Final Day at Camp Kesher
Wow! What a beautiful ending to camp!
Shabbat morning started with a breakfast kiddush, followed by Jew Jitsu and the priorities game (a game in which teams of campers were asked to order their life priorities including health, money, family and Judaism). Shabbos lunch was extraordinary as we celebrated the Bar Mitzvahs of Jayden M. and Josh M. as well as the Bat Mitzvah of Betty K., one of our beloved counselors. The three of them spoke beautifully about their Jewish growth and together, we all danced and sang ‘siman tov, u’mazal tov.’ We continued with rest hour, a Shabbat walk, board games, an Israeli shuk style carnival, open gym and then a farewell banquet. Campers were given the opportunity to speak and shared how much they gained in camp. Counselors then gave out awards and each camper received a siddur, prayer boo,k to take home. Shabbat ended with singing and a beautiful havdallah. The campers enjoyed hot pretzels while they packed, and spent their last night of camp with friends (and hopefully getting some sleep:).
I just wanted to take a moment to thank the parents who entrusted us with their children. I know it isn’t easy to part with them, but each and every child in the camp enhanced Kesher in their own way. The banquet told it all, as the campers got up and shared just how much they gained. I spoke about how, as year 2 campers, everyone in their room is helping create to a movement. Camp Kesher was created as a safe and fun camp where campers can enhance their Jewish connection. We hope you will consider sending your kids back for summer 2022 (details to come shortly) and please watch out for the early bird and returnee discounts that will be offered.
Please do not hesitate to be in touch with me if you need anything. Looking forward to an incredible year. Stay in touch.
p.s. please excuse any grammatical errors. It is currently after 2 am:…
Camp Kesher Day 11
Today was back to a regular schedule at camp, filled with clubs and a variety of bunk activities. Whether it be playing in the park, the splash pad, or a game of sand volleyball, everyone had fun. The girls enjoyed a spa day in the late afternoon, making face masks, painting their nails and laying at the pool with cucumbers on their eyes. Night activity was Revenge of the Nerd! Everyone dressed up in their nerdiest outfits, and competed head-to-head in spelling bees, mental maths games, name that plants, and camping bingo. The activity was followed by a camp-wide campfire with Meira Spivak giving us words of inspiration and we approach the end of camp.
Camp Kesher Day 10
Today was Color War! All throughout the day, campers competed in a variety of competitions to earn points for their team. We started the morning with cake wars, where each team made a cake representing their team names and colors, the heavens (red) and the earth (blue), followed by relay races and team meetings. We ate lunch in silence and then heard the team D’var Torah and saw the beautiful dining room decorations. In the afternoon we had swimming races, basketball, and soccer games and a number of campers worked on the final presentation. Finally, in the evening, we heard the poetry slam competition and team songs, and saw the beautiful banners. With much anticipation, the winner was decided – the blue team! Congratulations to all the campers, and to everyone for putting in plenty of effort to help their team.
Camp Kesher Day 9!
What a beautiful day at the Macleay Conference and Retreat Center in Salem! Campers were ready to spend time in the new facilities and appreciate everything it had to offer. The day was filled with new clubs, including book club, running club, soccer, creative writing, crafting, jewelry making, yearbook, shabbat shuk and swimming as well as some repeats from last week (baking and basketball). The grounds here are incredible and there is a lot of open space to enjoy. Bunk activities included a big game of beach (sand) volleyball, the splash pad, swimming and a mega dodgeball game in the gym. During our night activity of Jeopardy, we broke out color war for the camp (color was is a combination of field day, Maccabia and America’s Got Talent:)! With the whole camp filled with energy,, the teams and captains were announced. Everyone was given roles and started preparing for the day to come. As night fell, the kids went to sleep excited for the day to come.
Camp Kesher Day 8
Camp Kesher woke up early this morning in Maupin for an action packed day. We collapsed our tents, folded our sleeping bags, had breakfast and then headed to white water rafting on the Deschutes River. It was incredible. There was not one camper who didn’t enjoy. Many even jumped in the water for a quick swim. The rapids were fun and not too intense. Each raft was led by a guide so the campers felt comfortable and safe. In the afternoon we went to the Triskelee Farm, a petting zoo/barn where we saw ostriches, and pet the alpacas, and other cool animals. We finished the trip with delicious falafel delivered to the farm. After our long and busy day, we arrived at our new destination, the Macleay Conference and Retreat Center, for the second week of camp. We unpacked and have set up our new base. We are excited for the upcoming days!
Camp Kesher Day 8
Our second week of Kesher began with a jam packed morning. We finished packing up our entire camp, and began the travel to our second destination in Oregon. This move allowed for our big overnight camping trip, in Maupin, OR. We headed out, stopping along the way for a short hike and lunch by a beautiful waterfall at the Beaver Falls Trailhead. We spent a lot of time by the natural pool and water. After that, we continued to our overnight campgrounds in Maupin, Oregon. We built tents with our bunks as a team-building exercise. Soon after the grills were hot and food was cooking, we had delicious burgers, hotdogs, and chicken (with vegan options, of course). At night, we had a campfire with everyone together, singing and schmoozing and making s’mores. After a long day, campers enjoyed relaxing in their tents and quickly fell asleep.
Camp Kesher Day 7
Wow! Our first Shabbat at Camp Kesher was a blast. Campers had 25 hours full of activities (don’t worry, they slept too!), notably Jewpardy, improv games, and our Shabbos carnival. We ran a gaga tournament, played in the game room and had a board game round robin. We all enjoyed the yummy food that the campers prepared on Friday, giving credit after each dish to those who prepared it. The campers attended an ‘Ask the Rabbi’ session by Rabbi Spivak where they were able to ask any question they ever had on Judaism. We closed out Shabbat with ebbing (a time of meaningful singing an a Jewish story), followed by a glow in the dark havdallah and dancing. The video of the havdallah dancing will be posted soon on social media. After Shabbat, the campers enjoyed hot pretzels as they finished their packing their bags. Tomorrow morning we head out on our 2-day trip and are excited for the adventure ahead. If you do not receive a blogpost tomorrow night, it is because of limited reception.
Overall, everyone had a really fun time and we can’t wait for next Shabbat!
Camp Kesher Day 6
Happy Friday! As we wrap up our action packed week at Camp Kesher, we finish by preparing for Shabbat, the culmination of the week. Instead of regular activities, we spent our morning in the dining room preparing food for Shabbat. Each station offered campers different opportunities, including challah braiding, soup and cholent making, and cake, cookie and pie making. By the afternoon, everything was cooked and cooled and the dining room and bunks were cleaned. Campers finished their club activities for this week and we are all excited to finish the day with singing and dancing.
Camp Kesher Day 5
We’ve past the halfway mark of week 1 at Camp Kesher! This morning, we did a camp-wide tie-dye activity. Everyone received white t-shirts with the NCSY Camp Kesher logo, and enjoyed the fun staining the shirts with a multitude of colors. Within a few hours, the shirts were dry and the campers had a beautiful and crazy tie-dye Camp Kesher shirt.
In the afternoon, we went on a trip – roller skating! Camp Kesher rented out the entire rink and we had a great time skating with friends and enjoying some cold ice cream and snacks.We had time for free skating, as well as musical skate-dancing and skating games. We returned to camp for a healthy dinner, followed by sleeping in the caravans (Division 1 and 2, the Matzah Balls and Falafels) and the “newleywed” get to know you game and Pillow Fight dodgeball (Division 3 – the schwarmas). I’ll bet you’ve never played that before.
Can’t wait for tomorrow as the whole camp prepares for Shabbos!
Camp Kesher Day 4
What a fun day! From the morning, campers were busy at activities. Many of them finished up their club projects. Just walking around and seeing their proud faces as they showed off their artwork, woodworking, sports or survival skills, was extremely meaningful,
We kicked off lunch with a ‘wild west’ pinata activity and ate the delicious soup from cooking club (along with pizza bagels, fries and a huge salad bar). We announced that “Bunk Night” was coming and each bunk had to prepare a skit or a rap. And what a great job they did. Of course, they really enjoyed the counselor skit, as each counselor dressed up as a peer.
The oldest division then changed into pajamas and headed to the bonfire. Each camper was asked to share something nice about a peer or staff and they had the nicest things to say – “x was so nice to me because they gave me a towel when I didn’t have one,” or “I truly appreciate my counselors who do so much for us.” They then continued to the caravans where they slept the night (don’t worry, there are bunk beds in the caravans).
The campers once again went to bed tired and content.