Nivonim Clipboard Ceremony

Yesterday, as the hanichim/campers arrived, we asked them to write down the first word that came to their mind when they hear the word “leadership”.

Fast forward to tonight.

The tzevet/staff brought the entire edah/division out to the field and had them line up in even rows. I asked them to be seated and I spoke briefly to the edah.  This is a selection of my address to the hanichim:

“I have always heard Nivonim translated as “The Wise Ones.”  While there is truth in this translation, I am not sure that it accurately does it justice.  The root, the shoresh of Navon, is BinaBina means understanding.

According to the ancient mystics of our tradition, Bina is one of the most important traits that a person can acquire. Knowledge is easily attained.  But a deeper understanding of things is much more difficult. Think about it for a second. You can easily know another person. But how much harder is it to truly understand them and where they are coming from?

You are at a point in your camper careers when you can really understand camp. You get it. And that is why you are here in this leadership program—it is what makes you Nivonim. You understand camp and you want to make the rest of camp understand what you already do: that Camp Ramah is the most special place in the world.”

After I spoke, the hanichim were asked to get up one-by-one. They were first presented with a leadership certificate and then they were given a candle.  They walked with their lit candles by mirrors that had their leadership words written on them. They were able to see themselves in the mirrors as the leaders that they wanted to be, with their ideal leadership traits reflecting back at them. They then signed the final blank mirror as a contract symbolizing their commitment to becoming leaders of our wonderful Ramah community. I then gave every member of Nivonim their very own clipboard.

With the clipboards, all of the hanichim were transformed into Madrichim b’Nivonim/counselors that are Nivonimers (or MiNis for short).

One beautiful moment that really captures the emotions of the evening:  When S’gan/Assistant Rosh Edah Emily asked Sammy if he was ready to accept this responsibility of leadership, he replied with a grin from ear to ear, “I’ve been waiting my whole life for this!”

Categories: Nivonim