Written by Emily Rader
Here at Camp Kalsman the goats, geese, ducks, and chickens are so excited that our campers have returned for a second amazing summer at the farm! Even though our summer has just begun, we’ve already done some amazing things with the animals. We’ve been learning about the values of teva (nature) and chesed (kindness), looking at Jewish teachings about those values and how they apply to farm life. Let’s take a look at what we’ve been up to this week!
Coogarim was introduced to the farm during Farming 101, where we read the story of Creation and learned why G-d chose people to rule over all the animals. We discussed why it’s important to show chesed to animals, and how we can take care of them. Then we got to collect chicken eggs, brush the goats, scoop poop, and refill water dishes. As a treat two of our goats showed us how good they are at balancing on a teeter totter!
Nesharim spent a few days learning about Jewish fables (short stories featuring animals), and got to make up stories about our very own farm animals. Lucy the Goose was our most popular character, and she got to learn all about the importance of being kind to the other animals on the farm!
Nitzotzot studied the works of Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, who said
In every person there is something precious, which is in no one else.
And so we should honor each for what is hidden within him/her:
for what only that person has, and none of his/her peers.
We looked to the animals to see what each of them contribute to their community. Then our Nitzotzot campers shared what they thought was special and unique about all their fellow campers.
Finally, our Kesher campers got their hands dirty with Advanced Animal Care. Each day we studied a different biblical law about taking care of animals, and put those laws into practice on the farm. We sent mother birds away before collecting their eggs, fed our animals before ourselves (at seven in the morning!), and put animals out of pain by trimming goat hooves.
We’ve done so much to help animals and learn about Judaism, and it’s only been a week. Can’t wait to see what the rest of the summer has in store for us!
Other notes from the day…
Nitzotzot spent the morning at the farm with Emily learning before getting a chance to try out their favorite parts of camp during their chuggim. In the afternoon, the cooled off in the pool and closed out their evening joining Kesher in a Kids Night program!
Nesharim hiked back to camp this morning and then spent some time with our faculty learning about prayers. They spent their second day in their new chug options, including our new favorite How To Pool, where campers got to throw bowling pins into inner tubes and play skee ball with the lifeguard tubes! They are wrapping up their night with an Israel program led by our awesome Israeli Mishlachat.
Nesharim and Dubim both had a few new campers join them for our awesome joint camp with the Stroum Jewish Community Center on Mercer Island. We were thrilled to welcome them for Camp Gesher!
Dubim spent some time with our cultural specialist doing a scavenger hunt around camp. Then they got their wizard robes on and their wands out for a night of Quidditch and Harry Potter fun! “Expelliarmus!”
Kesher is preparing for their Kesher trip tomorrow! They’ll leave midmorning to volunteer at Hope Link, one of the recipients of our Two Tons Together project, before heading for their overnight. We are so excited for them! They are chilling out tonight at Kids Night, playing childhood favorite games, building with legos, and eating dirt cups so they can gather up their energy for tomorrow. FUN!
Machon was all over camp today learning and playing. They took canoes out this morning and paddled around Butterfly Lake. They are a tight knit group and loved learning salsa with resident expert Cory after dinner.
It’s only Monday and it’s already been a busy week around camp! We can’t wait to see what the rest of the week brings. For now, lilah tov from Kalsman!