Bereshit, Noach, Lech Lecha

These are the first three parashot in the cycle. These are the first three sets of scripture readings that our people read, study and seek to understand. These cover Genesis 1-17 – from the creation of the world up through the institution of the covenant of circumcision with Abraham. There’s a lot of ground that covered during these chapters (including all of the ground by water in the flood!). When we read these chapters, and understand these stories, what’s the purpose in our reading? That might seem like a strange or obvious question, but why do we read the scriptures?

Many different people will have different kinds of answers to this, but I know that for us, believers in the Messiah, the primary reason we read the scriptures is to develop a deeper faith in God.

How does reading the same stories, the same passages, year after year develop a deeper faith in God? One answer: We change from year to year, and the text doesn’t. So when we approach the scriptures, we have new eyes, ears, experiences and God speaks to us through them, and it’s different than it was last time. Through this our faith develops.

Shabbat Shalom, Camp Gilgal Family!

Twister

Deep Impact – Junior Camp 2014

Even though I’ve been doing camp for most of my life, I still forget what kind of impact it has in the lives of the people involved – both campers and staff alike. I talk about it throughout the year, but I forget what it actually looks and feels like. This year, was a year of big impact.

There were many unexpected things that took place. Two of those were the fact that all the campers learned their memory verse passage, Psalms 139:1-10, 23-24, and that all the tribes made it to the end of camp party. It didn’t look likely. But on the last day of camp, the remaining 2-3 campers plugged away hard to finish the passage. It’s so exciting to hear that many children reciting a long-ish section of God’s Word all together.

On our last night of camp, we hold a “testimony campfire,” where the campers are given the opportunity to tell each other the things God has done, or what they learned, or something they overcame. It’s the favorite part of camp for most of the staff – because we see just a glimpse of the fruit of our 2 weeks of investment, of what God has done. This year, I was surprised to hear one camper tell us something that I take completely for granted in camp. This camper reported that she was surprised that she was accepted for who she is, that the other girls in her tribe didn’t want her to be taller or shorter or funnier or more athletic or _______. Of course, people can be exclusive and mean in their peer groups, what surprised me was how meaningful it was to a young child and for her awareness to be able to identify it.

The impact of camp lasts for a long time, even if the “effects” of camp fade after a couple days or a couple weeks. The impact remains in the Kingdom of God, as campers make commitments in their relationship with God. Their lives are changed by the work God does in them.

End of Junior Camp – 1st Reflection

What a blessing! What a joy! I’m writing from the bus on the way back to NYC/NJ/DC. It’s hard to believe how full these last two weeks have been, and how quickly they went by. My deep apologies to you parents that we did not post more. It’s hard to keep up with the pace of camp.

What can I say about this session of camp? It was a small camp, only 19 campers. But I’ve learned over the years, that small camps can be some of the best. You have a flexibility with a smaller group than you do with a larger group. For example, on Canada Day (July 1st for you, my American friends), some of our neighbors set off fireworks right as the campers were getting ready for bed. They were so huge! I ran through the camp and gathered everyone to the picnic tables in the field to watch, disturbing the “getting ready for bed” routine. Everyone laid on the tables waiting…. and waiting and waiting. No more fireworks. Instead we had about 10 minutes of quiet time watching the stars altogether. It was a memorable night. I caught myself thinking, “Huh. I don’t think I would have done that with a larger camp.”

Even though we were a small group, God worked in big ways in the lives of everyone involved. I will be praying for the campers going home to keep growing in their faith, that it will become more and more their own, and that they will have the love and boldness to share their faith in the Messiah with family and friends alike.

– Twister

Time for more gazette!

DSC_4685
Campfire by Mariya
I really like camp fire. During camp fire we worship God and learn lessons about Him. It’s great because while we sing, we show motions that go with the songs. Then we pray. My favorite camp fire song is “Baby Whale.” It’s fun to sing that song because there are a lot of motions to it. After the songs one of the staff share a devotion from the Bible with us. One of the camp fire talks was by Long Shanks. It was about the armor of God. Ephesians 6:11 says “put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” I liked it because it helps me to know that God is protecting me and tells me how to stand strong in him.

How to Be
How To Be by Keane
“How To Be” is a very exciting activity. It teaches you how to be anything that you can imagine. We played games relating to being other things. We had a lot of fun pretending to be Bible Characters, mythical creatures, cartoon characters, etc. In the activity we played a lot of improv games.
One of these games was called “Party.” In this game the person who is “It” pretends to host a party and people begin to join their party acting out specific characters. The person hosting the party has to guess who their guests are or what they are trying to be. The party continues until the host is able to identify what their guests are doing and then those guests are counted as “out.” When we played I really enjoyed this game. In the first round Scooter was the party host and I was a bagworm. Other guests at the party were “Larry the Cucumber,” Little Red Riding Hood, Dora the Explorer, and many others. It was very exciting and I know I had a great time using my imagination and I think everyone else did too.

More Gazette!

Archery

Penina S.
Age: 10
Tribe of Asher
Archery

As I stare at the target and pull back the string, I can feel the powerful strength rise in my arms. I let go and I can feel the arrow slipping from my fingers. I can feel and hear the arrow hitting the target with a ping. Bull’s-eye!
Archery, yes! I love it! It is a great sport to learn and participate in. Archery is a great sport to learn because it helps with patience, self control, and safety. The way it helps with patience is because you have to wait a lot. Patience helps with self-control. You have to know what to do and when to do it, therefore you need self control. Archery helps with safety because you need to be safe with the equipment. Archery materials can be used against someone as a weapon, so you have to use them correctly or else it isn’t a good camp activity.
In archery, we get to play archer’s games. We also get to shoot on our own. In one of the games we play, we have to try to hit and pop the balloons taped to the targets. In the end, almost all of my arrows hit the target. So, that is part of the reason that I like archery so much, but I like seeing that I can get better with practice.

Chill Time

Colton Z.
Tribe: Benjamin
Age:13
Chill Time

At certain times of the day we have chill time where we are allowed to chill or have time to do what we want. For me, personally, during this time I like to play sports like soccer or nukum. I love sports and being active, but this is also time to nap or just talk with friends. During chill time I’ve also played card games or just plain relaxed. Chill time is something a lot of people look forward to. Out of all the planned activities at camp this is the only time that is fully yours. Some kind who usually keep to themselves come out of their shells and show their real personality. Along with many other campers and counselors I really enjoy chill time. Chill time makes camp just that much better. I’ve been to every Winter Weekend since I was seven and this is my first year at summer camp. Winter Weekend was fun but not nearly as fun as this! I had such a great experience and having chill time here makes it better. I would love to come back here every year from now on and eventually become a camp counselor.

Gazette 2013: First Looks!

Tribe of Benjamin

The Tribe of Benjamin by Josiah (Teen Camp)

For my first year at camp I was in the tribe of Benjamin. Of the two boys tribes we were the only one with two counselors. We had Long Shanks and Swank. On the first day of camp when we chose our tribe name, we picked Benjamin and we had to go into breakfast last and we told Twister and RedSox that we would always go last for everything. We go last at meals, at line up, and for activities. It is nice to let others go before us. Shanks and Swank are really good at helping us to grow spiritually during camp and I’m really glad that they are my counselors. Our tribe has lots of fun together and I couldn’t imagine being in any other tribe.

Advice from a veteran camper

Advice from a Veteran Camper by Rebekah (Junior Camp)

I have been in camp for 5 years and I would like to give you some veteran advice. You will probably like to bring extra clothes and not so many dress clothes because we are outside a lot. Having a Shabbat outfit or two is good, but don’t bring anything too nice. Also bring clothes for theme nights, and extra socks and underwear. Also we do very fun activities and sometimes you get dirty from them, so you shouldn’t forget to put your dirty clothes in your laundry bag so that the ATLs can wash them on laundry day. And remember your tennis shoes when you pack for camp because you can’t do much without them. For the fun activities you almost always need your sneakers and long pants. Oh, and don’t forget your Bible! That is some advice about camp.

Strings

From the vault, here’s some vintage Gazette! This interview was written by camper Captain (long time camper and ATL in 2008) in Strings’ first year as staff, circa 2003.

Strings

By camper Captain (aaaawwww), 11, Simeon Junior East

Strings first cabin
Tribe of Simeon, 2003. Can you spot Strings, Captain, Jellybean, and Heinz?

Strings is my tribe leader. She got her name because she plays the violin. She’s been playing the violin since she was 9 and has been playing for seven years. She accepted Jesus when she was at VBS (Vacation Bible School). She wanted to become a tribe leader last year, when Speedy asked her, but she had other plans. This year, when Twister asked her, she said “yes.”

She has never been to Israel because she never had the chance to go. Her favorite color is burgundy.  Her favorite animal is a dugong which is like a manatee except it lives in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.  She was on the swim team from ages 8 to 12, but she likes to watch baseball even though she doesn’t really like sports. She went to Junior Camp twice, Teen Camp twice, and Adventure Camp once. Her favorite kind of music is classical and she has about 10 Veggie Tale movies.

The reason I like Strings is because she’s kind, encouraging and holds our tribe together.

An Interview With Shades

From the vault, here’s some vintage Gazette!  Here’s an interview with Shades his first year as an ATL by his camper, Josiah.

An Interview With Shades

By Josiah Parkas, 9, Dan Junior East (2003)

Shades
Luft, Shades, camper Madam, and Spike in 2003

Shades is my assistant tribe leader, and I thought I would ask him fun questions about camp. So first, I asked him what his favorite food. He thought for a minute and said, “pizza.” Then I said, “Fine, what is your favorite dessert?” He answered, “strawberry cheesecake.” “That’s disgusting,” I yelled. “But it’s my favorite,” Shades replied.

I then asked him what his favorite cereal was, and he said, “Honey Nut Cheerios.” Well, those are good – at least they are better than strawberry cheesecake!

I asked Shades what he liked to do and he said that he liked to hang out with his friends. His favorite sport is basketball, and his favorite board game is chess. Then I thought I would ask him something about the Bible. He was that his favorite book of the Bible is Revelations.

I liked having Shades as an assistant tribe leader – maybe I will have him next year