Friday, July 30, 2010

Revolution and Tiyul

We’ve had an amazingly busy week at Gilboa!

The day after visitor’s day, the Madatz kvutsa decided they were tired of being left out of tzevet (staff) planning, so they staged a revolution and kicked the madrichim out of camp! The chanichim walked into breakfast to find that they had been transported to the Garden of Eden. The trees were in bloom and the water was crisp and fresh as the chanichim enjoyed a meal of fresh fruit, yogurt, pancakes, and froot loops. The chanichim remained in paradise until lunch, when they ate from the Tree of Knowledge. After expulsion from the garden, the chanichim learned to survive in a barren wasteland by playing games and building up the community. In their kvutsot, the chanichim explored ideas of ignorance versus knowledge, as well as the difference between competitive and shared learning; ultimately, they came to the conclusion that sharing knowledge is more synergetic and positive. The revolution ended with a machaneh-wide game of human Stratego to practice working together.

Our only yom ragil (regular day) of the week followed Revo, because this Wednesday and Thursday were Tiyul (hike) days! On Wednesday, the chanichim set out on various tiyulim. The length of the hike varied according to the age of the chanichim. While the Amelim, Psycho, and Shomrim took a trail from South Fork to Poopout Hill, the Bonim and the Bogrim hiked five miles beyond Poopout Hill to another trailhead off of Highway 38. The Madatz set out on a two days hike to the top of Old Greyback—the tallest mountain in Southern California! Everyone spent the night under the stars at the “Pa Pa Tuchus” campsite before heading to swim in Big Bear Lake the following day. We spent Thursday at Big Bear Lake playing card games, tossing around Frisbees, digging moats in the sand, and splashing around in the water! Exhausted but happy, we returned to the warm food and showers at machaneh. In the evening, the whole machaneh cuddled in sleeping bags in the chadar ochel while we watched “The Princess Bride.”

Now we are getting ready to ring in Shabbat with clean tzrifim, showers, and some necessary rest and relaxation!

Monday, July 26, 2010

This weekend brought with it the first Shabbat of second session. Shabbat is always one of the most special parts of the week. Our schedule is completely revamped for Shabbat in order to create an atmosphere of relaxation and study. We start each Shabbat morning with a guided meditation, a discussion of the Parasha (weekly torah portion) and a series of chugim (clubs) on various topics that lend themselves to engaged, intellectual conversation. Shabbat peaks with Havdallah – a spiritual experience in which the whole camp looks at the stars while listening to music and reflecting on their week. We sing and enjoy each other’s company before returning to the rest of the week.
This week, the rest of the week started with visitors' day. Parents, family and friends came to Gilboa to share the camp experience (and plenty of food from home). The day was filled with singing, conversation, swimming and fun. For the camp-wide performance the chanichim sang Yachad for the visitors. Then the visitors were invited to sing Hallelujah, along with the chanichim. Afterward, chanichim were sad to see their parents leave, but happy to get back to focusing on their friends and on the schedule of camp. For photos of visitors' day, please follow the link:

Friday, July 23, 2010

Shabbat At Machane Gilboa

Rikudei Am (Israeli Dancing)

Amelim (4th and 5th grade) on the bridge
Gilboa's Avoda (work) groups
Kishutim L'Shabbat (decorations for Shabbat)

Nagarut (Carpentry)

Knitting Water Bottle Straps

Second session photos

By the Tzrif (cabin)
Bonim (9th grade) and madatz by the pool

A lovely welcome for Shomrim (8th graders)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

T'sha B'av

Last night we commemorated the holiday T'sha B'av. Traditionally a day of mourning and sadness, we used this holiday as an opportunity to show the chanichim that we can give meaning to holidays in different ways. For the first half of the Tochnit Erev (Evening Program), we did a round robin of tableaus (frozen scenes) depicting tragic events in Jewish history that are traditionally remembered on this holiday. Then we went through the round robin again, but this time the scenes had changed into acts of resistance and hope that came out of those events. Each tableau had a madrich explaining the scene. For instance, Christallnacht became the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, while the Spanish Inquisition became the secret practice of Judaism in Catholic Spain. After this Double Round Robin, we divided into groups and talked about different events that one might choose to add to the commemoration and how each event could change the meaning of the holiday. Some groups said they would include the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin while others chose the capture of Gilad Shalit. The evening was full of interesting and meaningful learning and conversation.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

End of First Session, Beginning of Second Session

Gilboa's first session came to a climactic close over the weekend. After a week that included World Cup celebrations, a late night Aliyah simulation, and Yom Israel, we said goodbye to half our campers. Thursday night was "Gilboa Idol" in which Gilboa's finest performed for each other and tried to gain the admiration of three off-kilter judges. A relaxing Shabbat followed before our final messiba (party) on Saturday night – a celebration of the session with dancing, a moon bounce, and a screening of Free Willy.

Sunday morning, we said goodbye to our first session friends and the thirty remaining chanichim embarked on intersession – a spy themed 2 day adventure with the madatz (junior counselors). The kids played a soap hockey match in the chader ochel, watched a couple of movies, and launched a massive game of capture the flag. Monday night, the madatz led a Tisha B'Av tekes (ceremony), singing and lighting candles with chanichim.Tuesday morning they greeted their friends arriving for second session from Irvine, San Diego, LA, the Bay Area, and even Connecticut. After getting to know the other chanichim (campers) in their shichvah (age group), the chanichim toured different areas of machaneh to learn about the rules and ropes. From safety and emergency procedures to important songs to know, they did it all.
After learning what their options were for the session's chugim (clubs) and anafim (chore groups), the chanichim had a "meet the madrichim adventure" evening program, where they were led through the machaneh (camp) and got to meet different madrichim at different stations, and hear about their camp experiences.

So far second session has been even more loud and energetic than the first. The thirty bogrim are making their presence felt and a number of new chanichim are already throwing themselves into our intense shira sessions.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Yom Israel

At the Pool

Great Israeli Food

A visit from Ben Gurion

Our Moroccan Group in the Immigration Round Robin

At the Lake

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Israel Everywhere

Tuesday was a regular day at Gilboa ending in a vigorous evening of "Zapping Hood" – a Robin Hood themed obstacle course where the chanchim had to sneak by flashlight-wielding Merry Men in the dark. After thwarting the efforts of the Sheriff of Nottingham and learning a little something about privatization, the chanichim headed to sleep.

A couple hours later, Aliyah Bet broke loose on the sleeping machaneh. In the continuation of GIlboa's annual tradition, madrichim woke the machaneh with tea and the news that they were immigrating Jews on their way to Israel. Each Tsrif (cabin) was a different country of origin – Yemen, Morocco, Iraq, Hungary, Germany, and Ukraine. The chanichim then toured the machaneh, getting an experience in 1940's aliyah, learning about the Palmach, and hearing Mizrahi folktales. The night ended with David Ben Gurion's Declaration of Independence and fresh pita off a fire.

After a sleep-in to make up for the late night revelry, the chanichim awoke to a machaneh covered in Israeli flags and romantic Zionist posters from the 1950's. Yom Israel was upon us. The day's theme was the 1950's and special attention was given to the mass Sephardic aliyah, the assimilation of holocaust victims, and the battle over German holocaust compensation. In an opening round robin, the kids experienced Israeli parliamentary politics via making houses (or platforms) out of crackers, licorice and peanut butter, learned rikudei-am, got an intro to ulpan, and had an encounter with some Zionist ghosts. The day proceeded with discussions of immigration in the 1950's and discrimination against sephardi immigrants, and chocolate ball making assembly line style, to experience young Israel's industrialization process. Chanichim also engaged in debates over whether or not to accept the German compensation offer, and got a taste of the Suez Canal crisis in the pool. They then had some balloon fights and fun slpashing around. Meals for Yom Israel included (I kid you not): Hummus, falafal, malawuach, shakshuka, quiche, lentil soup, salad, shnitzel, eggplant, couscous, Israeli chocolate spread, and mekupelet (an Israeli chocolate bar). The day ended with a tekes (ceremony) in which the chanichim expressed their hopes for Israel's future, and a mesiba (party) in the cheder ochel (dining hall). After much food, fun, and thought, everyone headed to sleep with a new understanding of Israel in the 1950's.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Shabbat at Gilboa, and Yom Mondial (World Cup Day)

Gilboa celebrated our first Shabbat of the summer! On Friday afternoon, all the chanichim showered, dressed up for Shabbat, and cleaned their tzrifim (the two cleanest tzrifim were awarded the Matate haZahav (The Golden Broom), and Matate Hakesef (The Silver Broom) awards. During Kabbalat Shabbat, the Bogrim sang "Seasons of Love" before heading up to a matzo-ball soup and chicken - or tofu - dinner. After dinner, the chanichim enjoyed a spirited Shabbat shira (singing), an oneg Shabbat (a short performance) performed by the Madatz, and hours of rikudei am (Israeli folk dancing).

On Saturday, Gilboa has a late kima (wake up). However, many chanichim woke up early to play gaga. After some meditation and innovative torah study, the chanichim began a day of relaxing activities, including musicale (a low-key time for music and poetry), havdallah, and medura (songs, dances, or skits in front of the campfire).

Sunday started as a regular day, but at lunch the day broke into World Cup fever! Yom Mondial! The chanichim split into two teams - Spain and the Netherlands - and dressed up in the colors of their team. All afternoon they created cheers and practiced their soccer skills for the upcoming game! A little rain only added to the intensity of the activity as the chanichim practiced headers and fake falls, and played a semi-final match against Germany. Following a shower, the chanichim cheered for their team as they watched the World Cup final projected in the chadar ochel (dining hall). After dinner (with Gatorade), the chanichim played a World Cup trivia game before a funnel cake snack, and as usual, before going to bed, sang Rad Hayom.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Amelim (our youngest kvutza) and their Bogrim buddies (our oldest kvutza) in peula together

Sayarim at Rock Wall Sadna (workshop)

As part of their community, chanichim take responsibility, and participate in Avoda (chores). Kishutim Le'Shabbat (decorations for Shabbat).
Gan (Garden)

Nagarut (Carpentry)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Amelim at Zman Shaliach (Shaliach Time)

Labane making followed a dicussion about food, cultures, and their interconnectivity.

Chug Dirty Fun

Chug (interest group) Pranksters

The First Week Flying By

The past few days have been a blur of kef (fun) and ruach (spirit). Every day, the chanichim (campers) cheer their loudest during both flag raising and lowering for a chance to sing one of the songs that their shichvah (group) have written. The chugim (clubs) that the chanichim got to choose from are some of the most creative yet, and everyone is having a blast. While there are classic chugim like DIY (Do it yourself), where chanichim learn useful skills, there are also new chugim like Jewish Ethics (a discussion group), Creative Biting (a drama group), and Dirty Fun (a group of merry-hearted kids who like to get dirty, and of course, clean up afterward).
Last night we had an incredible time with a Tochnit Erev (Evening Program) based on the tower of Babel story. The chanichim were introduced to the leader of "the Cause". They learned to dress alike, dance alike and look alike (imagine fake black moustaches and glasses). Whenever anybody asked what the cause was they were reminded not to question the cause. Soon, everyone was getting into the role playing, and then we brought everyone together for "the Cause", which was stacking boxes as high as we could. The process was interrupted however, by the Diversity Monster, who convinced the chanichim that conformity isn't all its cracked up to be. After overthrowing the "Cause" leader, we all went to the Cheder Ochel (Dining Hall) for a diversity party, where we had face paints, snacks, highlighters and black lights.
The Tochnit Erev was a growing experience and a fun time for all. In your next letter to your children ask them what their chug is - we're sure they'd love to share!!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Shalom Machaneh Gilboa families, from the beautiful campsite at Tata Pochon.

The first day of Kayitz (summer) 2010 was fun-filled for all. New and old campers alike arrived around 1pm to the campsite where we had a delicious meal of burritos and quesadillas. After getting to know the other chanichim (campers) in their shichvah (age group), the chanichim toured different areas of machaneh to learn about the rules and ropes. From safety and emergency procedures to important songs to know, they did it all.

After learning what their options were for the session's chugim (clubs) and anafim (chore groups), through fun skits, the chanichim sang songs that their madrichim had written especially for them. Afterward, there was another healthy and delicious meal of vegetable and chicken stir-fry with rice and salad bar.

The highlight of the day was the Tochnit Erev (evening program), which was the first ever "Meet the Madrichim Safari". The chanichim started out by creating their own safari gear and learning important skills that they could use on the safari (such as how to fish for aquatic madrichim). The trail started off with an SUV ride through the carnivorous madrichim zone, where the kids had a little bit of a fun scare. After going through some more tame areas of the safari, the chanichim ended at the gift shop, where they decorated peacock feathers (aka multicolored pipe cleaners and feathers) and made a mural to remember the night by. Not only did they get to meet the madrichim and have a fun and creative evening, but the chanichim got to hear our madrichim doing some of their best Australian and/or South African accents!

The night ended with cookies for kibud (snack) and the whole camp singing Rad Hayom (a traditional Israeli lullabye). Like every day will be at Gilboa, this one was packed with fun and adventure!