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Created: July 09, 2024 | by Camp Galil
Galil goes Down Under

Shalom Galil Families!

As the burning Ottsville sun rose over Machaneh Galil this morning, chanichimot shook off the post special day slump and dragged themselves to the toren. As always, they sang songs, raised the flags, and then sat for Ivrit Shimushit. At breakfast, campers and tzevet of a more carnivorous inclination were delighted to find a rare meat breakfast awaiting them. Unfortunately for committed milk drinkers, the laws of kashrut limited them to oat or soy to pair with their meal. Breakfast was followed by avodah and nikayon tzrif. In communications sadna, the Bogrimot played a game to create a silly story together and then acted it out through a series of photos.

Despite the heat, Galil’s famous ropes course opened today! First up on the schedule were the Amelimot. From sadnaot to the late afternoon, our youngest chanichimot had the opportunity to attempt a lot of challenging obstacles and games. They started out with some fun confidence-building exercises such as trust falls, which served a dual purpose of teaching them how to spot each other. With those new spotting skills in mind, the amels moved on to some low ropes activities, such as slack lines and the tire traverse. While some kids preferred to stay close to the ground, others decided to put on helmets and harnesses and brave the high ropes. Although not all of them made it especially far on each obstacle, every camper had an opportunity to safely step out of their comfort zone at a pace that was right for them. 

Back on main camp, we switched up the schedule a bit to try and beat the heat. Right after lunch, chanichimot went straight to sports, all of which incorporated some water elements. Next up was pish, kibbud, and chuggim, all followed by a camp-wide mandatory free swim. Before they had a chance to dry off, chanichimot moved to the basketball court for a fun and creative alternative to normal shira organized by Rosh Machaneh Julia herself. In order to save the endangered small-toothed sawfish, each kvutzah learned a special chant and then presented it to the rest of camp. Depending on the level of ruach (spirit) they demonstrated, each group was either hosed down by Julia or allowed to turn the sprayer back on their friends in other kvutzot.

During dinner, several madatz dressed as flight attendants walked around distributing plane tickets. Later, when chanichimot came to the mo, they were seated and told that they were on their way to Hawaii. However, after some unexpected weather and some geographical reorganization, the entirety of machaneh found themselves stranded in Australia for the next three months!

Based on their assigned boarding group, chanichimot moved through stations based on Australian culture and life. Each activity was run by a different Australian celebrity, many of whom were our own actual real life Aussie madrichimot in costumes and slightly exaggerated accents. By the end of the night, chanichimot had tried vegemite, learned some Aussie slang, identified poisonous animals, and learned an fun new dance.

Between rising temperatures and a general second-week slump, keeping spirits up has been a bit of a challenge lately. In addition, as kids grow more comfortable both with being on camp and with their kvutzot, they can start to be much more interested in having free time to hang out with their friends than in participating in scheduled programming. Often, the solution is to shake things up a bit. Although the routine of camp is how we make sure that everything happens on time and as it should go, the rhythm of the seder yom has potential to become a lullaby. Wake up, hitkansut boker, breakfast, avodah, sadna, pish, lunch, chuggim, sports, shira, dinner, tochinit erev, go to bed, do it all again tomorrow. No matter how interesting or fun or cool each of those things are individually, boredom breeds in the routine. But by being responsive to the mood of the chanichimot, tzevet are able to continuously reassess how to keep being a camper at Galil a fun, exciting experience. For example, switching up shira today was orignally a response to the heat, but it also helped make something that kids are getting a bit used to into a more engaging and memorable experience. It’s hard to forget a chant after getting doused with hose water for not knowing it well enough. As we move deeper into the many long weeks of camp, finding ways to keep everything fun and new for even the most seasoned campers is essential to keeping up the fun. When the summer ends, kids will remember the most exciting, most unique experiences they had, so we do our best to make as many things as possible worthy of the highlight reels in their minds.