Tzad Aleph Peulat Erev: Creativity and Connection at its Best! By Pamela Kekst and Emma Neusner
If you were in camp on a typical Monday night around 7:00pm, you would most likely see campers participating in Peulot Erev (evening activities), which are planned by madrichim (counselors) to educate, challenge and engage campers with their peers and with our camp community. Peulot erev can involve games, medurot (campfires), competitions or game shows. To bring camp closer to home through our Ramah M’rachok (Ramah from a distance) programming, we ran a peulat erev via Zoom this week. This activity for campers in grades 3-7 had one objective: to make everyone laugh!
We kicked off the evening with a discussion of all the laws that state governments have put in place to keep everyone safe right now. We all agreed that following these laws is very important in today’s world. However, we also pointed out that sometimes states make laws that have some silly origins, many of them still in effect today! For example, in Arkansas, it is illegal to honk your horn near a sandwich shop after 9pm. And, in South Dakota, it is illegal to sleep in a cheese factory.
We divided the campers on the call into two groups using Zoom breakout rooms and asked them to create a skit that explains why the “silly law” might have been enacted. The results were truly inspirational. Campers from different tzrifim (bunks) and edot (divisions) quickly became comfortable working together. Their creativity and energy were tremendous! Campers sourced props from their homes to use in their skits, and even passed these objects through the screen to each other! There were smiles and laughter, and for just a moment we forgot about COVID-19, staying at home, and wearing face masks.
The “silly law” prompts were a vehicle towards what the best camp programming ignites in all of us: creativity and connection. It was especially powerful to see this play out over Zoom, a newer medium for camp programming that we have been exploring over the past few months. We were truly able to bring the spirit of Ramah to our campers remotely, as the best Ramah M’Rachok programming seeks to do.