By Kara Weiner
My name is Kara Weiner. I will be a second year staff member in Omanut (Arts and Crafts) this summer, and I have been a camper at Harlam since 2003. Last week, I went to OSRUI (A URJ camp in Wisconsin) for the Kivun Visual Arts retreat. The goal of the Kivun program is to network staff members from all of the URJ and Ramah camps in North America, and to provide further training in our specialty areas that will helps us to integrate Judaism into everyday lessons at camp. Kivun covers many specialties, including sports, music, hiking, and more. However, I attended the Visual Arts portion of Kivun.
At the end of the week, we all presented a few lesson plans on things we planned to do this summer. Some of the ideas I hope to incorporate this summer include making items for the Passover Seder, making a Mezuzah out of recycled egg cartons, and using torn paper to represent scenes from the Torah. Another one of the things I presented was this scene made out of paint and melted crayons.
Another fun technique we learned was sun dye. It is a great alternative to tie dye that allows children to use more creativity than tie dye would. The process allows you to put words, patterns, and shapes on items by allowing the dye to dry in the sun with the design on top – and the color still shows beautifully. Beyond making shirts, as is traditionally done with tie dye, we can use sun dye to make Matzah covers, Challah covers, pillows, scarves, and anything that our campers come up with. It created beautiful results. Of course some things from previous summers will be kept or adapted, but this is a great opportunity to add some fresh ideas to the amazing ones that we already have.
Looking towards the future, the group plans to stay connected. We have a Facebook page the we are using to continue to share ideas for projects that we come up with and show off the work of our campers. This way the work we did continues beyond the four days that we were together, and we can continue to build on the activities done at every camp. This was a great experience and extremely valuable to learning new techniques and projects, making friends, and learning how to teach Judaism through art. This will help to create the best possible experience for every camper and staff member who visits the Art Shack this summer. Much thanks to the URJ and Camp Harlam for sending me, and to the coordinators of the Kivun programming. I can’t wait to share my experiences with campers this summer!