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Created: July 01, 2024 | by Camp Galil
Opening Day!

Shalom (again) Galil Families!

We kicked the summer off to an excellent start today with first session opening day! As chanichimot (campers) threw all their last minute camp essentials into their suitcases and parents frantically checked traffic and weather predictions for Bucks County, tzevet (staff) and Madatz mobilized to set up the camp to welcome our campers and their families. By 10:30, the first cars were being waved into the parking lot, and our most serious shleppers were loading up trucks full of luggage to be delivered to the tzrifim (cabins).

After getting thoroughly lice-checked, chanichimot met their tzevet and set their things down in their tzrifim before exploring some fun stations with their parents. 

However –no offense to any parents reading this– the fun only really began after goodbyes were said. While lingering family members were gently nudged towards their cars, each kvutza (age group) sat down with their tzevet to go over the camp rules. If that sounds boring, please remember that this is Camp Galil. Over in the pavilion, Say-Tzo broke the ice as they defrosted rules from within massive frozen chunks, and at the basketball court, Chotrimot tensions burst along with water balloons, which, of course, each contained a laminated rule.

After learning each other’s names and ensuring that everyone knew not to go play in the woods during free time, each kvutzah went for a tour of machaneh and some of the people who help to make it a fun and welcoming place for chanichimot. Campers got to meet the goats in the Gan, make posters in the Beit Omanut, make cookies in the Mitbach, explore their sensory needs in the Mini Mo. They also got to meet several significant characters in camp life, such as the nurses, mazkirut (our leadership team), and many of our specialists. Some Madatz and tzevet came around to deliver snacks, and with their energy replenished, campers moved on to playing some sports, although unfortunately rain pushed everything indoors. Still, the chanichimot made the best of the situation, with some even inventing entirely new sports (see “sitting down gaga” below, which seems to involve gently pushing a ball across a spikeball net). Other campers took some time to sit and talk with friends new and old, occasionally inside of cabinets.

A bit later, all the chanichimot gathered in the Moadon, where they learned to sing “Banks of Marble,” a classic camp song which they then got to recite around the toren (flagpole) as we lowered the flags for the night. Then, it was time for dinner, prepared by our lovely tzevet mitbach. When everyone had finished eating, everyone stood on their benches, and madrichimot encouraged their kids to help lead their favorite chants. The meal ended with some birthday songs for Bogrimot chanich Eli, who turned 15 today!

The evening closed out with one last activity. In order to help them chose which chug (interest group) they would like to participate in this summer, chanichimot walked around to different stations and got to try out some of the different options. Ranging from frisbee to soapstone carving to potato, every camper had an opportunity to find something that piqued their curiosity and creativity. 

As the chanichimot headed off to get ready for bed, I asked Gabe, one of our madatz, how he felt after opening day. He responded that he had been “very caught up in the moment.” Especially on the first day of camp, it can be easy to get so focused on the days to come that the present slips right by, and by the time the final day arrives, it feels like no time at all has passed. But in many ways, the magic of Camp Galil lives not in the hectic crazy programming but in the small moments. A deep conversation between an unlikely pair, a hair-braiding session on the porch of a tzrif, a four-leaf clover found on kikar, a madrichol who manages to say exactly what a chanichol needs to hear, an offer to share some toothpaste in the bik. Tonight, as we welcome in the summer, possibility dances in the humid air.