In this week’s Torah reading Moses recounts the revelation at Mount Sinai during which the Jews were given the Ten Commandments. These Commandments were carved on two stone tablets. According to tradition, the first five address the relationship between individuals and God while the second five address the needs of the community.
On the first day of camp, I talk with each village about their individual hopes and dreams for the upcoming summer. Camp provides many opportunities for each of us to choose our own adventure. Some of us prefer the lake to the pool or pickleball to tennis. Some of us chose a creative chug such as ceramics, dance, or mystery chug while some choose a more active chug such as rock climbing, soccer, or basketball. I asked each camper to think about what they individually wanted out of this summer.
In addition, we talked about the type of community we are building here at Capital Camps. During these first-day talks, I reminded everyone about the Code of Conduct each camper signed. Our Code of Conduct is based on values such as kindness (Chesed), treating everyone with fairness (Tzedek), gratitude (Hakarat Hatov), teamwork (Avodah Tzevet), and social responsibility/community mindfulness (Kehillah).
As we conclude our first week of second session and prepare to celebrate Shabbat, I am very proud of the ways we have come together as a community. I admire the Kaufmann campers who took it upon themselves to help their peers use kind words and the Benjamin campers who shared the many ways they are thankful for new friends. Our LITs showed amazing teamwork as they planned and ran a mini Maccabiah program for our Rookie campers. In Reich Village, several bunks have joined together to form grade-level cohorts and Macks Village had a special program with representatives from JCADA (Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse) on healthy and positive relationships. And of course, our CITs are enjoying the hands-on learning that comes from the opportunity to work with campers.
At camp, we recognize that each of us is created B’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God. Each camper and staff member is valued and appreciated. Everyone has a role to play in creating and building this year’s special and unique second session community. We had an amazing first week and can’t wait to see where this summer’s adventure leads us.