08-05-16: Special Week 2016

Posted by on August 5, 2016

What a fantastic week at camp it has been!  Thank you for sending your talented and smart campers to Camp Solomon Schechter this summer! They are great athletes, musicians, and schmoozers.

GimmelBBallTournWebSquare.jpg This past week we enjoyed plenty of physical activity. For example, during our exciting Cabin Basketball Tournament, the 10th grade girls were inspirational against some very skilled boys teams. The ruach was off the charts during Maccabiah with sports, cheers, and zimriya(song and performances by the teams). This was topped off with the Double Dare evening program.

Early in the week we had Backwards Day, which meant we ate dinner in the morning and breakfast at lunch, and did our ever-popular Top Chef evening program at the start of the day. As sunset marked the end of the day, we went back to normal with our usual with degel(flag) gathering and our great and beloved Lip Sync evening program. 

GimmelCampFireGirlsWebSquare.jpg Tonight is Shabbat, and we are all so excited not only for our great food, our rousing shira(song) sessions, and all the free time afforded on this important day of rest, but also because of some very special guests!

As you have probably heard, starting yesterday and for the next couple of weeks, we are hosting the Sephardic Adventure Camp (SAC), which had to quickly move out of their original campsite due to nearby fires. (You can read more about this elsewhere on our blog .) The campers were so excited when I told them that SAC was coming to our facility to run their camp alongside our Gimmel session this summer. I am truly impressed by our staff, who have been fantastic at accommodating SAC and going the extra mile to prep for them. I also appreciate the many parents who have written to us and expressed how thankful they are that CSS truly lives its Jewish values. This will certainly be a special Shabbat with two special Northwest Jewish camps celebrating our shared heritage together! 

Shabbat Shalom - 
A Shabbat of peace to all of us,
Sam

 

08-02-16: Welcoming SAC Guests 2016

Posted by on August 2, 2016

On Monday, August 1, the Sephardic Adventure Camp (SAC), an Orthodox camp from Washington State, was evacuated from their campsite in eastern Washington due to a forest fire. Consistent with our Jewish value of hachnasat orchim (welcoming guests), we will be hosting SAC at Camp Solomon Schechter August 5 - 17; and our staff will embrace Schechter's theme for the summer of "Lo Lefached Clal (Have No Fear at All)" as we deal with double the number of people we had planned! It is bashert (meant to be) that we have enough beds to accommodate them. The logistics are complicated, but we are certainly up to the challenge. They will run their programs concurrently and separate from ours. Food service is one of the greatest challenges; we will eat in shifts, and SAC will prepare all of their nut-free and strictly-kosher food offsite and bring it in to camp each day.

SAC has about 90 campers and 30 staff for a total of 120 people, so our camp will be filled with Jewish children enjoying their summer. Our staff is prepared to work extra hard to ensure that the Schechter Gimmel experience is not impacted but is enhanced by this unexpected change. SAC staff know that the Schechter campers must have their fun in the Schechter way and that we will not change our halakha, kashrut, dress code, dancing, swimming, or programming; nothing will change for the Schechter campers other than they may meet more Jewish teens. Since SAC will be here with 3rd - 10th grade campers, we have a very clear plan to make sure that our Gimmel campers still have their usual dances and fun without impact from having younger campers on site. This is exciting and challenging for Schechter, but I believe in my heart that this is the right thing to do, and that our campers and staff will understand and live up to our Jewish values to help other Jews in need. We wish SAC a great summer session and look forward to our Schechter campers continuing to have an amazing summer!

Please contact me with any questions, comments, concerns or feedback at director@campschechter.org.

B'Shalom,
Sam Perlin
Executive Director
Camp Solomon Schechter

07-29-16: Gimmel Starts 2016

Posted by on July 29, 2016

 
We have lots of new sports and activities at Camp Solomon Schechter this year. Our Olympiad period, where each cabin plays against another cabin in kick ball, dodge ball, or capture the flag, really gets everyone moving. Our new equipment includes Knockerballs (shown at right), nine-square-in-the-air, spike ball, and the CORCL water craft, and they are getting great reviews! 

This summer chanichim have z'man yachad (together time), when they have informal learning, socialization, and physical activity. We have also introduced lots of new prayers and songs using our new camp shiron (songbook), and the chanichim still love Torah Zone, a multimedia play based on the weekly Torah portion. 

Everyone at camp is looking forward to tonight and Shabbat, when the ruach will be off the charts, with its moving services, delicious dinner, and rousing shira(singing). 
 
Our Odedim (some of whom are shown here, on the bus for a trip to Mt. Rainier) are back this weekend for one last Shabbat, along with the Odedim from 2015, who are also here for the weekend for their reunion. 

The Mt. Rainier trip is a very deserved reward for those who have completed our counselor-in-training and leadership program. Thursday night they read their palanca letters, which their parents wrote to them, and many of them cried from being so happy and moved. The Oded have been fantastic and will make an excellent new crop of madrichim next summer!

Shabbat Shalom - 
A Shabbat of peace to all of us,
Sam


07-22-16: Welcoming Guests 2016

Posted by on July 22, 2016

What a fantastic week it has been!


As usual the sessions are flying by: somehow this is the last Shabbat of Aleph Sheini and Bet. Your children are growing into passionate and caring people committed to their friends, this camp, and to making the world a better place. 

Aleph Sheini campers (most here for the first time) have quickly adapted to the pace of life at camp, and they have enjoyed a cookie-making contest, farmers market, and meeting new friends. This week we celebrated Yom Tevanut(a day of art, Judaism, and nature) which featured a Tu B'shvat Seder and Israel Day, with Israeli food and activities, was mitzuyan(excellent)! Popular Chuggim (activities) this summer are gardening, cooking, hippie chug, swimming, and boating, and our sports tournaments (soccer, basketball, and capture the flag) have been thrilling. Our Odedim went on a canoeing trip and to Wild Waves, in addition to organizing a carnival for all of camp. They are an integral part of Schechter and the staff have all remarked on their growth and usefulness! 

Hachnasat Orchim(Welcoming guests)
Schechter is a community camp, and our community partners truly understand the importance of Schechter in developing their own futures. It was fantastic to have so many visitors this week: Rabbi Infeld and Rabbi Bluman, from Beth Israel; Religious School Education Directors Rachel Wachtel and Eliyahu Krigel from Congregation Beth Shalom and Herzl-Ner Tamid respectively; and Steve Albert, from Portland Jewish Academy and the Mitleman JCC. We also had Jeff, a nature photographer from Port Townsend, helping the campers become inspired to use a camera as an instrument of art. We have another artist this summer, Chris Julian, that is making a special shedwe are calling a Hakhel; this will also hold our Torah, chumashim, talitot, and trillion, and is made possible through a grant from the SAMIS foundation of Seattle.

Judaism and Joy are One!
Teva(nature), limmud (Jewish study), and t'fillot(prayers) all have a profound impact on campers, and traditional Judaism continues to be a rock of inspiration and common ground here. It's amazing to watch campers strive to be good people, do mitzvot (good deeds), and random acts of kindness; campers genuinely want to help in creating our wonderful, caring community. Once again, thank you so much for sharing your wonderful children with us. Camp is beautiful, safe, and joyous, and both chanichim (campers) and madrichim (staff) are doing an excellent job of providing an immersive Jewish experience! Your choice to send you child to camp was a wise one! Kol Hakavod and Toda Raba!

A Shabbat of peace to all of you.
Sam



07-15-16: Groundbreaking 2016

Posted by on July 15, 2016


 

This past Sunday we had a major event, which you hopefully saw on our Facebook page: Camp Solomon Schechter hosted a formal groundbreaking ceremony to commemorate the start of major construction here at camp. From 60 to 120: The Campaign to Build Jewish Continuityis a $12 million multi-year project, beginning this fall, to refurbish the camp's facilities over the coming years. The Samis Foundation also informed us that they are extending the deadline for their $1.5M challenge match. This means your gift can still be matched dollar for dollar by the Samis Foundation.

We want to thank all of our donors who have given generously to this project, with a special acknowledgement to our Leadership Donors: 

Carl & Joann Bianco
The Diskin Family
Laura & Michael Ellenhorn
Bruce & Peggy Gladner
Greenstein Family Foundation
The Harold Grinspoon Foundation
The Holzman Family
The Huppin Family
Garry & Judith Kahn
The Mackoff Family
Herb & Lucy Pruzan
Corey Salka & Lisa Orlick-Salka
The Samis Foundation
The Stampfer Family
The Stern Family

For a complete list of donors or to find out more about the campaign, check out our campaign website.
 

Shalom from Tumwater! 
 
What a fantastic week it has been! 
During the second week of the Aleph Rishon and Bet sessions we saw drier weather and had tons of fun. As you probably saw from the photos in the Parent Center, everyone is having a fantastic time in so many different ways. This year's Derech Schechter program (which you can read about on our blog) is working beautifully once again; we awarded our first Judaism & Joy tag today to a camper who managed to earn all five mensch tags (kindness, respect, encouragement, love, and friendship). 

Some of our very brave Aleph campers have jumped off of the high dive. Most Bet campers have really enjoyed the campouts and reading the "PJ Our Way" book, Path of Names, during their cabin time. And, for sure, they all love the zip-line! 

This week began with the ever-popular Yom Disney on Sunday, which our Aleph campers especially enjoyed, but, literally, everyone at camp was singing and dancing along with Disney songs during breakfast!

Bet campers have been going bananas with Maccabiah this week, which includes Double-Dare and concludes with enthusiastic zimriya (skits). The Bet campers had an excellent time at their first dance of the season and, since it was on Sunday, it was Disney-themed. I saw some great costumes, like the wolves from Jungle Book

Even more than Disney World, camp is the greatest place on earth: I have seen so many smiles and heard so much laughter. This summer at Camp Solomon Schechter, just like summers past, Judaism and Joy are One! 

May our beloved CSS community have a Shabbat of Peace and Rest!
Sam

 
 

07-08-16: Our First Shabbat 2016

Posted by on July 8, 2016


 
Toda Raba (thank you) and Yasher Koach (congratulations) for sending your children to Camp Solomon Schechter! By entrusting us with your children this summer, you are ensuring that they have a very meaningful and exciting Jewish experience, and that we, together, are strengthening our greater Jewish community. 

I can't believe our first week is already wrapping up! Our days are jam-packed with fun outdoor activities, such as our zip-line and challenge course, and the campers love our evening programs. Our 4th of July celebration on Monday night was a great way to start off these first two sessions of the summer. (Take a look at the video on our Facebook page!)


Our limmud (Jewish learning) period has been reconceived as yachat z'man yacht (together time), our t'fillot (prayers) have been reenergized, and we have been introducing lots of new rituals at camp. We started off this session with a program that takes the campers through the Jewish year; many campers said that coming to camp was the most important Jewish experience of their year! As always, we are working extra hard to infuse all of our programming with Jewish content and values. (You can read more about this, and our Derech Schechter program, on our blog.) Here at CSS we are proud of the fact that our camp community (over 325 of us are currently here!) is bringing together Conservative Judaism and creating innovative identity-forming experiences for kids in our region.


Tonight we celebrate camp's first Shabbat of the summer, which is a time when we see the magic of camp happen in its purest form. Campers spend Saturday resting, playing, singing and dancing with their friends; then wrap up the day with Havdallah to say goodbye to Shabbat and welcome the coming week. And next week is going to be just as special as this past one! 


Shabbat Shalom!
Sam


 


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