22 June 2008

Into the Woods...

Had I written this post a few days ago, I could've just written about the great night I had in the woods. But after what seems like 10 years (a week?), I can more accurately portray what happened on my campout night.

Linat Lilah / Sleep-out is a required part of the session for all campers, in one form or another. I chose the days with the camping staff during staff week. The kids pack during rest hour, leave camp proper during perek zayin / 7th period, carrying only their sleeping bags and other essentials, and come back after breakfast the following morning. Fairly simple, yes?

On Sunday, my boys were supposed to sleep out. There was a lightning storm (I saw the flash over the lake!) and they were postponed. We rebooked for the following night. Girls and boys alike went out that afternoon -- the boys to one site, the girls to another. I started out with the boys, walking with them across a creek to drop off supplies at the site. After a few minutes with the boys, I had a machanaut /camping staff guy walk me over to the girls' site, with one of my female staff. I had every intention of returning, but...

...it was nearly dark when I got to the girls' site. Prepared to sleep out (I brought my hoodie to throw on over my already-worn-for-24-hours outfit -- I was roughing it!), I stacked my stuff with the girls' belongings, and took to playing with the kids. It grew too dark to walk back to the boys, so I figured I'd go join them for the nature-walk tefillot / prayers planned for the morning.

The rest of the night with the girls was great. We ate pizza cooked by our machanaut / camping team, enjoyed the fondue they concocted, played gibush / teambuilding games, and listened to a story on respect for people from one of camp's finest storytellers. After dessert, it was time for bed, and everybody went to their shared tents. I bunked up with two of my junior counselors (both superstars). After maybe 10 minutes, I was out. Gone. Zonked. That borrowed sleeping bag from the Mack Shack (nickname for the camping center in main camp) on the tent floor was the best bed I've slept in since I left Israel.

The next morning, I awoke refreshed. I set out to the boys' site, hoping to make the main part of tefillot, but it was not to be. That's right, I couldn't find it in BROAD DAYLIGHT. Good thing I decided not to walk there at night! I made my way back to the girls' site as they were finishing up tefillot, joined them for breakfast, and went back to camp.

I went immediately to my staff meeting, wearing the same clothes from the night before. I'd added only a bandana, wrapped around my head in order to keep my greasy hair out of sight. It became the source of amusement for the day.

Whenever anybody asked me how my day was, I responded that it was AMAZING. I loved it. Best sleep I've gotten -- and the most sleep I've gotten -- since I left Israel! The food was great, the girls were good, and as far as I could tell, the boys had fun, too. I found out later that day that I was the only one that slept, as the girls kept each other up with various forms of noisiness over the course of the evening.

20 June 2008

Yom Goof

The theme of my eidah/ age group is derekh eretz / the way of the land (literally, respect for oneself and others). For our first yom meyuchad / special day, filled with 8 hours of programming provided by my staff, we designated the theme as Yom Goof / Body Day. I figured they'd get a chance to explore the good things we can do with out bodies, and the good things we can do for our bodies.

We did chalk outlines of ourselves, labelling the different parts (this is my heart, I like playing soccer with my feet, etc...) and discussing how our bodies need to be respected. We made trail mix, played human foosball, drew with crayons, decorated with stickers and had a goofy fashion show.

The idea behind the fashion show was that we would dress in our goofiest outfits. In addition to playing on the hebrew word for body, we were also able to tie in a respect and understanding about those with physical, outward diversity.

It may have just been an excuse to wear my helmet.

The whole ensemble in all its glory.

That stands for my name (in Hebrew). It's also the abbreviation for the words for homework in Hebrew, and the name of some elite part of the Israeli army.

Mah Yesh Lanu? Ko-ko-ko-ko-ko-chavim!
(What do we have here? St-st-st-st-st-stars!)

Mi Anachnu? Ko-cha-vim, Wooooooo!
(Who are we? St-Ar-S! Wooo!)

By the way, check out the view from the door of my room.

18 June 2008

Lunch Money...

Mark: hey remember when we used to talk? and then camp came and stole you away like so much lunch money on the playground?
and hey remember when you were in israel and we spoke more!

My brother makes a good point (from an online chat yesterday). I'm in room checking envelopes to make sure my kids wrote home. I'm someone else's lunch money now. It's good though -- the job is good.

15 June 2008


My fans out there have been asking what's up at camp. I wouldn't say I'm prioritizing right now...It's after 2am camp time, I just took a shower after "closing camp" ("Declare camp closed? Is it like bankruptcy? Do I need to fill out paperwork?" -- who gets the Office reference?). Today was long. Shabbat is good, because there are no walkie talkies. But it's bad because...um...there are no walkie talkies. Anyway, priorities? Sometimes a girl just needs some ME time.

Not only has the staff arrived, but the campers are here as well. Since I'm a little unclear as to what my limitations are about posting online stuff about camp, the best stories will have to stay offline. In all honesty, I'm sure that any posting online about camp is against policy....But I do have one story that's safe:

Friday afternoon, all camp has lunch on the kikar, the patchy rectangle of grass that passes for a soccer field outside of the dining hall complex. We all enjoyed pizza, and desperately scrambled to hydrate in the crazy heat wave. I walked into the bottom floor of the dining hall, and I saw one of my girls with her cheeks puffed out (hamster-style). I stopped her, and her friend, and I asked her what she was doing. She turned red. I asked her if she was going to spit at someone. The friend started giggling. Hamster-girl's eyes widened. I said, "don't laugh, hamster-girl." She started to twitch. Thinking I had her, I kept on going with the "don't laugh" methodology, thinking she'd swallow.

And then I was covered, from head to toe, in camper spit.

Her logical consequence? I told people how it was that my shirt, pants and glasses all had water stains on them. Hamster-girl began giggling. Hilarity all around.

Thankfully I love this stuff -- the stuff that happens at camp. It was really funny. But I'm delirious right now....so it's BED time!

03 June 2008

The Long Way Home

So...to make a VERY long (36-hour) story short:

I was delayed at Ben Gurion for 4 hours. When we got on the plane, I sat with scouts working at Texas camps that I'm familiar with. We had breakfast at 5AM and chicken for breakfast at 615AM. We landed in JFK after a bumpy flight.

I got into a fight with a customs security guy, but this time I didn't get almost-arrested for cell phone use. I met Meredith. I got rebooked on a later, standby flight out of EWR. We went to the city and couldn't find parking, so no storage unit and no brunch.

Meredith drove my sorry tush to NJ, where the only place we knew of to find food was IKEA, where we had Mac and Cheese. It was delicious. I checked in at AirTran, where they charge you nearly full ticket price for fat bags. Then, they give you pretzels on the plane that remind you how cheap their flights are. Liars. And that flight was even bumpier than my long flight -- ice literally jumped from my cup to the seat in the turbulence. At least they had XM radio.

Got to ATL. Took a shuttle to Gainesville, GA. Got picked up by Rafi. He brought me food. He is an angel. He brought me to camp. I showered, he made my bed, and I went to sleep.

So now I'm at camp. Still not sure if I'm going to write more.

But while I'm blasting corporations, let me just write here that Lingo and their VOIP service is the WORST. They are terrible. Never use their service and tell your friends to switch to Vonage.

I have a lot of work to do, so...Shalom! It's great to be back in the states!