Packing for camp

Hi Everyone,
We're just a few days away from the start of Junior Camp and a few weeks away from the start of teen camp and I wanted 
to give you a look at what I pack for camp.There are some things that you can pack a little bit less of (I get cold so Ibring extra layers and I bring a few extra t-shirts as part of my theme meal possibilities). Veterans, feel free to comment below if there are any "must bring items" I forgot and for everyone, ask any questions you might have there too.
Can't wait to see you soon!
  • 4 pair of pants
  • 4 shorts
  • 5 tank tops
  • 9 t-shirts
  • PJs
  • Sweatpants
  • Layers ( I tend to get cold, but it is cool at night and at campfire): fleece, 2 light cardigans. 3 long sleeved shirts
  • Handful of things for theme meals (we’ll post the list of theme meals later this week on the blog)
  • 2 Swimsuits
  • Shabbat outfit (not too nice)
  • 9 pairs of sox
  • 9 pairs of underpants
  • 1 laundry bag ( and extra delicates bag for sox–if you put them in right away when they are dirty they don’t get lost in the wash)
  • Money for the Camp Gilgal Bank
  • 1 raincoat
  • 1 swim towel
  • 1 regular towel
  • 1 hat
  • 1 shower shoes
  • 2 pair of sneakers
  • Water bottle
  • Bible
  • Toiletries
  • BugSpray
  • Sunscreen
  • Sleeping Bag & Pillow


Dear First Time Camper

It’s that time again, time to read a letter lovingly written from staff to new camper. Today its RedSox’s turn! She has been helping direct camp for the past 7 years, but this year marks her first season as official Director Numero Uno and we are SO EXCITED for that! She has been part of the Camp Gilgal family since 2002 and has only missed 1 year of camp – to go on massah (a Jews For Jesus trip to Israel and India). At the old location we had for teen camp, her favorite activity was stargazing – maybe we should bring that back it sounds fantastic! She also really likes one meal that we have here at camp in particular – the goldfish mac and cheese. You have this and so much more to look forward to this year with us. As always, if you’re interested in Camp Gilgal (or you know someone who is) make sure to check out! Now lets see what she has to say to you new campers out there! 

Dear First Time Camp Gilgal Camper,

I wanted to write to welcome you to the Camp Gilgal family! I hope that you are getting excited for the summer and wanted to tell you a few things to help you get ready. At Camp Gilgal, all of the staff use crazy camp names (mine is RedSox!) and the alarm clock for camp is a shofar. We will take a field trip and have dress-up theme meals…but we keep the exact details a surprise for extra fun! There are a few things that you might forget to pack that will make your time at camp easier: water bottle, an extra pair of shoes, 2 towels, and shoes for the shower…and don’t forget your Bible!

            You’ll be in a tribe with other kids in your age group and together you’ll earn points to get a party at the end of camp. We can’t wait to meet you and welcome you in person—I think you’re going to love it!

                        See you soon,


Dear First Time Camper

This letter is specifically addressed to our first time teen campers, written by our beloved Sitruce. As her name suggests she is a very unique and fun staff person. She started coming to camp as a JR camper in ’07 and last year was her first year as an Assistant Tribe Leader! We are so excited to say that this year she is coming back as a TL at JR Camp! At Gilgal she feels very passionately towards a particular meal – breakfast french toast sticks with syrup! Her favorite camp memory comes from her time at teen camp, when she was playing a CERTAIN VERY LOUD GAME which you will come to know and love. She and her teammate Tauros ( who is very big and loud) were Pwning everybody and having a grand old time and even came in second place at the end! You go girl! As per ushe, if you’re interested in Camp Gilgal (or you know someone who is) make sure to check out! Now back to Sitruce!


Dear First Time Camper,

Hi! My name is Sitruce. I’m soooo happy you will be coming to Teen Camp this year. Here is some stuff you should know.

  • Make sure you bring a water bottle—very important!
  • Food is awesome, there is a great Chef.
  • We’ll go white water rafting; it’s an incredible experience, but remember do bring shoes!
  • Make sure you bring a sweatshirt. Yes, it gets cold even though it’s the middle of summer.
  • Be ready to make a lot of friends

And do have a week full of fun and meeting God in a new way.



Gilgal Gazette Monday

Fort Building

Alyssa C., Age: 13

Tribe of Asher

Fort building is a fun activity where you build a fort out of mattresses and a tarp. We first started out by taking mattresses out of our cabins and took them out by the field. By the field we have a circle of picnic tables and flipped them over for the walls of the fort. Then, we laid out all of the mattresses on the ground as the floor. The last step was to put a bit white tarp over the whole fort.

As soon as the fort was finished, all of the campers piled into the fort and relaxed (including Longshanks who took up most of the fort!). Everyone hung out inside the fort as we talked about the fun memories we had at camp over the past years. One of the memories that we talked about was from 2012 when Eden, Sierra, Abby, Sivan, Yael and I were in the tribe of Judah. That was one of the best years for everyone in that tribe because we were the best tribe ever! This was because all of us got along so well and we were really crazy. Also, we had the best tribe times and had awesome counselors – Chickpea and Bologna! It was great to remember and see how we’ve grown together.

Fort building was a very fun and relaxing second activity.

Cabin Inspection (dun, dun, dun)

Abigail O., Age: 13

Tribe of Asher

At Teen Camp, you do get a lot of chill time and relaxation, but don’t let that make you think that the counselors will let you get away with a messy cabin. Each day at camp, when you are off participating in an activity, the main staff come in to each cabin, checking for “infractions,” such as: crooked shoes (which are ASKEW), sleeping bags which are rumply (rumply, rumply, rumply!), clothing tossed carelessly onto a bed (tossed like salad!), etc. I personally enjoy hearing how well each cabin did at lunch and there are usually a lot of laughs! Cabin inspection is a good way to clean up and have fun simultaneously!

Your goal is to end up with no infractions and being awarded 100 points. Each infraction that you ignore costs you 5 points. For example, if you have 2 infractions, you get 90 points that day. If 5 infractions, then you get 75 points. In Teen Camp, your tribe needs to have a point average of 85 points to get to the celebration afterwards, so work hard to have a clean cabin!

A bad smelling cabin counts as an infraction, so take advantage of the Febreeze!

Interning – Ruski Style

I’ve been here in the City for 3 weeks now and it has been a strange mix of excitement and normalness. I wake up, I work, I eat, I go home, have dinner, and relax. Wash, rinse, repeat. Even my work isn’t inherently exhilarating. Researching, contacting companies, making plans and schedules. Some of it isn’t my favorite, like calling strangers. But other things, like making the activity roster for camp, are strangely enjoyable! It’s like a mind puzzle, and I love it. My food life is a sometimes tedious adventure. Did you know that when you live on your own you have to plan for every meal you want to have? And buy the ingredients, make it, and when it runs out you have to start the whole process over again! It can be a lot of fun, I like cooking and coming up with new things to make and eat, but it’s also super crazy.

Being here as the intern is in some ways exactly what I thought it would be, and in other ways very not. I knew it would be a lot of work, that it would be stressful, and most importantly that my time here has a purpose and that purpose is to make camp, which has always been the spiritual and social/emotional pinnacle of my year, everything it ever was for me and more for this generation of campers. I am so excited for what camp will be this year, for myself because this will be my first year out of cabin and in an administrative position, for my fellow staff many of whom are also experiencing first times but as TLs or ATLs, and especially for the campers. Interacting with them and giving them opportunities for emotional and spiritual growth is what I live for – I know that I remember fondly how when I was a camper I always had friends in the staff, they were always kind and patient and I want to make sure that other children who were like me have that too. Sometimes the work I do is discouraging, because it seems like no matter how much I get done there is always more, and sometimes I get tired from all the mental effort that goes into everything, but I know that I am strengthened through Y’shua and that when I look back on this season I want to be able to say I gave it my all. I’m learning so much, too – what it means to work with a strict deadline, how to balance tasks and prioritize things that all need to be done, how to realize my own limitations and succeed in my environment, and let’s not forget, how to de-stress after a long day of work.

One very successful way to de-tox is to take advantage of the fact that I am in NYC –a hub of culture and variety. I’m trying to get out every few days and try new places – There was a book store, Strand, where I found the most excellent book! I’ve been to a place that does exotic burgers called Bareburger and had elk for the first time. It was surprisingly tangy and so delicious! I went to Insomnia cookie, its thing was that it only sells specialty cookies, from noon ‘till 3am, and there I had THE best cookie ever. Sorry Mom, your chocolate chip recipe will always have a special place in my heart but their S’mores cookie is now my life. On a rainy Sunday I went to Birch Coffee and read the book I bought at strand for a few hours, they have just the cutest little library nook right in the shop! I can’t wait for all the other new places I’m going to find while I’m here!

Gilgal Gazette Monday

Project Runway

Ana H., Age: 15

Tribe of Judah

This year at Camp Gilgal, we have had a lot of fun – perhaps too much fun! For the first time, we as a camp have participated in a game called “Project Runway.” In this activity, teams compete against each other to create an outfit made out of only toilet paper. Every team has a model and a spokesperson who explains the origins and ideas that the outfit relays. The greatest challenge for the campers is to try not to rip the toilet paper, so whenever it does, we work together to think of creative ways to fix the problem without using extra materials.

After presenting each ensemble, the 3 judges, Blewish, Twister and RedSox, scored the outfit based on creativity, durability and the model’s walk. Teams have the opportunity to score 30 points for each category, for a total of 90 points per round.

This year, we only played one round: formal wear. Each tribe had unique themes for their outfits. And we all ended the day with a smile on our face. Hopefully Project Runway will become a funny tradition here at Camp Gilgal!


Simona B., Age:12

Tribe of Zebulun

One day, during Tribe Time, we had an activity where we tie-dyed plain white t-shirts. There were many different designs to do and many different colored dyes. It was so much fun!

The design I chose was stripes. All you do is fold the shirt back and forth like you would make a fan. Then you tie it off in section and use different colored dye in the sections. Mine didn’t turn out so well because I didn’t use enough dye, but the spiral shirts that other people did turned out really well.

Everyone’s shirt was different; there were no two of the same. Everyone used different colors, designs, etc. Some of the designs include spiral, stripes and bullseyes. They all turned out super cool and super colorful! The reason they were all different is because every camper is different. We all like different colors, designs, techniques, etc. One reminder: wear gloves! Some people forgot this step and they had rainbow colored hands for three days.

Ruski’s Experience at Penina’s Bat Mitzvah

What is better than the weekend? Going to a bat mitzvah on the weekend!

This past weekend I had the privilege of attending the bat mitzvah of our dear camper Penina. I have never been to a bat mitzvah for a believer, my only other experience being my counsin’s about 6 years ago. I was intrigued by how much more prevalent God seemed in the service, and how much friendlier the people were – I really felt included. I had been under the impression that a bar/bat mitzvah was a lot like a quinceñera in that it is a celebration of coming of age in the community; there are festivities and food and friendly mingling, etc. While those things were definitely present, I was so pleased to also experience worship of God in song, in the messages by both Penina and the Rabbi, and in the ceremony itself – like the liturgy and the bringing out and reading of the Torah.

Her havtorah portion was Bamidbar, which is Numbers 1:1 – 4:20. She read the Maftir, which was 4:17-20 and for her havtorah portion she read Hosea 2:1-13. To my pleasure she gave a delightful and unique message. She talked about God trying to have a relationship with his people – in Numbers by setting rules in place for his worship and designating people to certain tasks – the Koathites only being able to remove the holy things of the temple after Aaron and his sons had covered them – and in Hosea, by saying that the children of Israel are still his people but they must cast aside their Harlot-like idolatry.

During her message I couldn’t help but think of the significance of the bar/bat mitzvah and coming of age in Jewish culture. Why are we considered adults at 12-14? I believe that this is a tradition harking back to very ancient times. In ancient Greece a boy was not entitled to his father’s inheritance or his name unless he was “adopted” into the family, which would occur when he reached 12-14 years of age. Until that time he would be considered at the same level as a slave, he could even be put to death by his father with no thought by the community of that being wrong. I wonder how differently children behaved back then as compared to now. While this is not the same as reaching adulthood in the Jewish community, it shows that there was a time when a “teen” was only ever considered an adult and had to shoulder the responsibilities and privileges associated. I think that in a culture where teens are treated like older children as opposed to young adults we could stand to teach our young people to be a little more mitzvot conscious. That is to say, have these young people be aware that the actions they take affect not only themselves but the people around them and that we should be conscious of doing ‘mitzvot’ or ‘good deeds’ because it’s what is right, and also the only way a society can flourish. This, in a roundabout kind of way, brings us back to adulthood in Jewish culture, and leaves me thinking that it is a wonderful tradition.

But what does coming of age really mean, especially for those like me who never had a bat or bar mitzvah? I try to think of a time, a milestone, in my life where I felt that I had truly come into my own. One of those times for me was my first year as staff at camp. I did the 5 week challenge – 2 weeks as an ATL at Junior Camp, 2 weeks on Halutzim, and 1 week as a camper at adventure camp. It was a rigorous time, I learned a lot about my physical limitations, emotional needs, how to be a leader of children (there is a LOT that goes into being staff, you wouldn’t even realize), and how to own my faith and share it with others. I think that is the most important part of growing up, finding out who you are. And the summer of 2010 was definitely a time when that happened for me. But the most exciting part is that a milestone is just that – a marker. It’s not the finale, you are still running the race set before you, and being an adult is about always overcoming and setting aside the weights and sins that so easily ensnare us to become the people that God wants us to be and to live uprightly, constantly fixed on his love and righteousness. We can all be uniquely ourselves and also live for God and the process of learning how to do this is the thing for which you have ‘come of age’.

All in all it was a beautiful and compelling service and I’m so glad I was able to be there. Congratulations Penina, and I wish you blessings in this journey called adulthood!

Dear First Time Camper

Next on the roster for our DFTC posts is the one and only (drum roll please) Scooter! He’s been part of the Camp Gilgal family since 2009 at Teen Camp, and has been with us ever since. He will be here this summer, too! He’s a pretty cool guy, and you can pick him out of a crowd by the many different colored bandanas he likes to wear. Another thing about him is that he’s basically the official camp photographer, so stay on his good side or he might not delete those embarrassing pictures he might catch of you. He plays cajon on the camp worship team, and can lay down a sick beat. Scooter also really loves working with the kids here at camp, and here are some things he wants to say to anyone who plans on coming for the first time:


Hey There Camper,

It’s great to hear that you’ll be joining us for camp this summer. It’s always exciting to know that someone new will get to share experiences and make new memories with us. People might just tell you that camp is fun, but it’s so much more than that! Camp has always been a place where anyone can feel comfortable and safe enough to try new things you would never get the chance to try any other time of the year. Honestly, with my first year at camp, I didn’t know what to expect. If you’re feeling the same way, good! Camp is all about expecting the unexpected. Remember, everyone has and has had a first year at camp, and if you ask anyone at camp, they’ll give you plenty of reasons why they always want to come back.

            As someone who has been to camp a few times, I wanted to close with giving you some advice I wish I had known my first year: you’ll be getting or might have already gotten a list of things to bring to camp. Double, or even triple check that you have EVERYTHING you need. And for me, “optional” usually means “recommended.”

            With all these things in mind, I hope you build up all the excitement that I already have for you and everyone you’ll be able to meet.