About ParentSpace and our Galleries
Before the session begins, we would like to clarify some things about our Facebook galleries, public galleries on our website, and ParentSpace galleries.
Firstly, if your child is photo-release “in camp only”, he or she will only appear in the ParentSpace gallery. Your child will not appear on Facebook, nor on the public side of the site. So if your child is a camper, go ahead and sign up for ParentSpace. Not only will you see more pictures (2x more pictures than on FB), but you will also be privy to a video that will be produced special for you every day, a special blog, the daily camp newsletter, camp schedule, and forums where you can communicate with other parents.
Secondly, we have received emails from some parents who were having difficulty signing into ParentSpace. Please follow the instructions below for the proper way to log in to your account. If you haven’t applied for an account, please go ahead and apply for an account. You should be verified within 24 hours.
To log into your ParentSpace account please click go to campsimcha.org and click on LOGIN in the top right corner.
Then type in your username and password.
You will automatically land on the ParentSpace site.
From this page you can access a special blog just for parents, the daily schedule, and daily pictures and videos.
A COMMON PROBLEM: If you attempt to visit campsimcha.org/parentspace directly, and login there, you will be bounced to another login page. If you type in your username and password there you, will be granted access to ParentSpace. However, until we correct this glitch, we ask that you instead login by going to campsimcha.org and clicking login in the top right corner.
If you are still having trouble with parentspace, or if you have any questions, comments, requests, or suggestions for the blogs, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also follow us on twitter @CampSimcha
First day at Camp Simcha and we are anxiously awaiting our camper arrivals! Everyone is hyped up and in vibrant colors. Our counselors are all well prepared after a full day of orientation. Orientation included speeches from our medical staff, division heads, head counselors and more. Even the head director of Chai Lifeline, Rabbi Scholar, shared his encouraging words of wisdom with us. Camp is ready, counselors are prepared, so get ready campers for the best summer of your life. Game on!
Happiness Heals: The Music Video
Check out and share this year’s music video, Happiness Heals.
The Last Night of CSSB 2012
The night was filled with emotion, presentations, excitement
and…food. The grand banquet was magnificent, as the kitchen staff
went all out to accommodate everyone’s favorite dishes and then some.
From spare ribs to carving stations, and dozens of assorted hot dishes
in between, the event could only be described as epic.
Following the banquet, we all went to the social hall to watch the
camp video. Before it got started, head counselor Ari Dembi went up on
stage and personally thanked every member of the staff. Many
counselors told me the next part of the ceremony was one of the most
meaningful parts of their year. We all took a moment of silence, and
every camper gave their counselor a sixty second long hug. Despite
this being the boys’ session, I must admit that there were a lot of
guys with tears in their eyes.
The camp video reminded us all just how fast the time flew by and yet
how much we accomplished during these twelve days. The night activity
shows, dancing with all our hearts by the meals, awesome daily themed
activities, creative workshops, quality time together, camaraderie,
and the overall rocking spirit in Camp Simcha Special 2012 played out
in front all of our eyes.
At the conclusion of the video presentation, there was still more to
come. We all made our way to the bunkhouse area. Each camper was given
a giant glow stick as we waited for the fireworks to start. Suddenly
the dark night was filled with light as we all beheld a fifteen minute
long, extraordinary, magical display of “fourth of July” style
fireworks. It was awesome!!
I will cherish my summer in Camp Simcha Special forever.
“The Cracks in the Road”: A Campers Perspective
At the climax of the Camp Simcha Special musical, a camper in a wheelchair read the following poem, which he spent the entire previous night writing, to the entire camp. When he finished, there wasn’t a single dry eye in the entire room. The following is the text.
“These wheels are turning through what feels like a never-ending journey.
The cracks in the road bring back the painful memories of that kid who couldn’t keep from falling down to tears.
He remembers the time he could walk, back breaking, legs trembling, slowly getting worse…uncontrollable.
His limbs began to crumble, bending, twisting, and becoming those turning wheels.
The cracks in the road opened, and the wheels were put to a halt.
He fell to his knees, those weak knees that for so long couldn’t support the poor little kid when he needed it the most.
He found himself screaming and he was awake.
Creeping in his dreams was that evil fear, absorbing his very happiness and turning it into dust.
Only it wasn’t a dream.
He lay there sinking into the cracks, he couldn’t get out.
“How would he get through it all?” he thought.
He was tired but he couldn’t sleep without thinking about those turning wheels, why couldn’t they just keep turning? The cracks kept appearing and opening, and every single time he found himself falling to the ground, and back through the earth he used to walk on.
He was helpless in the darkness of the pit, a world of nothingness.
No one to look to, nothing he could do.
Even that little ounce of hope was buried deep down in the ground, far below him, out of his reach.
There was a reason HE was chosen, to overcome what he thought he never could, and to inspire those who hit bottom. You see, that same kid who was scared that he would die before he made a difference, is sitting right in front of you telling YOU that there is hope no matter the situation.
Enjoy what you have.
The good outweighs the bad, so live life to the fullest, even if you feel like the good will never come. I’m a living witness.
From Genesis 1:1 on, I learnt that life was a journey to greatness, but not without the struggles and the pain.
The purpose of life isn’t only to suffer, NO I had it all wrong, the purpose of life is to face the horrors of reality, beating them to the ground, and walking through the tunnels of greatness.
God got me through, making me part of a holy nation.
From the brink of death, on the road to survival, I made it.
With the power of God I knew I’d never fail, only rising higher than the rest.
I even got out of the cracks in the road that took me prisoner during the darkest days of my life.
Camp Simcha Special…(pause)…It is tough to describe in words what goes on here, what kids feel when they come here, but for me it is the place above the cracks, filling in the gaps, in my life showing me that love and happiness really does exist.
I was not the only one suffering, not even the one suffering the most.
Many others shared my misfortune, but here, misfortune is conquered by children laughing and smiling like they never thought they would.
Doing what they never thought they could.
Forgetting what they could never forget…knowing that they are in the happiest place in the world.”
Camp Simcha Special Musical
Certain words come to mind as I try to describe the Camp Simcha
Special musical I just witnessed. Flawlessly choreographed, rocking
music, dynamic story line, gripping, professional…and just plain old
fun! My favorite part was the glow in the dark dance , which was truly
Seriously, this was Broadway/America’s got talent material!
Personally, my highlight of the production was when one camper was on
stage and had to convince the villain not to destroy planet earth, and
just how much Camp Simcha Special means to him (complicated story
line, I know). The camper read a speech he spent all night writing. He
told us his story, and what lesson we can all learn from it.
To read it , please please make sure to read the blog titled “The Cracks in The Road: A Camper’s Perspective”.
At it’s conclusion, there literally was not a single dry
eye in the entire room.
This musical made us proud to be a part of Camp Simcha Special. The
super-talented staff here put on a play unlike any other being
performed in myriad camps across the Catskills. The uniqueness of
assistant head counselor Duvi Becker’s vision puts his productions in a league of their own.
It is Duvi’s tenacity and unflagging enthusiasm that makes the musical happen.
Not just makes it happen, but happen in such a way as to garner four standing ovations and
three calls for encores from an audience that is not easily impressed. But the true
litmus test was the ear-to-ear smiles sported by every single person
seated in the Social Hall.
A play is just…well…a play. A musical, however, is a way to reach the audience’s emotions through song and dance,
a medium that has proven itself to be among the most effective in shaping moods.
Spirits lift, dark clouds clear, and the world is simply a better place after
watching a musical performed by a passionate, dedicated crew like the one we witnessed.
And what makes it all the more anomalous is the setting of this presentation.
A natural by-product of Camp Simcha Special’s one-of-a-kind program is the togetherness
and camaraderie that it engenders. That is something that we saw mirrored in the
cast’s attitude. Rather than as a task, they viewed this work as a
fun-filled challenge to be taken on with friends, among friends. Even
more than the subject content, the manner in which this musical was
executed makes us feel privileged to be a part of the world that is Camp Simcha Special.
Fruit Ninja Day!
I am a huge fan of the band “8th Day” and I love to listen to their music. I never imagined how absolutely rocking it would be, to actually see them live in concert… and nothing could have prepared me to seeing them live in concert in Camp Simcha Special!! I think that everyone will agree with me that that was one of the most epicly pumping moments in camp thus far. Flashing lights, green lasers, and many disco balls met the compromised enthusiasm of staff and campers alike. Seats were not necessary , as the entire social hall was turned into one giant dance floor with most campers taking a seat high above the ground on their counselors’ shoulders. It was legendary!
For the next activity, I had the great pleasure of rotating Naftali G. for the “fruit ninja” themed activities. First we had a watermelon eating contest. It was no ordinary race. I had to hold up a large round slice of watermelon in front of me, while Naftali had to stick his face into it and eat the entire middle out (with his hands behind his back), before his opponent! I had the pleasure of being the eater a couple of rounds later, and let me just say, it was surprisingly refreshing and satisfying! Next we had a juicing race. The campers were split into two teams. Each camper had a strainer on top of a cup and a bunch of oranges in front of them. First team to squeeze, squish, and strain an entire cup full of orange juice first, won. Let’s just say that after that activity, there wasn’t a single one of us that did not feel like a real, juicy, fruit ninja. After that we went to the speedway. For all of you who haven’t yet visited it, you should head over there A.S.A.P! There’s a fully painted race track, a giant bridge, with super fast, agile remote control cars. Believe it or not but once you pick up that remote control, you’ll be surprised to see how hard it is to put it down and give it back to your camper, or at least, that’s what I’m told . By night activity we beheld a spectacle of daring acrobatics who performed in the air, on chairs, benches, and even while jumping rope. Not to mention a game of super limbo as well. How low can you go? Overall it was yet another awesome, action packed day here in the happiest place in the world, Camp Simcha Special!
Bike 4 Chai!!
An epic color war comes to a dramatic finish
There were some new color war games being played during second and third activity. The wacky Olympics in the gym got wackier, adding two games: 1.A bubble game, where campers had to blow bubbles and aim them to go through a hula hoop a couple of feet away. 2. A valiant egg toss. Two brave campers were even able to make it across the width of the entire gym! There were paddle boat races in the lake, and an actual sand castle contest. There were updates to the props as well. The full size camp made tank is now able to launch real live rockets, that were made in the camps very own rocketry workshop!!
After supper we all made our way to the social hall for the final chapter of color war. The skits were hilarious, the alma mater was sung passionately, and the both team projects were creative and magnificent. The blue team made a new set of very large doors, painted with great detail (and a lot of blue), for the candle works workshop. The green team made five green recycling bins, in a move to “go green”.
At last, it was time to announce the winner. First, dramatically, the scores were announced: 202-199. One could hear the nervous murmuring of the campers. In the climatic words of Ari Dembi, the head counselor: “And the winner of this years color war is….the green team!!!”.
From the games, creativity in song writing,skits,and projects, to the sheer energy and excitement that was experienced in the past 24 hours…It made this an epic color war, and one that this author will always remember.
Color war is in high gear!
Color war in Camp Simcha Special is off with a bang! First activity was filled with wacky olympic games ranging from holding a spoon in your mouth with an egg on it and racing to the other side of the gym, to a mummy your counselor contest, were the object of the game was to cover your counselor from head to toe in toilet paper ”mummy style”. Whichever team covered their counselor more than everyone else in the given time limit, won! It was awesome and all the campers had a blast!!
When it came to lunch time, every inch of the dining room was completely outfitted in color war gear. From Oscar the grouch and Shrek posters on the green side, to Cookie Monster and blue tooth signs on the blue side, the ambience was loaded with energy. The camp creative crew, run by koko, really out did themselves filling the dining room with at least 20 foot long, authentic looking aircraft carrier, battle ship, and tank models in honor of the color war theme. So cool!
Afterwards each team rocked up the dining room with their color war songs, dancing and singing with a wild amount of enthusiasm. It all paled in comparison though to the “good sport” dance in the center of the dining room, where both teams dropped the competition for a few minutes and all danced together in a true show of unity.
Stay tuned for more on this, the greatest color war ever!