Written by: Yoelle G.
As a returning camper of Tel Yehudah going into my second year, I already had my expectations set. Though part of me does miss my counselors from last year, I am so happy to have gotten the chance to know my new ones. I admire the diversity of the staff (considering their varying backgrounds, whether it be Israeli, American, Russian, etc.) and their ability to work well with each other. Going even beyond the counselors, I love the cultural blending of the campers as one big camp community. Just having a conversation with one person can give so much insight into their traditions in comparison to my own. I was also very happy to see how inclusive the community was towards the campers who were coming here for the first time. In fact, one of my new best friends is new to the experience, and she fits in so well that it’s hard to tell.
So far, we’ve done a range of enjoyable activities, including a scavenger hunt known as “Escape the Pool,” a glow in the dark color war, and an adventurous camping experience in Gimmel, another site of camp located 15 minutes away where we could participate in building tents, cooking food, nature games with the Israeli Scouts, and the traditional s'mores in front of the campfire along with a series of scary stories. Essentially, the variety of activities allows us to experience new things and make unforgettable memories.
To balance the fun with an educational opportunity, campers are also exposed to Jewish prayers, singing, and dancing on Shabbat (an event we look forward to where we dress up and relax), as well as different lessons planned to teach us to be more aware of our Russian-Jewish heritage, considering we are a part of the Havurah program. To conclude, with only being in the second week of camp, I have already been able to make new friends who live across the world, participate in activities I would not have been able to away from camp, and discover a part of my identity I have never been in touch with before.