Jacob Craig – Adventure Specialist
In a world where kids spend hours upon hours staying at home and watching TV, an app like Pokémon GO gives an incentive to be active. Like at camp, Pokémon GO always has something new happening, and the only way to participate in these fun activities is to get off the couch and explore the world around us. Shmirat Haguf is a Jewish value telling us that we must stay physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy. At camp, we are constantly working to be better by acquiring new skills in specialty camps, going on fun-runs, learning new Jewish values, and more. Studies have shown that spending time outdoors with your peers promotes healthy lifestyles, allowing us to be closer to G-d’s image.
In order to be the very best Pokémon trainer, you must believe in your abilities to successfully find and catch all the Pokémon that you encounter. Camp is a place where people can fail without ridicule, and it teaches all people involved how to be confident in themselves as well as in their peers. Throughout the journey to catch ‘em all, Pokémon GO rewards the players when they complete a certain goal with medals and more items to help them on their quests. This not only boosts morale within the game; it causes players to try more adventurous activities and find more creative solutions to problems that they have already solved. Positive energy is contagious within both camp and the Pokémon GO communities; with time, the communities as a whole will become more self-confident in their beliefs and abilities to conquer any obstacle in their path.
Throughout every city, there are Pokémon gyms and other points of interest that give you items that are pertinent to your quest to be the very best. As a trainer, you can place other support items (lures) onto these already very important landmarks, which will cause more Pokémon to flock to that location. This helps out other Pokémon trainers in your community and allows for a more unified goal among neighbors, friends, and even complete strangers to create a kehillah kedoshah, a holy community. Camp is a lure for the Jewish community of the Deep South, one that stays active throughout the year recruiting both old and new faces. This year, camp has over one hundred new campers, causing our kehillah kedoshah to grow even stronger by creating new bonds as well as strengthening old ones. At camp and in the Pokémon GO universe, we must remember the phrase Chazak Chazak Venit Chazek, be strong and let us strengthen one another.
A unique feature in Pokémon GO is the app’s ability to distinguish a player’s surroundings and generate Pokémon to best fit the world around them. For example, one might have a better chance of catching a Magikarp or Squirtle next to a pool rather than a power plant. The Pokémon universe is filled with many different types of Pokémon, all with different strengths and weaknesses. However, these attributes do not discredit any Pokémon; in fact, it does the opposite. Just like Pokémon, camp and the world around us are filled with many different types of people from many different walks of life. Each and every one of us is unique in our own way, yet we are all equal in the eyes of G-d. It is our obligation both as Jews and as humans to remember that fact of life and treat everyone with the respect that we as humans deserve.