CSB2012 NYC: Happiness Heals
Wow. Wow. Wow. What a day!
It’s hard to believe that I still have energy to move my fingers across the keyboard.
At 9:30 AM, Camp Simcha was abuzz with activity. The whole camp worked together in our typical unified fashion to make sure we got off to an orderly start. By 10 AM, all of the day’s meals and a few thousand bottles of water were packed up, and our entire camp was dressed up in our orange and blue themed t-shirts and caps. With camper and counselor hand in hand, and our amazing auxiliary staff providing the background pump, we were off to NYC.
One movie-length bus ride later and we were in middle of Times Square. Oh boy did we light up New York! The moment our coach buses stopped in Times Square we were transferred to five double-decker tour buses. With megaphones and speakers in tow, we made our way to the top level of the buses (after a camp-wide sunscreen application, of course). It’s not often that New Yorkers lift their noses out of their smart phones, but boy did we create a raucous. As we traversed block by block, and district by district, we had heads turning, people clapping, and cameras snapping. We showed off our usual Simcha energy, while bouncing, chanting, and screaming our way around New York. We somehow managed to fit in a guided tour in middle of all that bubbling energy,and even convinced some people to drop their cigarettes!
Earlier this year, Zuccotti Park, in Lower Manhattan, housed the Occupy Wall Street movement. Today, Camp Simcha stopped there to protest and raise awareness about something that we consider more critical; namely, the perils of cancer. We made sure that that NYC got our message that Happiness Heals. Yesterday, our campers were asked to make personalized posters for our demonstration. Today, they were out in full display for the whole world. There were many creative signs, including “Hair Me” and, of course, “Bald is the new Hair”. The second the tour buses dropped us off, we mobbed Zuccotti Park, chanted our message, and made sure our views (and solution) on the matter were very apparent. We were positively received by everyone there; many tourists and strangers asked to pose with our campers.
Just as fast as we arrived, we were back on our buses and headed towards the second half of our tour. It’s understood that we kept up our dancing and that our energy didn’t wane one iota. A little later, we arrived at a dock on the east side of Manhattan and were transferred to a chartered ferry. Everyone appreciated the opportunity to relax and chill with friends after the morning’s excitement. A gala lunch was served, and we headed to the bow to check out the spectacular views. Throughout the boat ride, a magician went around to different tables and entertained our campers with mind-boggling tricks.
A bit later, we docked in Queens at a port next to Citi Field, and we were off to the ball game. We first stopped at the apple in front of the stadium and did our Happiness Heals dance. With multiple cameras videoing us for our annual music video, we executed the dance flawlessly, and showed the world the power of joy. Stay tuned for the final product. Then, after receiving our tickets and complimentary Mets merchandise, we headed into Citi Field. Before the game, our campers got to sit right by the bullpen and watch the pitchers warm up. One even came over to chat with us, and even threw over some balls. Meanwhile, six special campers and Dr. Wexler got to go to home plate where they were presented with special Merit Awards from the Mets.
It is not often that someone gets to stand on the field during the national anthem. But today, the WHOLE Camp Simcha got to stand on the outfield! It is something that many people dream for their whole lives, and will be something that our campers remember for a really long time. After a delicious supper by the picnic area, we headed to our amazing seats. The game was fun, but the ambiance was what truly stood out. From everyone holding up signs, to chanting ourselves horse, to waving orange and blue balloons, to getting on the jumbo screen multiple times, we seriously rocked the Stadium.
It was quite a unanimous consensus on the ride back that today was amazing. Our campers came back with memories to last the year. And NYC will always remember, Happiness Heals.