Jun 17, 2018

Posted by: Emily Reilly

Shavua Tov: One Last Week

Session 1, Days 8-9

Another week has gone by since the first Shabbat of the summer. What was, seven days ago, a new experience, is now a time that the whole camp looks forward to. On Friday night, campers were free to sit anywhere in the Chad instead of with their cabin, and danced with friends on the basketball court as the sun went down.

Though Friday night is the image that immediately comes to mind went the words “Ranch Camp Shabbat” are uttered, observing the Sabbath continues into Saturday. Morning services here at camp are especially unique. Usually, it would be hard for a kid to get as excited for services as the zip line or horseback riding – but sitting and listening to prayers is only a small part of the Saturday morning ritual. The services start with a dance to a Hebrew song to get out some jitters and energy. Campers and staff sing along to the prayers with movements and clapping, and some cabin groups go onstage to lead songs. The, during the Torah service, groups of campers come onto the stage to do alyiah – and Shahar, from Cabin 5, even read directly from the Torah to the whole camp!

For many campers, the most exciting part of services came after the prayers had finished, with a camp-wide game show called “Israel or Not?” Campers competed to guess which snack foods existed in Israel to win the foods and share them with their cabin. Others had to compete to use every Hebrew word we’ve learned over the past week in one sentence.

The rest of the day was very relaxed, as Shabbat should be, with cabin time, a shiur (meaning “lesson,” about this week’s Torah portion), and free activities with chocolate canteen in between. After such a calm day, the kids were looking forward to some activity – and they were in luck, as the evening program was Pokémon Go.

Like in many evening programs, campers worked as teams within their cabin groups. As they ran around camp, the groups had to hold up a cardboard frame that was decorated to look like a phone screen and target staff members, or Pokémon, in the frame. Once a Pokémon was caught, campers had to throw dodgeballs through the screens and hit the Pokémon in order to capture them, and then bring them to one of three Pokéstops located around camp to earn points. Depending on the type, Pokémon were between 10 and 50 points – and this was a high scoring game, as enthusiasm for the activity soared and campers threw themselves into the competition with gusto.

The end of the evening marks the beginning of a new week, and the last week of session one. It is already incredible to see how much all of the campers have grown. The session may be more than halfway over, but there is still so much in store, and so many more opportunities for each camper to learn, grow, and succeed.