It’s hard to believe our second session of #HSJ50 is already underway! Our campers hit the ground running on Sunday and are dancing, playing and laughing all the time! Check out our week in review video to see some of the magic we’ve been making here in Utica! These kids hit the ground running, enjoying every activity from knot tying to soccer to fun with Chickens! We can already see this group of curious, joyous, and exuberant campers creating a beautiful community, and forming bonds which will undeniably last a lifetime! We are so grateful to get to share the session with them, and look forward to all of the memories we will make and smiles we will share!
Our youngest campers in Olim had a super active week! They were able to spend some time at the lake, enjoying every toy from the obstacle course to the wet willie, and even our brand new RockIt! These campers spent the evenings learning how to be spies, running around at their sports program, and having awesome camp-outs and bunk nights! Our youngest campers always bring incredible energy and happiness to our camp, and we are savoring our final days with them!
Garin had a busy week as well! They started the week off with an amazing time travel program, visiting the past and future in order to complete their top secret mission! They also got to show off their creativity in the art room during their out of this world alien art program, and they learned the lay of the land here at camp with a super fun scavenger hunt! During the day these campers enjoyed fishing, biking, dancing, and so much more, all while making new friends, and laughing non-stop!
Maskilim kicked off camp with a game show program, and have kept busy since with tons of exciting chugim, peulot, and evening programs! They put on an amazing recycled fashion show, had a super fun pool party, and got active in their sports program! They also took the time to participate in educational programing, learning about the impact of food deserts in our nation. These campers have already demonstrated enthusiasm and engagement, along with maturity and intelligence, and we can’t wait to watch them grow together as a unit over the rest of the session!
Talmidim has also had constant fun since arriving on Sunday! During the day, these campers participate in speciality camps like sports or visual arts! They also have minors and chugim, which cover a variety of activities like music, ceramics, and archery! At night, these campers have enjoyed some amazing evening programs, starting with their taste of camp program, which offered a fun introduction to HSJ! They also enjoyed their sports program, and splashing around at their pool party! Our Talmidimers always bring care and passion to our community, and we are so excited to have them here this session!
Finally, our chalutzim campers spent the last week on an amazing trip to North Carolina! These campers were able to participate in all sorts of incredible experiences, from white water rafting to hiking, to sleeping in yurts! The Chalutzim trip is one of our favorite traditions here at camp, as it gives our campers the opportunity to bond with each other before embarking on the remaining weeks of their final year of camp! These campers continue to demonstrate a true love of camp, and each other, and we cannot wait to see what the rest of the session has in store for these leaders.
Our Solelim, or counselors in training, also were able to take a trip this past week. The Goff Family graciously hosted our solelim at a lake house in Pass Christian, MS, where they were able to celebrate the 4th of July with fireworks, a barbeque, and tons of fun! Back at camp, these young adults have been working to hone their programming skills, as well as continuing their work in and out of our units and departments! We are endlessly grateful for the work our solelim do, not only to make our 50th summer the best one ever, but to prepare themselves to share Jacobs magic with the next generation of campers!
Our Sports department has been active as ever, and remains a central element of camp life. Between Talmidim basketball, Maskilim biking, and Garin wiffleball, our campers and constantly active! Adventure and aquatics also constantly keep our campers moving! We have tons of lake toys, including our newest addition this summer, the RockIt, as well as adventure activities such as nature walks, knot tying, and fishing! Seeing our campers run around, play, and just be kids is one of the greatest joys of camp!
Of course, our campers also spend lots of time expressing their creativity in our arts department! It is such a joy to see these campers embrace their own ideas and channel that ingenuity into incredible works! This week in the art department, our campers enjoyed printmaking, recycling art, and cooking in our brand new test kitchen! We are always astonished by the quality of work our campers produce, and thankful for their constant inspiration and drive to create!
Our Jewish life department is a central element of camp, providing our kids with the necessary tools to connect with their faith in a fun, engaging, and age appropriate manner. For our younger campers in Garin, this means Kehillah, a daily educational period where they focus their time on this summer’s value of Shomrei Adamah — keepers of the earth. Here they are able to enjoy fun activities which push them to gain a deeper understanding of Jewish virtues, all while bonding with their unit! Older campers also have daily specialty camp education, where they incorporate Judaism into their activities. Of course, we also continue our regular services as well as B’nai Mitzvah tutoring for our campers. The ability to provide our kids with a fun and loving community is one of the greatest joys of HSJ.
Here at HSJ we continue to hope for clear skies and sunshine, but at the same time rainy day programs have been polished, ensuring all our camp fun follows us indoors, and the facilities are being prepped to ensure that camp will remain as magical as ever in case of any storms. As for our extended Jacob’s community, we hope all of you stay safe and dry over the next few days. We will be in touch to ensure that our entire family is informed of our plans during this time.
Somehow we have already made it to the first shabbat of the summer! The session is already flying by, and we can’t wait to continue to see our campers form new friendships, laugh out loud, and make memories which will last forever. It is our 50th anniversary summer, and while this milestone is immense, watching these campers have the summer of their lives these past few days makes it entirely comprehensible. It is because of them — and all of you — that our camp community has thrived for this long, and for that we are endlessly grateful. Your support of HSJ is what allows this community to exist and grow, and there will never be a sufficient way to express our gratitude for that fact. Still, we want to thank you for all you do to help this Kehila Kedosha form every summer, and wish you a restful and pleasant Shabbos.