Today was Opening Day for Kallah Bet and we couldn’t have been more excited! At 2 p.m. the first bus pulled into camp with excited campers and parents.
Although there are many returning campers, we have a number of new campers as well. We thought we would give you a bit of an inside view into what Opening Day is like for new campers. And as staff we have all been there, that first year of camp, and we remember it like it was yesterday.
The morning of Opening Day is always a mix of emotions. We all remember being nervous and excited at the same time. We couldn’t wait to meet new friends and have a great summer. Even though jumping into something new was the scary part, the staff and returning campers made it less intimidating.
Today at about 1:30, families drove down Moore Road to get to our offsite parking lot. Moore Road is always the place where the butterflies hit you. You get this feeling that you can’t explain, especially for a first time camper. Once in the parking lot, staff and Avodahniks helped organize camper’s luggage and inform parents on what to do once on camp. Families then loaded the buses and headed to camp.
When they arrived on camp, they filed onto the Mercaz Tochnit to check-in and find out their cabin assignments. First time campers were helped by an Avodahnik and were escorted to their cabins to meet their counselors.
After they had been acquainted with their counselors, they were shown their bunk and where they could keep their belongings for the session. They then unpacked with the help of their family and set up their living space. Many of the new campers like to take a stroll around camp with their parents to get the feel of camp life. At 3:15 p.m. Mark Covitz, Camp Director, held a new parent meeting, to better inform new camper parents of what we do here.
When campers were settled into their cabin’s, parents started to head back to the buses that would return them to their cars. Watching new campers, as well as returning campers, say goodbye to their families really brought us back to when we first said goodbye. It was touching to watch kids tell their parents they loved them and that they would write.
By the time all the parents had left, campers were already bonding with their cabin mates and other campers in their units. Each unit met in different locations to learn cheers and to meet other counselors in their unit. After all the introductions, all of camp went to dinner which was followed by the first song session, service and evening programs of Kallah Bet.
Coming to camp might be scary for first time campers, but we have all been there before and we are still here today to talk about it. We know that all it takes is a couple of hours here and you feel like you have been here for years. Camp is also a Jewish environment that campers can feel at home in and that their opinion matters.
We can’t wait to see what amazing things these new and returning campers will do this session. Even though it’s only the first few hours together, we can see it will be an awesome summer!