Jewish Camps USA

Camp Chi – Dan Delew and Jessy Arkin

We have now been at the amazing Jewish summer camp which is Camp Chi for around 2 weeks. We have been with our designated cabins for just over a week, both of us are in the HABO age group, 13 year olds, The kids have been amazing, they have plenty of energy and enthusiasm for the programmes and have been incredible in welcoming us into the Camp Chi family.

Upon arrival at camp, we were thrown straight into staff week having turned up a week after the specialists, therefore having to play catch up in getting to meet our colleagues. However this was easy as everyone accepted us and already we have made great friends. Alongside this, we also have the bond of the JCUSA group to help each other when times are getting tough or stressful. Staff week was incredibly intense, constant meetings/talks about camp life, but of course very useful.

The highlight of the week for sure was the staff rec where camp hired out the nearby Kalahari indoor water park which we went to from 10pm-1am.

On top of this, the first weekend was phenomenal as it was our first Chi Shabbat experience, something I’m sure we won’t forget for a long time. Following a brilliant service and tasty dinner our Habo leaders gave us instructions to get changed into red, white and blue, and we became part of the tradition of Camp Chi’s song session. All of the staff met with Shorishim, Chaluztim, Noar and SIT (the different units) representing in different colours and for the next 2 hours we sang the night away. What we loved was that there was a diverse selection of songs played from ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ to the campfire classic ‘Wonderwall’. At camp they called it a song sesh, however we now know it as a sweat fest, and it rounded off a truly unique Shabbat experience.

Saturday was essentially a day off, but before our break we had to unload luggage. So the biggest lorry you’ll ever see arrived, and we had to unload every camper’s luggage, let me tell you…these kids don’t pack light! So after a change of clothes and a well needed shower we took the time to prepare for the arrival of the campers the next day. This included of course a trip to good old Walmart where Daniel blew half his budget on rubbish, but then again he thinks his pet fish were a solid investment ($0.28 fish!)

Sunday was the day the campers arrived and it was so exciting. We got our jobs at summer camp mid-January and we had been waiting in suspense for this day. We were also allocated our co-counsellors who had been here for years, campers themselves who were able to answer every question we had about camp life. So the buses arrived and floods of kids emerged. The atmosphere was electric and we finally got to meet our campers. Later that evening the whole camp met for homecoming which was a fantastic experience. We’ve had a great first week with our campers getting to know them and all of their crazy personalities.

A week in, and it’s fair to say we’re all having an amazing time, tried new things and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know our new cabins. Shabbat with the campers was just as unique, it made song session a bigger sweat fest but it was just as amazing for us to experience.

We cannot wait for the forthcoming weeks ahead!