by Gal Atia, Program Director
We did something new this year – we started Yom Sport a week in advance, with the Nivonim staff choosing four campers to be color captains to plan and get everything ready for Sunday evening.
On Tuesday the Nivonim color captains ran around camp announcing that Yom Sport is coming, assigning campers to different teams and signing them up for all the different activities. On Thursday afternoon all campers were divided into three different activities: some made amazing banners in Omanut, some learned new cheers led by our Shira staff (songleaders) and Tzvet Ivrit (Hebrew staff) and the third group choreographed a dance for the Yom Sport opening ceremony.
On Sunday evening, the Yom Sport captains ran down from the new Givah, gathered the campers on their teams together and brought everyone to sit near the outdoor stage for the opening ceremony. With unbelievable enthusiasm the campers cheered as their team’s banners and dances were presented.
After dinner there was a huge campwide relay race led by Rosh Sport Dedi Bitton and the sports staff. We then gathered for the presentation of the 2017 Yom Sport fire sign made by campers in the Machon intensive camping program with the camping staff. Older campers played Capture the Flag and had a lot of fun running around camp protecting and trying to capture the flags of the other teams.
On Monday our campers played volleyball- dodge ball- basketball-soccer- freeze dance-scavenger hunt and home run derby until lunch, and did their best to gain more points for their team. After eating a silent lunch (an amazing Yom Sport tradition that actually works), there was a much-needed sha’at menuchah (rest time).
In the afternoon we continued with mixed-age teams playing gaga-water polo-water volleyball- ultimate Frisbee- flag football-water relays on the blob and our new floating obstacle course, and more fun games.
As we got closer to the final event, we gathered on the kikar for an energized tug of war competition, with everyone cheering and supporting their friends.
We then cheered the swimmers from each team as they swam from the island and passed a baton to the color captains so they could start lighting a fire to burn the rope above it. Amidst incredible cheering, the first team to succeed was …….אדום, the Red Team! It has been seven summers since the Red Team won, so this was a big deal!
We all sang המנון רמה, our camp song, and then Nivonim rushed into the lake – another super fun camp tradition!
We are happy to introduce you to our new Rosh Sport Dedi Bitton!
Life outside camp:
I’m the owner and manager of a big sport center in Israel, Merkaz-Dor. Kids come here for after school activities and we have over 1200 kids coming to participate in our activities. (www.sport4all.co.il)
Other camp experience:
I was a shaliach many years ago at Camp Ramah in Ojai and worked there as a basketball coach.
Most looking forward to:
I’m very excited and happy to be working at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin this summer! I’m looking forward to meeting all the campers and staff. I hope to bring new activities to the sports courts and fields and for the sport experience to be excellent for everyone.
Favorite sport to play? Favorite sport to watch?
That’s an easy question! I was a professional basketball player so I have to say the answer is basketball!!
I’m married to Rotem and we have 3 sweet kids: Dor, 8 years old, Daniel, 5 years old, and Nadav, 3 years old.
Favorite activity to do for fun:
I love to BBQ and I enjoy relaxing and spending time with my family at home!
From Columbus/New Albany, Ohio, Avi is currently a student at The Ohio State University, where he plans to graduate after the upcoming fall semester with a degree in psychology. After graduation he plans to attend graduate school for clinical psychology. While in college, he has worked at several different jobs, including for the Columbus Blue Jackets, as a referee for intramural sports, and on a food truck. He also enjoys working with graphic and logo design and has been hired as a freelance designer in Columbus.
Avi’s favorite thing about camp is being with the people he’s grown up with and shared experiences with at camp. He also loves Shabbat.
He’s looking forward to taking on the new challenge of being Rosh Sport and sharing his love of sports with the sports staff and the campers. One of the highlights of the sports program at camp is the inter-aidot games and tournaments in basketball and softball. Plans are underway this summer for more comprehensive tournaments in other sports so campers can hone their skills in a variety of areas. Avi is looking forward to seeing everyone on the sports fields!
Caroline is originally from Highland Park, Illinois and is one of seven kids in her family. She is currently a sophomore at the University of Illinois – Champaign Urbana, where she is studying Speech and Hearing Science with a concentration in Speech-Language Pathology.
Caroline’s favorite thing about camp is Friday night services by the lake and Shabbat in general. In addition to the full line-up of inter-aidah (age division) softball and basketball games, Caroline is hoping to get inter-aidah volleyball games going this summer as well. She can’t wait to see everyone on the courts this summer!
After lunch it’s time for shaat menucha, rest hour. Then at 3:45 campers start an afternoon full of activity. Although many of our aidot have unusual schedules this week–Machon and some members of Tikvah are on their trip around Wisconsin, Bogrim has Shavuah Bogrim–most weeks Perek Hay looks something like this:
Atzmayim (Tikvah Vocational Program), 3:45: Nine Atzmayim participants and three Tikvah pre-vocational campers sit together during Perek Hay for social skills group. Already this summer they’ve worked on conversational skills, what it means to be a friend, and what you can learn from others. This upcoming week, they will be talking about social media safety and etiquette. Led by Tikvah Special Projects Coordinator Allie Rosen, Atzmayim social skills group will be looking at a faux-Facebook on butcher-paper news feed. Using post-it notes, participants will be encouraged to “comment” and “like” posts and pictures on the feed. Together they will learn about what is appropriate to post on social media, and how to apply many of the social skills they’ve learned this summer to the world of the internet.
Halutzim (entering 6th grade), 3:49: During shaat menucha, Halutzim changes into their bathing suits, grabs their towels, and heads toward the agam (waterfront) for Perek Hay. Split into different classes, Halutzim learns swimming skills, everything from front crawl to diving. On a hot summer day, every single camper can’t wait to jump into the lake!
Solelim (entering 7th grade), 3:56: Now that their play is over, Solelim uses Perek Hay for peulot tzrif (cabin activities) or peulot banim and banot (boys and girls activities). Last Thursday, the boys spent Perek Hay playing a fun game of roofball, bouncing balls off of the roofs of cabins and trying to catch them. The banot spent the afternoon playing a game of touch football, enjoying the nice weather running across the soccer field.
Shoafim (entering 8th grade), 3:58: Like Solelim, Shoafim has peulat banim and banot now that Frozen is over. The banim have been working diligently on their soon-to-be English rendition of Hercules, what is sure to be a phenomenal and funny show. Each day is different, but last week the banot spent an hour with counselor Caroline Drefuss doing Zumba. They had a great time coming together as a banot and dancing Perek Hay away!
Bogrim (entering 9th grade). 4:05: When it isn’t Shavuah Bogrim, Bogrim spends Perek Hay in tarbut. From omanut (art), to nagarut (woodworking), to musical instrument practice, Bogrim can be found in every corner of camp for tarbut. With the Rikudiyah dance festival coming up next Saturday night, many of our Bogrim campers will begin to learn and practice their very own dance performance!
Machon (entering 10th grade). 4:11: Machon is spread out across the sports courts during Perek Hay. From basketball, to softball, to team sports, Machon is learning valuable skills and enjoying the outdoors.
Tikvah. 4:22: During Perek Hay, Tikvah has sports together with Machon. Campers are often paired up to rotate through a variety of sports options. Machon/Tikvah chaverim (buddies) get to know each other better and have a great time playing softball, basketball, floor hockey, volleyball, ga-ga, etc.
Nivonim (entering 11th grade). 4:28: With their upcoming performance of the musical Hair on Thursday night, Nivonim is hard at work in play practice. They’ve been learning their songs, lines, choreography, and soon will be finalizing their stage direction. The play is sure to be a highlight of the summer!
When Perek Hay is over, campers transition to the final scheduled slot of the afternoon, Perek Vav.
Last night campers of all ages gathered around the basketball courts. For different parts of the evening, Halutzim, Solelim, Shoafim, Bogrim, Machon, Tikvah, and Nivonim cheered on the boys basketball teams for what is one of the biggest games of the summer. Nivonim girls and boys not on the team were dressed in their new regalia, cheering loudly. Dressed in white, Machon and Tikvah stood on the other side of the court, cheering just as loudly. One Machon camper even played the trombone to get the team pumped up.
It was a tough game, defense on both sides were strong, but Nivonim boys won in the end. The final score was 29-19, Nivonim. When the final whistle sounded, all of Nivonim, Machon and Tikvah jumped up and down. Nivonim was excited to win, but Machon and Tikvah were equally excited about how they’d played a strong game. They cheered together, ending the game with friendly handshakes.
As camp walks across the kikar for another perek, campers grab fruit from the fruitbowl and take sips of water at drinking fountains. Solelim grabs their towels for swimming, Shoafim makes sure they’re wearing naalei sport (gym shoes) for sport, and many other campers head to mirpasot (multi-purpose porches) and Ohel Yitzchak (synagogue at camp) classrooms for Hebrew and Judaic Studies classes. In Perek Daled (1-1:45), camp is abuzz with chatter as everyone heads toward the next period of his or her day.
1:01, Atzmayim (Tikvah Vocational Program): Saying goodbye to their bosses and fellow-employees, Atzmayim packs up and heads out of work once the camp van pulls up next to their workplace. They get into the car and recount a highlight from the morning, listen to music, and guess at the day’s lunch. After a full morning on the job, the Atzmayim participants are ready for some downtime to eat and enjoy learning about their friends’ experiences from the morning.
1:05, Halutzim (entering 6th grade): For their first two days here, Halutzim has rotations between shirah (music) and rikud (dance), until they get to choose their own tarbut (art and cultural activities) for the summer. They’ll be learning songs like our new “Kol B’Ramah Nishmah” and “Ain Ani.” In rikud, campers will be learning and getting a refresher on our favorite kikar dances in preparation for tomorrow and for their first kikar dancing of the summer!
1:11, Solelim (7th grade): In the agam, Solelim are divided into swimming classes during Perek Daled. Classes focus on developing skills like breathing under water and proper breaststroke. Some days, classes get to venture to the blob, our water trampoline. They swim to the far dock, then rotate swimming to the blob. Campers jump up and down on the trampoline, launch a friend into the water on the catapult blob, or run across the log.
1:16, Shoafim (8th grade): On the opposite end of camp, Shoafim learns how to serve a tennis ball. Shoafot (girl campers) learn how to pick on the basketball courts, preparing for their games against Solelot and Bogrot this summer. And still others are boating on the agam.
1:24, Bogrim (9th grade): Bogrim has Hebrew and Judaic studies during Perek Daled. In Educator Ariel Katz’s Judaic Studies class entitled, “Strange But True,” Bogrim is studying interesting and aspects of Judaism. Yesterday they looked at two passages from the Torah about Shabbat, Yom Kippur, Pesach, and Sukkot, and practiced interpreting the passages themselves without using any rabbinic interpretation. Ariel had just told her class about the Karaites, a Jewish sect that practices Judaism by looking only to Torah and not to any rabbinic authority—so campers did the same with these Torah texts. The class thought about how they would celebrate these holidays if it weren’t for the rabbinic interpretations and traditions that our families value at home. They will continue looking at the Karaites and other aspects of Judaism, while another Bogrim class creates and performs pieces of theater about the weekly Torah portion in Storahtelling.
1:33, Machon (10th grade): Machon can be found in Hebrew or Judaic studies class during this perek, as well. With choices from comparative religion, to studying shir hashirim, to Yiddish, to Jewish movements, Machon campers are learning a variety of things about present-day and historical Jewish ideas. In Merav Porten’s class on Jewish movements, campers sit in a circle and discuss the different movements currently represented in Israel. Tackling big topics like what it means to be a Jewish state, how Israel decides marriage and divorce laws, and whether those laws should be dictated by the state, are questions the class will be grappling with for the remainder of the summer.
1:35, Tikvah (Special Needs program): In the Moadon Tikvah or around camp in various classrooms, Tikvah can be found during Perek Daled either studying text class with Bogrim or Machon or in social skills group. In social skills group, topics address recent issues or questions relevant to the Tikvah campers.
1:42, Nivonim (11th grade): Sitting together in Moadon Atzmayim, Nivonim campers involved with Tikvah—including counselors-in-training, interns, and former chaverim—come together for their weekly Tikvah enrichment. Once or twice they learn how to be counselors and recognize the responsibilities that they may have if they come back in two years as Tikvah staff members.
When Perek Daled concludes, campers flock to the kikar to sit with friends, catch up, and talk about everything they did that morning. After looking at the lunch menu situated beside chadar gimmel (Dining Room C), campers sit on the soft grass beneath the sun, waiting to be called in for lunch.
They’ve unpacked, settled in, and already our Ruach Ramah campers are making meaningful new friendships! They’ve had a full day of camp activities, everything from omanut (art), to sport, to Hebrew games.
This morning, Ruach Ramah started the day with a hearty breakfast of yogurt, fruit, and chocolate chip pancakes. The chadar (dining hall) was filled with bright faces, everyone ready for the fun day ahead. In t’fillah (prayer), talented songleader and division head Josh Warshawsky led a musical service. Singing everything from a familiar modeh ani to learning a new yaaseh shalom, the campers were all engaged, clapping and singing along with Josh’s guitar.
For today and tomorrow, Ruach Ramah will get to experience a number of different sport activities. They played knockout and around the world in basketball, played a game of floor hockey, played catch with baseball gloves, and various relay races using soccer balls. All over the sports fields, Ruach Ramah campers were enjoying a taste of the camp sports program—learning new skills and having a fun time playing the games they love.
Afterwards, the campers split up into smaller groups to rotate through a sampling of arts programming. In Shirah (singing), campers were instructed to get up and run around the room, filling the space with sound. Staff member Brandon Less encouraged the campers to sing loudly and with enthusiasm and make the most of their time together at camp. He then taught them a new camp song this summer (written by Josh Warshawsky), “Kol B’Ramah Nishmah,” “A Voice is Heard at Ramah.”
In rikud, campers learned a number of Israeli dances. Across the way in omanut, campers dipped paintbrushes into water, using water color to make rainbow-colored pictures. In another room, a different group of Ruach Ramah campers were having a blast playing drama games.
In groups, the Ruach Ramah campers played various Hebrew games. They learned how to say, “gam li” (“I also have”), and “gam ani” (“me too”), using the opening phrases to get to know each other. One camper stood in the middle of the circle, stating, “My favorite color is purple.” Multiple hands shot up with, “gam ani!” Some moments later, they sat down to play a Hebrew memory game. Everyone learned a few new Hebrew words today.
Devouring sloppy joes, soup, salad, curly fries, and pasta, Ruach Ramah had lunch as an aidah (division), before their rest hour, shaat menucha. They sat on their beds reading, writing home, listening to music, and napping; it was a much needed rest from the busy and fun day. In the afternoon, after rotating through more activities, campers heard about swimming and waterfront fun at camp. Since it was raining at that point, the campers created and performed skits demonstrating all of the different opportunities they will hopefully get to have tomorrow in the lake—from jumping on the blob, to playing water-quidditch, to water-basketball.
Even though they arrived just 24 hours ago, Ruach Ramah has already enjoyed so much of the camp experience! After dinner tonight they’ll enjoy an evening program and hear bedtime stories from senior staff members. We all look forward to another fun day at camp tomorrow!
After grabbing chatif (snack), campers spread out around camp for Perek Gimmel. With the sun shining, campers can be found in all corners of camp playing sports, swimming in the lake, and spending time learning with Nature Nick. From 12:05-12:50 every day, Perek Gimmel is in full swing.
12:06, Atzmayim (Tikvah Vocational Program Participants): Many of the Atzmayim participants choose to take their fifteen or twenty minute break during this time. They tell their manager that they’re ready for a break, and go back to the break room or eat a snack they bring with them to their jobs. Ari A. who works at the Northwoods Children’s Museum can often be found in a tree cove within the museum reading a book during his break.
12:10, Kochavim (entering 4th grade): On a sunny day, the lake feels especially cool and fun, and Kochavim campers worked to master their diving this week. Standing on the docks on the agam (waterfront), Kochavim started with a penguin dive, which begins by sitting on the dock. Next, they raised one leg to a kneeling position. Soon, they were able to stand and plunge head first into the water. They worked to successfully dive without too many belly flops!
12:14, Garinim (5th grade): In Hebrew class, Garinim has been learning a new topic every week. They play, read, and answer questions to help learn about different groups of Hebrew words. This week, Garinim learned the Hebrew words for things in a cheder (room). After being split into teams, Garinim campers had to run, grab a card, say the word in Hebrew, and explain what it meant in English. Campers ran back and forth, practicing the Hebrew words for things you could find in a room, scoring points for their team along the way.
12:18, Solelim (7th grade): On the tennis courts, Solelim can be seen learning how to serve and rally during Perek Gimmel. Sirot (boating) is a popular sport for many Solelim campers, and they’ve been learning what a hull is and how to effectively steer a sailboat. The softball field and basketball courts are also filled with campers improving their skills and preparing for their games against Shoafim.
12:24, Shoafim (8th grade): In omanut (art), nagarut (woodworking), or musikah (music), Shoafim spends Perek Gimmel in one of our many tarbuyot (cultural activities). There are a total of seven Shoafim campers playing instruments this summer in musikah. Two brought their own instruments from home to practice, one is practicing ukulele, and four others are learning how to play guitar for the first time. Sitting on the grass outside the chadar medura (our music room), musikah staff member Edon Valdman teaches chords to four Shoafim. They practice them on their own and after some time, are given a song to play using those few chords. They’ve been developing their guitar repertoire, and by the end of the summer, should know a great deal about the guitar!
12:29, Bogrim (9th grade): This summer, Bogrim has some really interesting choices for Judaic studies. During Perek Gimmel, Bogrim can be found learning about Israel, God, or Storahtelling. Every Shabbat Mincha, Bogrim campers in the Storahtelling class perform a skit describing that week’s Torah portion. This week, all of Bogrim will get to learn about Matot.
12:36, Machon (10th grade): Like Bogrim, Machon enjoys a number of different Judaic study classes during Perek Bet. They can learn Yiddish—a new offering this summer!—shira hashirim, or biblical stories. In Yiddish class, teacher Eric Lawrence toured his class around camp to the office to learn some new Yiddish words. His students are enjoying learning the language and more about Yiddish culture and history.
12:43, Tikvah (Special Needs Program): Tikvah can be found all around camp during Perek Gimmel. Some Tikvah campers have social skills group, others have their prevocational jobs like helping with Rishonim and in the Marp (infirmary), while still others attend Tikvah Text Class. Each week has been a little bit different in Tikvah Text Class—they started out the summer learning about Bikkur Cholim (visiting the sick), turned to conserving food, and are now moving toward Hebrew. They’ve played “Dag Maluach,” a game similar to red light green light, using and learning Hebrew words.
12: 48, Nivonim (10th grade): While the girls were on their camping and canoe trip this week, the Nivonim boys got to plan their own unique activities. During Perek Gimmel, they dressed up in golf-club clothing—sweaters around their necks, polos, and plaid shorts. They wore slip on shoes and played shoe-golf, lofting their shoes into the air on a set course around camp. It was a sight to see!
With only one perek left before lunch, campers spend the time between Perek Gimmel and Perek Daled catching up with friends before the next perek starts at one. The kikar is full of campers walking from one place to the next as they get ready for the last perek of the morning.
During Perek Bet (second period) from 11-11:45, camp is filled with activity. Each aidah continues their schedule with something slightly different and exciting. Here’s a snapshot of what Perek Bet looks like for all of the aidot:
11:00, Atzmayim (Tikvah Vocational Program Participants): When Perek Bet begins, Atzmayim has already started their workday in Eagle River. Our Atzmayim participants work at a variety of places in a variety of roles, including Eagle River Roasters, Trig’s Grocery Store, Walgreens, The Flour Sack coffee shop, New Beginnings Day Care, the Walter E. Olson Memorial Library, and The Northwoods Children’s Museum. During this hour they’re serving customers that can include our staff members on their days off!
11:06, Kochavim: During Perek Bet, Kochavim enjoys omanut (art). Sitting around the paint-laden table, Kochavim decorates their own challah boards and challah covers. By the last Shabbat they are here, their challah boards and covers will be complete, and they’ll be able to use them for their very own fresh-baked challah.
11:11, Garinim: In Judaic studies class for Garinim, campers are learning about traditional Jewish folktales and modern Jewish stories, and what we can take from these stories to be better versions of ourselves. Learning about inheritance—both literal (monetary) and metaphoric—from our families, campers explored the things they’ve inherited from their families. Garinim campers in Dr. Edna Levy’s class were challenged to write down thirty names on a sheet of paper. When they finished writing—some getting to forty or fifty names of people they know—they were told to underline the names of people who taught them, circle the people who support them, and put a triangle around the people who listen best to them. Campers in Edna’s class both learned about what inheritance means, and how to listen and respect their fellow classmates’ feelings and varying views.
11:17, Solelim: Solelim has either Judaic studies or Hebrew class during Perek Bet. In Hebrew, Solelim is learning about zman (time). In Tzlil Cohen’s class, Solelim learned about the days of the week. They were given a piece of butcher paper and told to draw what each day means for them. They presented their posters for each day using some Hebrew to describe time like “yom” (day), “dakah” (minute), and other words they associate with that day.
11:20, Shoafim: In Hebrew class, Shoafim is learning the words for the colors and body parts. They’ve practiced the Hebrew words for everything from head, “rosh,” to legs, “raglayim.” Using these new words, Shoafim classes played paint twister. On a piece of white butcher paper piled with paint, Shoafim campers and their teachers yelled the Hebrew names for colors, contorting their bodies in order to get their left hand, “yad,” onto the red paint, “adom.” This game helped reinforce the new vocabulary, while also being a lot of fun for our campers.
11:29, Bogrim: Walking onto the sports courts during Perek Bet, you would see Bogrim practicing their free-throws, catching and hitting balls on the softball field, practicing volleys on the volleyball court, and much much more!
11:36, Machon: Machon can be found in the lake during Perek Bet. They have a variety of opportunities, everything from water aerobics, to lifeguard training, to water polo. They’re enjoying learning from each other in the water of Lake Buckatabon.
11:40, Tikvah: Sharing the lake with Machon during Perek Bet, Tikvah has a variety of swimming classes and activities. Some Machon campers spend their swimming time with Tikvah, further developing both friendships and skills in the water.
11:44, Nivonim: From the anafim (specialty areas), to the teatron (small theater), to Eagle River, Nivonim can be found in various areas during Perek Bet. Depending on their choices, Nivonim has their internships, preparation for the Nivo English Play, or their community service projects at the Eagle River Children’s Museum. At the Children’s Museum, Nivonim has been doing a lot of painting. They painted Hopscotch leading up to the main entrance, benches, repainted the fish for the fishpond, among other things. Children who go to the museum are able to make their own volcanoes, and Nivonim campers have also been helping prepare the materials for those. They’re enjoying giving back to the Eagle River community that is so close to our summer home in Conover.
From the kikar to omanut, campers are spread out across camp during Perek Bet. When the perek ends, they rush to get chatif (snack) of granola bars and apples from Sam Gordon’s golf cart, answer his trivia question of the day, and then head to Perek Gimmel.