One of my responsibilities on tzevet this summer is to help plan Zman Kehillah (formerly known as Zman Body). Zman Kehillah is a time-block each week dedicated to programming around gender.
For one of these blocks during first session we decided to divide the kids by age and gender and planned activities that would push them to challenge gender norms. For instance, we encouraged girls to explore their physical abilities playing a game at the basketball court and boys to paint their nails while checking in about each other's feelings, while also providing a space for gender non-conforming chanichimot to explore their identities together.
I really enjoyed watching all chanichimot challenge oppressive societal norms, but I was most gratified by an interaction with two younger boys. Later in the day, after the peula (educational activity), two chanichim (boys) approached me excitedly and displayed their newly painted fingernails. They told me all about the colors and designs they'd chosen. Though their nails were a mess, it was a beautiful sight to see. I couldn't help thinking back to my own experiences with gender as a chanicha (camper) at camp, where some of the most formative moments to me related to the intense and revealing gender education that helped me confront my own personal struggles with gender and body image. To me, this is the beauty of Gilboa: to be able to pass on and recreate the magic that made Gilboa and continues to make camp such a meaningful part of my life. To see real positive reactions in kids certainly makes the long hours and late nights of planning worth it.
- Eliza Smith, Workshop 67, First Year Tzevet Member