Mach Ach – It’s Magical! by Jon Weinreich, Rosh Machon

Here at Camp Ramah New England, an exceptional weekly program brings together two edot (units), Machon and Kochavim, to foster a unique bond between our 15-year-old campers and their 7–8-year-old counterparts. Each Shabbat morning, these campers unite on the Tzad Aleph Migrash (A-Side field) to engage in various activities like gaga, cards, or a friendly game of catch.  

 The magic of this program, which we call “Mach Ach” (a play on the name of Machon, the older edah (unit), and Ach, the Hebrew word for “brother”), lies in the mentorship opportunities it promotes. The older campers take on the role of caring mentors and friends, offering guidance and companionship to younger chanichim (campers). Witnessing the camaraderie between the two age groups is truly inspiring as the older chanichim become positive role models and guides to younger generations.  

 Mach Ach makes a broad impact at camp. The Machon chanichim experience the fulfillment of guiding and nurturing their younger counterparts, while the younger children are exposed to a positive influence and are able to foster a strong sense of admiration. Mach Ach has become an integral part of the camp experience for both Machon and Kochavim chanichim, creating memories and long-lasting relationships.  

 Here are some quotes from both our Kochavim and Machon chanichim about this program: 

 Kochavim Quotes:  

Evie S. about Alex – “We get to walk around and ask questions of them. It is fun because I don’t have a big sister and sometimes she is like my big sister.” 

Zoey R. about Maya R. – “I love everything! Every Saturday we go to the Omanut (Arts and Crafts) porch and we play cards and she plays nice with me. We have fun.” 

Maddy D. about Amelie – “She always listens and plays with me.” 

Naama P. about Eden – “I just like having her because she is fun! We play cards and talk about camp.” 

Machon Quotes: 

Dahlia C. about Eden – “I’ve been looking forward to doing Mach Ach since I was little because I looked up to mine and it meant a lot to me to spend time with someone who already had gone through camp.” 

Andy B. about Henry F. – “It is an hour on Shabbat hanging with someone who I wouldn’t normally see. Playing frisbee and hanging out. I give them someone to talk to who isn’t a counselor.” 

Sam B. about Ozzie Z. – “It’s really nice to get to know a kid on A-Side, get to know them and make them feel they have a friend to talk to on B-Side. When I was young, Ben F, who I thought was huge, had an impact on me. We played football and had fun. I want to pass it on.”  

Maya R. about Zoey R. – “I don’t have family here anymore, so it is nice to have someone you can look for in a crowd and talk to. I think it is similar for her – she has me as an older sister she can talk to.” 

Amelie R. about Maddie – “It is a really great opportunity to get to know an A-Side camper; it is a taste of being a MiNi (a Nivonim CIT) and then a madricha (counselor) one day. It’s great for the Kochavimer because it helps them learn about camp from another camper.”