Jul 13, 2018

Posted by: Kelsey O'Hara

Opening Campfire

Session 3, Day 2

The days at Ranch Camp start early, the mornings bright and full of energy. By 7:45, everyone is awake and ready to start the day, and gathered together in the commons for degel. The morning circle may be named for the raising of the flags, but is full of so much more. Besides both the American and Israeli national anthems, we sing the prayer “Modeh Ani” to welcome our souls back into our bodies, and “Shiga’on” to learn new Hebrew words every day.

After some rousing songs and a filling breakfast, the camp was bursting with the energy needed to start the day. The two older units – Metapsim and Toshavim – gathered in the commons to split up into their activity groups. Instead of spending all day with their cabins, the activity groups give campers the opportunity to branch out and make friends with kids in other cabins and units.

As the groups dispersed, shouts of joy and excited chatter could be heard all around camp. From the pool to teva, arts and crafts to mountain biking, ropes course to Israeli dancing, everyone was glad to finally get into the activities they’ve been looking forward to all year.

With everyone having so much fun, the time passed quickly, and lunch and Menucha came and went in the blink of an eye. Feeling refreshed, the camp gathered once again in the commons – not to break into activity groups, but to split up for chugs!

For many campers, chugs, or free activities, are the best parts of the day. Instead of following a schedule, they get to do the things that they are passionate and excited about. Usually, one of the chugs changes every day, while the other chug is a week-long activity. Today was slightly different, as the upcoming Shabbat would interrupt a week-long chug. Instead, we had two daily chugs, encouraging campers to explore the things that make camp exciting to them.

The day slowly began to wind down, the sun inching lower in the sky – but there was one last thing to do before bedtime: opening campfire.

The entire camp found seats on the logs around the campfire, the flame keeping the area bright as the sky grew dark. The bonds between campers, both new and old, were strengthened by the songs, stories, and s’mores that were shared. When the time came for everyone to go to bed, the campers walked away a little taller than they had come, fortified by the community they found themselves a part of. They fell asleep quickly, knowing they are in a place of belonging, and looking forward to seeing where their second family will take them.