What an amazing week! In a few hours we will gather in the field for our third Shabbat at camp. As I type this update, our chalutzim (campers) are busy working on their pre-Shabbat service projects. As part of these service projects, there are chalutzim fixing the bikes, painting picnic tables, fixing a trail, packing food for our trips next week and putting the finishing touches on a sweat lodge. We have found that there is no better way to transition into Shabbat than spending an hour or two engaged in community service!

We had a full week of programming here at the Ramah Chava (ranch).We began the week with Yom Sport on Sunday, during which two teams competed in outdoor activities all day long.The highlight (for me at least) was the team gaga-game that we played in our Beit Am (not so outdoorsy, but a great game nonetheless). At the end of twelve hours of competition, the winning team had won more points but both teams had a fun day!That night, there was not a sound coming from the tents after 9:00pm because everyone was so tired from the day’s activities.

On Wednesday, we said goodbye to our first group of two week campers and welcomed eleven new ones who came to join the full month chalutzim. It was a bittersweet day, as it is always sad to say goodbye to campers but exciting to welcome the new ones. One parent of a departing camper wrote on our Facebook page: “Thank you for giving Rebekha the best two weeks of her life!” It really was an unbelievable first two weeks.

Chalutzim have also been busy in their activity areas:

· The chalutzim in the bicycle chug have ridden on trails all around the camp and out on our adjacent dirt roads.

· The chalutzim in the rock climbing chug spent a morning on Prospector Mountain, one of the rock faces in the adjoining forest. The chalutzim in the advanced group are currently learning how to set anchors on trees and boulders.

· The chaultzim in wilderness arts and crafts made candle holders and paper made from recycled products they found around camp.

· The chalutzim in wilderness survival learned how to build fires and also constructed much of the sweat lodge.

· The chalutzim in gardening and service projects finished planting the raised bed, laid the foundation for a bridge across one of our streams and installed steps leading up to our shower house. Many have speant the last 24 hours on an organic farming picking the food we will be eating over the next few days.

· The chalutzim in the horse program continued riding lessons and began learning how to do posting trot.

In addition to our regular chugim, some of our programming highlights have been: a camp-wide capture the flag game, afternoon kickball, a morning game of ultimate Frisbee while playing soccer with two balls at once, a tour around Israel on the floor of the chadar ohel (dining hall), Shacharit Live (a musical morning service), Sock Wars (ask your camper to play with you when he or she gets home!), and a camp-wide bonfire with storytelling.

On Sunday afternoon we are transitioning into our excursion groups. We have five groups leaving early Monday morning for five days. Once again a skeleton crew will be left back at camp to begin programming for the following week. Before then we will post pictures online of all the activities and the programs from the weekend.

Please feel free to write or email if you have questions. It is also wonderful to see people posting comments on our Facebook page.

Shabbat Shalom and happy July 4th!