Camp Makes Us More Independent

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The unit of Kineret led our Friday night Shabbat services last week. Their theme was Bitachon Atzmi or confidence and independence. Below are some of the words they shared.

By Emma, Zora, and Brynna: Everyone has different opinions and definitions about confidence and independence. Here are some of ours. Confidence is standing up for yourself and others. Confidence can also mean trying out new things. Such as staying here for two sessions for the first time. Independence means a lot to us, like: Welcoming new campers and introducing them to camp traditions. Being welcomed by campers and counselors. This makes me feel as if this is my second home. This is my first year of camp and my independence has grown so much already. Independence is also trying out new things you can’t do at home while feeling supported by a strong community like ours. This is what confidence and independence means to us. We challenge you to show confidence and independence, not only here but everywhere.

By Ani and Naomi: When we first met in Carmel, we both needed a little confidence to meet new people the same age as us and older. Towards the ending of camp that year, things went by fast, including different activities and memories, but then came the ending of our first year. We were so excited to come back to camp, but then a little or should I say big thing came in the way: Covid. It destroyed everything plus more. Then when we heard camp was up and running again, we were so excited to come back in Sharon. But the only thing was we had lost all contact with everyone and everything camp related. We still kept that confidence and independence in our minds and we got there, we came back to camp.

By Joshua, Jack, Dylan, and Eli: Before lunch during the Hamotzi, God gives me the confidence and opportunity to join God’s voice in prayer, like many others. God sends me to camp to be independent and make new friends, while I worship God and know what God did for me. When I look at my friends and everything around me, I see God with us all. During this prayer, the Shema, we praise Adonai as one Jewish community, as this prayer brings us all together. We all know what God has done for us, and we thank God.

By Elsie, Max, and Ivy: The Barechu is a prayer that invites us to pray. What is it on this Shabbat you have to say! We say include the crowd. Please help us sing out loud. Confidence is the theme of this Shabbat. The day of rest is something we all need a lot. We ask you to rise for the Barechu. We hope you know we all need you

By Natalie, Jane, and Liv: In the Mi Chamocha we ask who is like you? The Mi Chamocha is also known as the song of the sea. The Mi Chamocha is what the Jews sang when they crossed the sea into freedom. Now, if you think about it, when the Jews were crossing the sea, they thought “walk with confidence in God.” B’tzelem Elohim, being made in the image of God, helps me feel more independent. Whether it is something as small as going to the salad bar alone, or something bigger like talking and getting to know your bunkmate, I feel confident knowing that God created me just the way I’m supposed to be! Having confidence and feeling independent helps me live life more freely. I know who I want to be, what I want to do, and why I want to do those things. Imagine that our ancestors felt the same way as they were about to part the sea. Please join together in the song of the sea, Mi Chamocha.

By Sophia, Charlotte, Haley, and Rachel: We are proud to say this is our second year at our second home, and this is our first year at camp. Arriving at camp for the first time was scary but I had to trust my gut and my own choices. The Hashkiveinu teaches us to trust God, as the middah teaches us to be confident and independent. We can execute these values by being confident in ourselves and trusting we will do the best we can. An example of this at camp is whether doing the swing for the first time or the tower for the millionth, you have to trust yourself and your choices. In the spirit of that, please join us for the Hashkivenu.

By Lily, Sophie, Julia, and Julianna: This year our bunk can be very silly, and it takes strength to find peaceful moments. Peace is different for everyone. For example; when I want to find peace, I usually read. Me too. Me not really. Peace could also be found in talking to friends, drawing, or listening to music. It also takes a lot of confidence to just find peace at camp. We hope you find peace during Shalom Rav.

By Chloe, Maya, and Kate: When we think about Ahavat Olam, we think about peace, love, and happiness. Love, happiness, and loving kindness are the first words that come to mind when I think of peace. Peace means not to fight with one another and to always be nice and not hurt anyone. So try to make peace with your friends at camp. I think about love as soon as I step foot into camp. I think about the love that our counselors give to us everyday, the love between me and my friends when I’m homesick or sad, and the everlasting love in this camp. Happiness is a spark of joy that I get while being with my friends and family. I remember this year on my birthday, I woke up to my friends’ open arms and smiling faces. The joy I felt that day was unforgettable. We all think about different things when we think about Ahavat Olam, but that doesn’t make us any different and we love each other no matter what.

By Micah and Bryce: This week’s theme is Bitachon Atzmi, confidence and independence. We think it takes a lot of confidence to include others, or to be included yourself. When was the last time you felt included? This year was my first summer at Camp Harlam and Micah was here last year. When he included me in his friend group, it made me feel good. It is very important to make everybody feel welcome and included. By doing this you can make many new friends.

By Abraham: Many things have been different in camp than in our normal lives. Many of us have had more chores, busier schedules, and different living arrangements. For me, the biggest change has been that our parents are no longer there to help and comfort us. This has specifically affected me because I have anxiety. For those who don’t know, anxiety is increased fear or worry. So you can imagine that living in a completely new place is not helping. I’m used to being able to just talk to my mom whenever something worries me, but here I can’t do that. I’m also used to being able to hang out with my emotional support pet (aka my dog) almost any time. Here at camp, however, there are no animals, well at least none that I can touch. The change has been hard, but I think I’m getting used to it. I’ve had to be more independent by dealing with a lot of this stuff myself, but I also have great counselors who are always happy to help!

By Eva: It is my first year at camp and I was scared, but when I made my first friend Hannah, she made me feel more confident in myself and she kept on pushing me to try new things. She taught me to be more independent. Most importantly, she made me feel at home by being my friend. She kept pushing me to try the tower and stand by my own decisions. She helped me realize who I was and who I want to be.

By Hannah: Confidence and independence are two words that describe me. I’m confident when I jump off the tower or when I’m speaking to a crowd, and I am independent when I do the right thing without being asked. These two words have a deeper meaning if you aren’t always confident or independent. Sometimes the tower is too tall, the crowd is too big, or you might need help doing the right thing, but that doesn’t mean that you aren’t confident or independent. It just means you needed help that time, you still are these two words, just not at that moment. So if the tower is too tall or you can’t do the right thing, just remember the time that you did climb it or do the right thing on your own. You will have the confidence to do it again because you are those two words whether in the past, present, or future. Anytime or any day you will be confident, you will be independent, and it’s okay if you’re not now, you will be someday.

By Lucy and Jordan: There are so many ways to be independent at Camp Harlam. At camp, we are always working together as a community, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work independently as well. Camp is all about evolving and becoming a better version of yourself. Independence is a huge part of what we do at camp, and that’s why it’s such a great trait to have. When someone puts their trust in you, you might feel like your knowledge, opinion, or thought are valued and relied on. You might also feel independent when you accomplish some things on your own or overcome a challenge, such as going up the tower, falling from the swing, or trying a new food. Even small things like making someone’s bed can make you feel proud. Independence is a huge part of a community and Camp Harlam.

By Sophie and Lauren: There are many ways to become confident at Camp Harlam. For example, when you work hard to clean your bunk and you finally earn the golden plunger! Another example is helping someone make their bed and helping them with something that they’re nervous about, like the swing or the tower. Being complimented also boosts your confidence because it makes you feel better about things. One thing that really boosted my confidence was when people asked to be my friend. That made me much more confident. Confidence is really important and you should show it more in your life and help others with their confidence.

By Zach: This is my first year at camp. Already, I have found my confidence and independence through different activities. I have found that there are two activities at camp that are fun and allow me to be independent. At breakfast, I have found that I can be independent to choose what I want to eat at the breakfast bar. During rest hour, I like to go outside and bounce my ball, I have the independence to do what I want for that hour each day.