Shabbat-O-Gram Week 4

By AllyCKW July 23, 2022

July 23, 2022

Dear families and friends,

With second session starting on Wednesday, it’s hard to believe so much has happened in just a few days! All our second session friends have been blown away by how much fun they are having already at camp, and our 7-weekers are doing an incredible job of warmly welcoming their new bunkmates and bringing them into our Kingswood family.

When everyone arrived on Wednesday we jumped off the bus into unit meetings where everyone met their counselors and bunkmates, and then we came together in the dining hall for our first lunch of the session. Campers were immediately greeted by cheering and fun, and then the afternoon was spent unpacking, exploring camp, and getting to know the other campers in their bunks and units. With temperatures in the 90s, we wasted no time before jumping in the lake to cool off with swim tests and free swim! After an awesome BBQ on the waterfront, G3 was treated to a special sunset boat ride for Hannah F.’s birthday, and we all came together in the evening for our opening campfire, singing a few favorite camp songs, hearing “What Kingswood Means To Me” from campers, and learning what activities will be offered this elective cycle through hilarious skits led by our specialists. It was a fun-filled first day, and most campers were asleep before the lights were even off in the bunks!

No time was wasted getting into the rhythm of camp, and by Thursday night every camper had chosen their electives for the first week and done a whole day of bunk activities. At ropes, campers were climbing up the tower and zipping down the zip line. At A&C, bunks were making tie dye t-shirts, and at woodshop campers were carving and painting puzzles. At sailing, canoeing, and kayaking, campers were racing around the lake, and by mid-day a bunch of bunks had already been tubing. At Outdoors, campers met our goats and chickens and tasted some of the vegetables and herbs growing at our Farm, and at Upper Fields, games, clinics, and drills were happening in full force. Lion King was announced as the second session camp musical, and auditions drew campers from Olim, Chalutzim, Bogrim, and Tsofim!

Yesterday was our first day of electives, and campers will now have these activities until they select new ones next week. There are three elective cycles in second session, so campers will have two more opportunities to sign up for different activities or to sign up again for their favorites. I love that with four electives and one bunk activity every day, the Kingswood day allows for campers to shape their own experience while still having a dedicated activity period with their bunkmates together. This way, campers strengthen the connections in their bunk every day, while getting to know all the other kids in their unit who share common interests at their electives. It also gives campers a taste of activities they may never choose as an elective, while allowing them to specialize and develop advanced skills in what they love the most. It gives campers the opportunity to create their own unique experience that could look completely different from the campers sleeping on either side of them.

Last night at Shabbat services I talked about this idea of writing your own camp story and the power they each hold to shape their time here at camp. What activities to try, to see the positive or to complain, how to treat the other kids in the cabin, who to hang out with during evening programs, how spirited and goofy to be during song sessions, how into camp or “too cool” to be, whether to spend time entrenched in drama or staying out of gossip…these are all open questions, and as the answers are filled in, each camper is creating their own individual path through Kingswood. At the first night campfire, we heard from some long-time campers who shared their advice here – be comfortable in your own skin, be friends with those who treat you kindly and love you for you, treat your bunk like your family and always have their backs, make the most of every minute here on Woods Pond. Camp can seem so big to a new camper, but as the days go on, the familiarity of the place provides comfort to explore not only what they’re doing, but who they want to be. Our veteran campers and staff returning to their second home for their 2nd, 5th, even 12th summers – would say this is why they live to be here, and consider Kingswood their second home. This ability to be in a place where the outside world seems so far away, and their path through camp is theirs and theirs alone. Understandably a little nerve-wracking and scary to be at the receiving end of emails and photos of this process as parents, but so liberating and confidence-building for campers, even if it comes with a few tears along the way! For most of our campers, this is the longest they’ll be away from home and the most choices they’ll have ever made for themselves. It’s their story to write, and it’s empowering for them, whether they’re 9 or 15.

Today our schedule will slow down a bit as we break from the structured five activity periods for a different Shabbat feeling. We started the day with a late wake up and Shabbat services, and now everyone is heading to unit meetings and free swim before lunch. This afternoon will be full of sports tournaments, A&C, card tournaments, and of course, lots of time on the waterfront playing in the lake!

We have an awesome week in store – catch a glimpse through the photos online! If you haven’t already, download “Campanion,” the new app version of CampinTouch we’ve purchased for our families to make your lives easier. Through the app’s facial recognition software, photos of your campers are tagged so you’re alerted when they’re in photos, and the photos are pulled to the top of the day’s album for you. Soon, when it’s time to register for 2023, you’ll also be able to register and submit all your camp forms through your phone!

If you haven’t used our new e-mail system, I invite you to try that as well. Your campers can now write letters home that are scanned each day and received by you as an email. If you didn’t print blank pages from your account in advance, no problem! Email to have extra blank coded pages delivered to your camper so they can send you emails. If you have guest accounts set up for friends and family, they also can have emails sent to them; we’ll just need to print out pages for your camper coded to those email addresses.

Lastly, to be a part of our awesome Kingswood parent community, join the 2nd Session Parent Facebook group! Last session this became a great space for parents to connect with each other and ask questions.

I’m off to meet up with some campers to go swimming – I don’t have the opportunity to be in the lake as much as I’d like, but on Shabbat we all get to take a break from work to play a little! 😉

Wishing you a great week ahead,