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,

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.

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!


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!


07-06-16: Derech Schechter 2016

Posted by on July 6, 2016

Necklaces2016.jpgLast year we launched a very successful program called Derech Schechter (The Schechter Way), a spin on the phrase Derech Eretz (respect).

This year we continued it with a twist: at the start of camp each camper receives a ravid (necklace) with this first token, or tag. Each time our campers are acting like the wonderful mensches they are, they will be rewarded with one of five tokens, which have our values written on them in English and Hebrew: Love, Friendship, Respect, Encouragement, and Kindness. Once a camper earns all five, they will be awarded the coveted "Where Judaism & Joy Are One" tag!

Camp Starts Again! 2016

Posted by on July 1, 2016

Staff Training 2016

I am always amazed at the hard work of the counselors and specialists during staff week. They are so excited to learn, grow, and have fun. This year is no exception: the staff enthusiasm is palpable. This past week staff have been training on safety, activity programing, role modeling, child development, challenge course, lifeguarding, inclusion, and how to be an effective Jewish educator. We have been singing, dancing, playing sports, cleaning up, cooking, and bonding as a group: We camped at the river, went to a Tacoma Rainiers Baseball game, and now we are about to enjoy being together over Shabbat as powerful leaders for the youth of tomorrow. 

Staff training session with Jewish Educator and CSS Board Member Irit Eliav Levin

The Odedim arrived yesterday and are already learning, making new friends, and having a fantastic time. There are some very talented artists, musicians, scholars and athletes in the Oded group this year; they will for sure help take the summer experience to new heights. 

This summer's theme is lo l'facheid k'lal: have no fear. Our goal is to help the campers grow and overcome their fears and trepidations. In order for the staff to help the campers across this very narrow bridge, we all must recognize that we human beings need each other's support and love. Jewish spirituality lives in our midst here at Camp Solomon Schechter, and our conscientious staff are building our summer camp society. At camp, we encourage campers, and staff, to take risks. Faith is the courage to take risks: It is not certainty, it is the ability to live with uncertainty. 


Camp counselors on lunch break

As Shabbat approaches, I can smell the camp Challot baking, and as I get ready to embrace the Shabbat spirit, my heart swells from the amazing opportunity to impart Jewish living, for high impact and youth development. The Aleph Rishon and Bet campers, arriving this Sunday, will certainly enjoy their first week of camp: Super fun Chuggim, new equipment, and exciting evening programs are all in store. We cannot wait for the campers to arrive! An enthusiastic, confident, and competent group of staff and Odedim are ready to great your children and bring the Ruach, so make sure that your camper is ready for the time of their life!

Shabbat Shalom!


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