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Summer 2019 Reflections

Updated: Mar 29, 2021

Gilboa's tzevet (staff) took some time to reflect on some of the most meaningful, memorable, and fun experiences from this past summer.


Isaac, Becca, Naomi, Mak, Maya

We were so sad when we had to say “shalom v’lehitraot” to our chanichimot - we had a great summer! We saw them grow so much over the session, as they participated in fun experiences such as breaking open a pinata made of our collective kupa candy, learning in peulot (educational activities), and planning their own activities such as a surprise party and a paint war.

At Yom Kvutzah, a day dedicated to forming bonds within the age group while exploring camp and participating in special adventures, we had a variety of fun activities such as kayaking, having a bunch of snacks, designing ice cream creations, and tie-dying.

A super fun peula was about our movement Habonim Dror and our sister movement in Israel, Ha’noar Ha’oved v’Ha’lomed. The kids learned about the 6 different machanot (camps) in North America. They totally understood the power behind being a part of a large, motivated group of people and its importance in society. We ran around machaneh, pretending that we were stopping at different machanot, doing activities such as painting the grass purple (like at camp Moshava) and watching a fun video about camp Tavor ( This was an especially cool experience because two of us (their madrichimot) are from Tavor and Israel, respectively.


Sarah, Lili, Nitzan, Jack

This summer, SayCho launched a kindness campaign to promote love and inclusion at machaneh (camp). We felt this was an important activity to bring the kvutzah together as a mixed grades group -- talking about how to have thriving friendships despite differences seemed especially fitting.

The campaign started with watching Brene Brown’s animated clip on the difference between empathy and sympathy. We discussed what qualities make a good friend and the importance of listening actively and without judgement. We also talked about how Rabbi Hillel’s sage wisdom “what is hateful to you, do not do unto your neighbor” ought to inspire a culture of compassion both at Gilboa and the world. To launch the campaign, everyone wrote their own kindness quote and decorated the various places at machaneh with uplifting advice, adding the hashtag #saycho4kidness.

We were blown away throughout the session as we witnessed how much kindness and support the kvutzah developed with one another. Of course, we also made sure to infuse a healthy dose of running, screaming, candy, and adventures throughout the session. One especially fun activity we did this summer was a candy scavenger hunt! To make it extra fun, one madricha stood at the end holding a camera while the whole kvutzah ran towards her. We put the video in slow motion and featured SayCho’s happy faces in the slideshow that was shown to all of camp at the end of the session!


Emma, Noga, Ben, Abby

This summer, mazkirut spent a lot of time re-envisioning the way Gilboa addresses rule-breaking. Ruby, our star Melavah (Director of Camper Wellbeing), worked to implement a system of restorative justice with the goal of identifying the underlying cause of a person’s actions and re-integrating them into the community. One way that this manifested for the Shomrimot this summer was when the boys decided to spray paint a heart onto the wall of their tzrif (cabin). Cute, yes. But also against the rules.

A group of the boys, a couple of their counselors, and a member of mazkirut gathered to talk about what had happened, why it was against the community’s rules (we make decisions on camp design collectively), and what could be done to rebuild the trust they had broken. Together, they decided to create a mural! They created a vision — a quote, “everyone is welcome here,” and a splatter-painted background. Then, during chofesh (free time) they and their madrichimot (counselors) got to work! What they created was a beautiful mural that not only helped them feel ownership over the physical site, but also inspired a wave of mural-making in the kvutza. Over the next week, a number of shomrimot worked together to create their own beautiful murals. As you walk around machaneh now, you can see the result of our restorative justice work and the creativity and investment in the community that the Shomrimot brought to this session.


Amalia, Josh, Ada

Hello from Bongo tzevet -- Amalia, Josh, and Ada! We had the absolute pleasure of being madrichimot (counselors) for the Bongos (rising 9th and 10th graders) during second session. We came up with the name Bongo in response to the combination of Bonimot and Bogrimot (as Bongrimot sounds ridiculous.)

Charlie and Dalia cannot stop laughing at Zoe and Tomek's "Re-enacting Soviet Peasantry" chug presentation!

In the short time that we were with these kids, we were able to pack in so much adventure and so many leadership opportunities. Twice during 2nd session the Bongos ran Zman Bongo (Bongo Time) for the younger kids. They were incredibly creative in the chugim (electives) they chose to run. Some highlights were: Making Fairy Houses, Re-enacting Soviet Peasantry, Spacejam, Watching the Democratic Debates While Making Art, and more.

The Bongos helped to run a couple of tochniot erev (evening activities) with tzevet (staff). The added responsibility gave them more ownership over machaneh (camp), and developed their connection to each other and to camp.

The Bongos also bonded on tiyul (hiking trip) and Yom Kvutzah. We hiked to Boulder Bay and had a lovely afternoon together swimming and playing frisbee. The hike was challenging, but the experience was so much fun. We could not have climbed Castle Rock without each other!

We went on another mini tiyul (hike) on Yom Kvutza (age group bonding day). We hiked to a natural spring and had a fancy picnic with fresh-squeezed lemonade made from the springwater. The hike was longer than we thought, but the destination was a hit and we made it back in record time.

Besides all of this, Bongos had an educational process with each other through peulot on topics ranging from the emergence of Labor Zionism to nationalism to gun violence and white nationalism. On Yom Israel the kvutzah grappled with the day to day realities in Israel/Palestine, and developed more of an understanding of what it means to feel responsibility towards Israel/Palestine as American Jewish teenagers.

We miss them all very much!


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