By: Lisa Isen Baumal
This week I returned from two weeks at Camp George, serving as part of the educational faculty. What a gift to be able to experience the return to camp for 400 campers and staff after 2 years. The happiness and joy were palpable all over camp. To watch groups of campers and staff laughing together, hugging each other, singing together in outdoor t’fillah, and engaged in the wide variety of activities that camp offers were such a welcome sight. To be able to be together in community was truly a Shehecheyanu experience.
During my time at camp, the oldest campers examined the theme of Resilience through their Project Barak (Jewish education) periods. We reflected on our own experiences over the past 18 months, and the transition that we have experienced, both as individuals and as a community, from isolation and being apart, to being back together in camp, as a community. To honour and mark this transition, Barak campers each wrote a prayer, which we incorporated into a Mikveh experience. Here is a part of what the campers collectively wrote:
I am thankful for my friends and for camp George. Thank-you God for the friendships I’ve made, and to be able to join together at camp after a very different year. I am grateful to be with my camp family at Maple Lake and to be able to spend quality time with them.
I acknowledge the progress I have made throughout quarantine and how I never gave up by focusing on the brighter future. I hope I can come out of my comfort zone.
I am thankful for the independence that I have at camp.
I am thankful for the opportunities I am given and the love and support I receive.
Praised are you Adonai for allowing us to finally come to camp.
I am grateful to be at camp and for the light at the end of the tunnel over this past year.
Thank you God for giving me this opportunity to come to camp, and for keeping me happy.
Praised be you Adonai for allowing me to reconnect with my friends at camp, letting me grow as a person and finding my true friends.
I am always inspired by our youth and watching campers and staff reunite, after 18 months of pandemic life was in fact inspiring. To participate in the transition from being apart to being back together, and to witness the strengthening of the kehillah kedoshah that is Camp George.