the village. N5 is constantly out and about in the Noar Village, and they’ve enjoyed participating in activities from mountain biking to archery over the past few days. N5 has a strong presence in Noar, and their leadership has been evident in all village programs such as Campchella.
NOAR – 9th grade
N3 – The N3 cabin of the mighty village of Noar has had an adventuresome first week soaring to new heights when they conquered the high ropes course! Not to mention, their creative expression of the music genre “country” at Noar’s Campchella evening program.
N4- The N4 boys of Noar have honed in on their DJ skills in their radio cabin activity when they broadcasted their own radio show all around camp! N4 also proved they knew their way around the blackjack table when they dominated at Casino Night.
N7- The N7 girls of Noar has had an awesome first week of camp hitting bull’s-eyes left and right at their cabin activity this week! They also had a blast during their evening programs and showed off their slick dance moves!
Camp may only be four days in, but in Solel it feels like it’s been four weeks. After spending the first two days jet skiing, and learning about Judaism in new and exciting ways, Solel hit the road to give in to the sweet tooth at Hershey Park! A tour of Chocolate World, and hours of roller coasters were both amazing, and the trip was capped off by a stop at one of the oldest street fairs in the country! After a trip like this, Solel is even more excited for week two!