Shoafim hit the tents Monday night and went on our very own overnight to the camp treehouse. Etgar (challenge) is a great experience each session where our chanichim (campers) get to experience a camping trip within the confines of campgrounds. In the evening, we split up into shvatim (tribes) and created shevet (tribe) names, calls and responses. We packed up our stuff and headed out to the treehouse!
We split up by shvatim on arrival at the campsite and each group worked on a different task of putting everything together. We built tents, collected firewood, and cooked an appetizing meal of macaroni & cheese with vegetables.
After getting settled and eating dinner, we sent all of the chanichim up into the treehouse (yes, it does fit that many people simultaneously!). As they peered down from the different levels of the treehouse, several madrichim (counselors) stood around the medura (campfire) and began chanting in tribal fashion. We called the campers down from the treehouse one by one and initiated them into the tribe of Shoafim. In order to do so, each camper received his or her new tribal name and had to pass through the Ring of Fire (hula hoop)!!
After a sufficient amount of face paint and excitement, we celebrated everyone’s intiation into Shoafim with s’mores and got ready for bed. Once the whispers died down, we slept under the stars in our own built tents. In the morning, we enjoyed some oatmeal and t’filot (prayers) and headed back to camp.
Of course there are always complaints about etgar. Sleeping on hard ground and cooking our own food is a new, or at least rare, experience for most of our chanichim. However, that is what makes etgar such an integral part of each session. Camp is a place for new things, tastes, and skills. Etgar is a shared experience we have that helps foster different internal bits of ourselves we never knew we had. Shoafim was challenged and Shoafim succeeded!