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.