Sunday: I’m so excited about Camp Shelanu! I’ve never been to day-camp before. My dad just got a text from camp that reminded him about drop-off and that I need closed-toed shoes so I can run and jump and play. I wonder what kind of activities we will do! The email my dad got last week said I am in Arayot bunk with other K-1st graders, and that my counselors are Priya and Logan. I hope my counselors will be nice, and that I will make new friends.
Monday: It’s time for my first day of Camp Shelanu! I’m going to Before Care, so my dad drops me off at 8am. We drive up to The Lerner School and he walks me up to the gazebo where other kids are already waiting. A counselor, Anna, asks me my name while my dad signs me in. She tells me the other campers’ names, and asks if we want to color or do a puzzle. I meet three campers who are also in Arayot!
At 8:30, cars are lined up, full of other campers. Smiling, laughing staff come out in funny hats and camp shirts to help kids get out of their cars. The grown-ups stay in the cars. How do the counselors know everyone’s names?! They greet everyone with a smile and a “boker tov,” which I just learned means “good morning” in Hebrew. We all go inside the school and meet our counselors, put our lunches away, and play some games. It’s a little loud, so some kids go into a different room to play quietly until it’s time to go to our bunks and start programming. Our bunks are in the school’s classrooms. They are called bunks, just like in overnight camp!
At 9:00, we go outside and make a big circle. This is Boker Tov, our opening circle, and we’re going to do it every day. It’s so much fun! I am a little nervous but I like how counselors stand in the middle of the circle and teach us funny new songs and dances. We also learned the Hebrew word of the day: Yatush (ya-TOOSH), which means mosquito! We have counselors from Israel who are going to teach us lots of Hebrew words and songs.
After Boker Tov, we go to our bunks and talk about what we will be doing. Priya and Logan write the schedule up on a big white board so we will know everything that will happen we and won’t be nervous. We learn everyone’s names (there are two Sophies in my group!) and our counselors tell us that we are Arayot (a-reh-OT), the Lions! We will be brave like lions and try lots of new things at camp this week.
All day, we go to different activities. We do dance with Shelly, art with Noga, and sports with Sam. Then we eat lunch together in the big room. Some kids have allergies, and there is a table just for the kids who can’t eat nuts. They are in the same big room so they don’t feel left out, but it’s safer for them at the different table. We all brought kosher lunches–that means meat and milk stay separate, and we don’t bring pork or shellfish for lunch. My dad sent hummus, pita bread, grapes, a turkey roll and a cheese stick. I also have my own water bottle, even though I get lots of water breaks at the water fountains.
After lunch we have chill time. We read stories, play quiet games, and get ready for the pool. I brought my favorite swimsuit and towel. I’m glad my dad wrote my name in my stuff, because Ella has the very same suit! My counselors help me put on lots of sunscreen. At the pool, Priya helps me do my swim check. A lifeguard asks me to get into the pool and show him how well I can swim. I am really nervous, but it isn’t hard. I get a red band to wear at the pool, so the lifeguards know I have to stay in the Family Pool. That’s okay with me, because this pool has really fun water fountains and a big mushroom umbrella! Tomorrow, we will do some swim lessons. I hope I will get a yellow or green band by the end of the summer!
When pool time is over, we do nature with Meredith. She teaches us about sh’ma, listening, and we listen for animal sounds in the woods. Then it is time to pack up and clean up, and go back to the big room with everyone else for more songs and pick-up! Our grown-ups are waiting in their cars, just like in the morning. Staff go outside to say hi and call for us on walkie-talkies. Logan walks me to the car and tells my dad that I was very brave taking my swim check, and that I made ywo new friends. I can’t wait to tell dad everything else that happened today!
Dad says camp is a little different every day. Tomorrow we will have different activities and swim lessons. On Thursday morning, we will have an all-camp program, where all the campers get together to do special theme activities or watch a show. This week’s theme is Fairytale Adventures, and we will see an aerial silks performance at the JCC! On Friday, we will make challah in the morning, and in the afternoon we will do Kabalat Shabbat with our challah and grape juice, and get awards for being mensches (people who are kind, respectful, and good listeners). I hope I am the mensch for Arayot!
Next week, I will be in a Specialty Camp. Dad says I will do art all morning and go swimming and play on the playground in the afternoon. I love doing art, but I am a little nervous because I will have to meet new counselors and make new friends. My counselors told me that Jake and Abbie from Arayot will be in the Art Camp, too, so that makes me feel better. We will also have an art show on Friday, so grown-ups can see everything we made! We will have lots of art to take home. I hope we will get messy!
I’ll also be in After Care next week. Jake was in After Care last year and he said it was his favorite thing! Instead of going to afternoon car line, I will go to the JCC with other campers. We’ll have a yummy snack and get to choose our activities, like arts and crafts, playing in the gym, reading, and resting. And on Friday, we get to watch a MOVIE! I am so excited to spend more time with my friends in After Care. Dad will pick me up before 5:30, and on Monday we will get dinner from a food truck and stay to watch a movie with other families at the JCC.
I can’t wait for next week! This is going to be the best summer ever!