Machon Big Brothers / Big Sisters a Huge Success
As part of their community service this summer, a number of Machon campers are serving as pioneers in Ramah New England's brand new MachAch program. MachAch (short for Machon Achim, Hebrew for Machon brothers / sisters) matches a Machon camper with an Ilanot (entering 4th or 5th grade) or Solelim (entering 6th grade) camper for the summer. At various points throughout the week, each MachAch meets with his/her buddy to play games together, hang out with other friends, talk about their week, or share Shabbat-o-grams on Friday evening. The feedback from the program has been fantastic. Many Ilanot/Solelim campers tell their madrichim (counselors) how much they look forward to seeing their MachAchim, and the MachAchim have really taken to their new leadership role in camp. During the Zimkudiyah (camp-wide performing arts performance) for example, the MachAchim were watching the Ilanot and Solelim song and dance with pride, searching for their buddies in the crowd and pointing out to their friends what a great job their buddy was doing.
"I feel great to be able to have a positive impact on his summer" said one MachAch, reflecting on the program. Another explained: "it's challenging sometimes, but I think this is what it will be like to be in Nivonim next year, or a counselor in a few years."
Aside from the experience of sharing their summer with another camper, the MachAchim are learning skills in responsibility, time management, camp-counseling, conflict resolution, and interpersonal communication. While many of the MachAchim are looking forward to spending the next 4 weeks with their buddies, many others are disappointed to see their buddies leave when the first session ends on Sunday. However, all are excited to meet their new MachAch buddies when the second session begins on Tuesday.
Here are some photos of our MachAchim with their buddies during "Bechirot" (options) time this week.