After a tumultuous night, students were given the opportunity to sleep in a bit and take a leisurely breakfast on this first full day together at camp. Following a hearty meal (scrambled eggs, hashbrowns and fresh fruit), students circled up on the grass with Mr. Shapiro for a debrief on the previous night and were given an opportunity to refocus and look ahead to the week’s activities. Refocused and refreshed, students jumped in to the day’s activities without hesitation: the climbing wall, archery, an eco-spa and pickling (green beans and sauerkraut) were among the many options. After dinner and cake for Gabe’s birthday, each student got a smores kit, found themselves a stick and got to roasting their marshmallow over the evening campfire. Read more from a few students in the blog post below.
Yesterday, our morning started very quickly and everyone signed up for electives to do for the day. The choices were rock climbing, archery, boot camp and eco spa (which was an herbal exploration activity). Some friends and I chose boot camp, but since we were tired from the previous night, some of the electives got skipped so that everyone had a chance to rest up and eat a late breakfast. My next activity was rock climbing, and even though at first I wasn’t very enthusiastic to climb so early, it ended up being super fun, and a great start to the day. I can’t wait to see what the teachers have planned for us next.
Last night, we ended our day with a bonfire and smores making. I really enjoyed this because besides meals this was one of the only activities we did as a whole grade. I know I took a lot of photos of me and my friends. Before we went to the bonfire, at dinner, we asked how can we push ourselves. I really thought about this at the bonfire and how I could talk to more people than just people in my friend group. As I reflect on this now, I really made the bonfire a better experience for myself since I pushed myself socially.
I really enjoyed archery today and I got to practice. I also did rock climbing and a ropes course. I was worried to continue on the climbing wall but I made it to the top of them. Then on the ropes course, surprisingly, I looked at the scenery when I was at the top and did not get scared. It was beautiful. We also did a couple of other activities. We ended the day with smores and a campfire. It was such a great day. Another thing that was great was the food because it was better than I had expected. So that was my first day in Georgia.
On the first full day of our trip, I decided to go to the Alpine Tower. When I got there with my group of friends, I was a little nervous. When it was my turn to go up, I decided to do the Jacob’s ladder, which was wood boards a couple of feet above each other to create a ladder. Halfway through the ladder, my nerves started to kick in, but I decided to test my limits and push through to make it to the top. I felt a rush of happiness when I saw my peers and teachers cheering for me. In the end, I really enjoyed this activity because it made me challenge myself in a way that I often don’t get to do.
Shira, Bernard Zell ShinShinim
An unpredictable incident occurred last night when the two buses were following the GPS up a gravel road on the way to camp. The first bus lost its grip when the driver tried to take one of the turns and got stuck with his back tire off the edge of the path.
The driver and the Bernard Zell staff members that were on the bus took a few minutes to see the situation, to assess any damage and to figure out how are we all going to get out of there as safe as possible, while the students helped each other, and themselves, to stay as calm as they could.
At first, while still on the bus, we couldn’t see exactly what had happened, but after we got out of the bus and moved safely from it, we realized it was a combination of good thinking, calm behavior and following instructions that allowed us to step away from the situation with no harm.
After a little while, we all found ourselves crowded in one bus with a lot of noise, a bit of shock and the thoughts of what had just occurred. The staff members were in touch with all kinds of people and help was on the way, so the students felt ensured that it was all going to be okay. However, some had trouble with the situation and were a bit overwhelmed by it, for that reason we decided to lighten the mood with a movie, card games, singing, talking, breathing some fresh air and even wishing a happy birthday to Gabe when it became his birthday at midnight.
Slowly, slowly around 1 a.m., students were sent in small groups with one adult each time with the help of the camp’s workers, who drove back and forth until the last group of students arrived at camp a little before 4 a.m. Once they arrived, they found their rooms and were asked to get comfortable and try to fall asleep. After the long day that they had been through, it wasn’t too hard for most of the students to doze off, although some kept trying to get calmer and it took a while. But eventually, everyone succeeded, and that put an end to this crazy, challenging night.