Nightstalker: a Popular Night-time Peulat Tzrif!
Is Nightstalker my most lasting contribution to Camp Ramah? Maybe!
Nightstalker is a fun night-time peulat tzrif (bunk activity) that tzrifim (bunks) can choose to sign up with me to do. I often play 3-6 games a week.
Nightstalker is basically a night-time game of tag, with the entire tzrif versus me. We play on the Tzad Aleph lower migrash (A-side lower field). The kids start at one end of the field and I start at the other. They’re trying to sneak up on me. If anyone can tag me with both hands, the tzrif wins! I’m looking for them with my eyes and listening for them with my ears. If I see or hear anyone, I shine a flashlight on them, and they have to get up, run back to the starting line on the other end of the field, and begin again. I’m not allowed to sweep the field with my flashlight; the light is just how I communicate to someone from across the field that I’ve spotted them. Games usually last 25-30 minutes.
I’ve been very impressed over the years at how kids have strategized how to work together and/or work the natural obstacles on the field to find a way to sneak up on me! I win more games than I lose, but usually each machzor (session) there are a few tzrifim who can beat me.
Win or lose, it’s always a fun adventure for the kids. I play with tzrifim of all ages, from Kochavimers to Nivonimers.
How did this all start? I learned the game as a kid in the Boy Scouts (Troop 41 in Woodbridge, CT!). When I was a madrich (counselor) in the nineties, I played it a few times with my chanichim (campers). I continued playing it a few times as a special peulah (program) with tzrifim in my edah when I was a rosh edah. Then those kids grew up and became madrichim/ot and asked me to play with their tzrifim. And so on and so forth over the years, until the game spread across camp.
It’s one of my favorite fun things to do with kids at camp! Everyone is so happy after we play. Just look at the smiles in some of these post-game photos!!