FRIDAY, AUGUST 12th 2022
It was another wonderful week at camp!
After sending last week’s Shabbat Message, we all gathered together at the Sara Stern Amphitheatre for Friday night prayers. This is always a wonderful time for our kids who love mixing with all of the age groups for the special service led by our SITS.
On Saturday morning the campers enjoyed a much needed sleep in before heading into the chadar for a cinnamon bun breakfast (yum). They then broke off into groups for “Yom Pride” programming. While each unit did a different age-appropriate activity, the purpose was the same; to remind each and every one of our campers that they are unique and that they should feel pride in all of the things that make them the special person that they are.
Later that evening the campers enjoyed our traditional Saturday night BBQ followed by Carnival night. As always, the campers loved bouncing around on the many amazing toys we brought in for the evening. It was a especially nice for us to see so many of our older and younger campers connecting through play!
We started our second round of chugs on Monday with the Hatikvah campers getting to choose from the following: Archery, Basketball, Beading, California Kickball, Gaga, Pickleball, Ping Pong, Running, Science, Soccer, Tennis and Volleyball. The campers in the science chug were especially excited to be given the opportunity to build robots. This is a new program that was made possible through the generous support of our 2022 Annual Campaign donors and we wanted to take the opportunity to thank those who contributed. We very much appreciate you sharing in our commitment to find new and inspiring activities for our kids.
On Tuesday we said goodbye to our Kochavim campers and we sure were sad to see them go. They were little bundles of energy and joy and they are very missed.
On Wednesday the SIT campers when on a special hike up Oyama Mountain with Liza. They really enjoyed this challenge and felt a great deal of accomplishment upon their return. Our Kochot campers also headed out on an adventure of their own as they paddled to Marshall point on a little off-camp day trip. We were so proud of their efforts!
On Thursday we welcomed our Giborim campers. All of these kids are first-time campers but you sure wouldn’t know it! While they have been here for just over a day, they look like old pros! They jumped right into the fun – heading down to the docks and fully embracing everything our camp has to offer. In fact, they were so eager to start their second day of their experience that they woke their counsellors up at 5:45 am this morning roaring to go. Thank goodness they are soooo cute!
Today was a lovely day at camp. The kids are hard at play and laughter can be heard all around. It’s hard to believe that this is our last shabbat of our regular program. We are looking forward to enjoying every second of it along with every treasured moment of the final few days of camp.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 5th 2022
What a week!
While most of our First Session campers left camp Friday morning, two groups stayed behind. The first group were our Kochot Plus campers who are staying for an extra week. After a little rest Friday morning, they packed up and headed to Silver Star Mountain for two days of adventure. During this time they hiked, rode the gondola, watched a biking competition and were even treated to a movie in a private 24 person theatre. They all really enjoyed the opportunity to bond off camp (at a safe distance from others) but the highlight was most certainty the fact that their lodge rooms came equipped with HOT TUBS. Lucky kids!
While our Kochot Plus campers were getting pampered, our S.I.T campers were roughing it in nature on their four night canoe trip on the Shushwap. They paddled, built their own tents and cooked their own food. What is most special, however, is the relationship building that happens on a trip like this. There is just something about being in the great outdoors that promotes bonding and memory making and these campers soaked up every minute of it. We were so proud of them for stepping out of their comfort zones and really embracing the opportunities given to them on this trip.
On Sunday morning, we welcomed our Second Session and Kochavim campers and they seriously couldn’t be any cuter. They all bounced out of cars or off the bus with so much positive energy. Not wanting to waste a second of their time at camp, they hopped right into the fun – or the lake we should say!
On Tuesday, our grade 3 through 5 campers were divided into their chugs. This week, we will be offering: archery, basketball, crafts, gaga, hockey, outdoor education, ping pong, soccer, tennis and yoga. Each camper was assigned two of these activities based on the preferences they advised us of prior to arriving at camp. They will do these activities all week and then switch into a different set of options the following week.
Our grade 6 through 8 campers are also offered chugs but their format looks a little different. Recognizing their desire for a little more choice and their ability to be a little more independent, these campers get to choose which chugs they do on a daily basis. This week they will be offered the following activities to choose from: archery, badminton, basketball, beading, crafts, hockey, pickleball, soccer, theatre sports and volleyball. What fun!
Once our day 3 COVID screening tests came back all clear, we quickly rushed to dissolve our cohorts and introduce our Grade 3 campers to their S.I.T. buddies. This is always a special part of our program for both age groups who reveled in the opportunity to get to know eachother while enjoying the A-Dock.
We also gave our Kochot Plus campers an opportunity to mentor younger campers when they spent a few hours on the waterfront with Kochavim yesterday. Though most of our Kochot Plus campers are just thirteen years old, they did a great job interacting with the younger kids and helping out our staff. Kol Hakavod to this group for their kindness, energy and leadership.
The weather turned on us a bit yesterday and so we decided to turn things around as well. With temperatures lower than normal we decided to take the opportunity to run MACCABIAH a few days early so the kids would't have to battle the heat while battling eachother! The campers quickly got into the action and we took such joy watching them participate in a little healthy competition. In just 24 hours they did the maccabathon, tug of war, a dance-a-thon, silent dinner, secret mission and cheered their hearts out. It was a great day!
This morning we said goodbye to our Kochot Plus campers who headed home after 5 weeks of fun. This new experience was an incredible success and we are grateful to the parents who signed up for this little pilot project; we so enjoyed having your kids with us!
The campers are now cleaning themselves up and getting ready for Shabbat. We look forward to our S.I.T. campers leading services before we head into a delicious Shabbos dinner. Following this, we will all head to the arena for a little Rikud (Israeli dancing) and lots of amazing fun!
FRIDAY, JULY 29th 2022
It's hard to believe that First Session has come to an end.
We had a wonderful final week of the session. Knowing that the days were running out, our campers fully immersed themselves into everything our camp has to offer. Determined to finish their swimming lessons or have 'one last ski', they embraced every opportunity for fun with energy and excitement.
Both of our Kochot groups went out on their overnights to Beaver Lake at the beginning of the week. For many, this was their first time camping under the stars and they had a wonderful time trying new things, learning new skills and embracing nature.
On Monday, our SIT campers got a chance to be staff for a day as part of "Yom Chanichim". They were energetic, confident and caring as they tried out various roles around camp. It was amazing to see them in action and the younger campers really enjoyed the opportunity to connect with them in this new way. There is nothing more beautiful than seeing our older campers mentor our younger ones - its the best of what we do!
On Wednesday we were all treated to the MOST WONDERFUL performance of Disney's "The Lion King Kids" by our Hatikvah musical theatre chug. This is the first time in decades the camp has put on a licensed musical and boy did these kids impress. They sang and danced their hearts out and the audience was in awe of their ability to put together such a great show in such a short amount of time. Kol Hakovod to the amazing cast and the staff who stepped up to lead these very talented kids.
On Wednesday night, the Chalutzim & Gesher campers showcased themselves in a talent show. To state that our campers are incredible is an understatement. We loved watching them shine!
The SITs headed off on their 4 night canoe trip on Thursday. Some were a bit nervous for a trip of this length while others were roaring to go. What we can say for sure is that this is going to be the experience of a lifetime. The group already has a strong foundation but we know they are going to return more bonded and closer than ever.
Thursday night was banquet night and this year's theme was "Once Upon A Time". Our staff dressed up as all sorts of fun characters and the campers really appreciated their effort and creativity. Dinner was followed by awards night and then an amazing dance party. The campers then headed off to "bed" - who are we kidding - no one slept. The Hatikvah campers had one last bonding session and the Kochot campers laughed the night away with eachother.
When we said goodbye to the campers this morning we were overcome by all sorts of emotion; Sadness, because we will miss these wonderful kids tremendously. Pride, because of everything they accomplished and finally joy, because we know what we all just experienced together was pure magic.
It was an amazing session filled with incredible memories and we are grateful to all of the campers for enriching us with their presence.
FRIDAY, JULY 22nd 2022
We had another awesome week at camp!
After prayers last Friday we had the opportunity to watch an amazing Oneg Shabbat written by two Grade 5 campers – Benjamin Jacobson and Olivia Glasner. It was fabulous to see the kids perform so beautifully and especially meaningful because it was a production run entirely by the campers. We were so proud of them!
On Saturday we had a little sleep in and then proceeded to our relaxed Shabbat schedule. Campers spent time doing leisurely activities around camp and just enjoying eachother’s company. Our Kochot 1 campers had a very special surprise when Liza announced that she was taking them off camp for ice cream. Needless to say, they were delighted.
Survivor started on Sunday. The two-day challenge was fun not only for the participants but also for the camp as a whole who love watching to see who can “out-smart, out-play and out-last” one another. The campers engaged in numerous physical and mental challenges until it was down to one winner – Paul Zychlinski! Congrats Paul.
This week’s evening programs were super engaging. Both Chalutzim and SITs loved playing giant versions of classic games (picture human hungry-hippos) and Kochot reveled in the opportunity to soak eachother in a giant water fight hosted by Liza! The Hatikvah campers also really enjoyed “Erev Mazel Tov” where they roamed through the Jewish holidays.
We also did “Dancing with the Staff” this week which is always a camp favourite. Our oldest campers love pairing up with the staff for the performance and our younger campers love watching this incredibly entertaining tradition. Congratulations to Julia Andison and Aaron Casseres for coming in first place.
As we wind down the week, our Kochot and S.I.T. campers are starting to get excited for their out-trips. Kochot 1 is the first to go on Sunday followed by Kochot 2 and then our S.I.T.s who are heading out for a for several special nights under the stars. We are excited to welcome a professionally trained outdoor education specialist to guide the campers – a first for our camp – and are looking forward to sharing all about the campers experiences in a future message.
Tonight is our last Shabbat of First Session and we look forward to enjoying it with a lively rikud session. There is truly nothing more special than watching our campers dance their hearts out together to Israeli pop music. It's pure nachus!