Greetings to all YMCA Jerusalem Summer Camp Alumni.
On occasion, as I greet young campers entering the building, I’m surprised by a parent’s familiar face. Recognizing that face from my own childhood’s summer camp memories at the Jerusalem YMCA, I cannot avoid the cyclic symbolism. These special panoramic moments bridge past and present and fill me with joy for just being there.
I am both happy and proud to keep this wonderful cycle alive in a place as wondrous as the Jerusalem YMCA. For over 80 years these moments have been repeating themselves as youngsters come to spend their summers in a multi-cultural, pluralistic and friendly environment.
Morning hours are the best, as counselors eagerly await the kids with the day’s activities. Music and gaiety in the air, and the nibbling of morning fresh bun commences. Groups of campers disperse en-route to the experiences scheduled for each day. Not a moment to lose with a schedule so tight, the campers flow from one activity to the next as the day progresses. Groups are shepherded by a team of wonderful, handpicked people. The kids change from swimming classes to art workshops, and then to any of a host of topic specific activities tailored to their interests.
At lunchtime we all sit down for a hearty meal served by the summer camp staff themselves. Seconds anyone? As part of a collective social effort, campers are required to assist in clearing of the lunch tables at meal’s end.
Activities continue after lunch with a focus on expressiveness. Art, music and drama are employed by the counselors to take the collective and individual pulse of the group and its members.
All of our counselors have successfully passed a special two year training program here at the YMCA qualifying them to take part in our multi-cultural and multi-lingual experience.
In the name of the summer camp staff, and the entire Jerusalem YMCA staff I wish you all a wonderful summer, and I hope to see you here.
Efrat Eyal Hatchwell – Summer Camp Director