On the last night of camp, we were treated to an exclusive debut screening of the brand-new movie starring the cast and crew of Camp Simcha Special! We welcomed it with the most enthusiastic cheering and singing yet, so excited to relive the most memorable moments of the past two weeks. It was a way of gift-wrapping the Simcha Special memories so we could take them all home fresh in our minds. We don’t wanna go, we don’t wanna go, we don’t wanna go home — but fortunately the warm memories we take with us will last well into the year, especially when we share them with all the friends we’ve made.
The graduation ceremonies at Simcha Special began with a moving valedictory speech by Rachel B., (assisted by Elyse L.) who shared with us her feelings of love and gratitude to all of the members of the CSS family. She then entertained us on the keyboard with a merry tune, an especially inspiring accomplishment because of her hearing difficulty.
This performance was followed by a dazzling slideshow featuring all of the world’s greatest campers and staff. Everyone sang along to our favorite tunes and cheered for our friends as their faces appeared on screen. The show featured stunning photos that captured and helped us relive the highlights of this fabulous camp session.
After a sumptuous graduation party buffet, each camper was called to the dais to receive a diploma and a personalized award. Campers were recognized for their middos, athletics, smiles, talents, and other distinctions. We concluded the celebration by expressing our thanks to all those who made the Simcha Special experience possible. It was a most fitting way to celebrate the completion of an outstanding camp session.
In workshop news on this graduation day, campers completed the projects they have worked on this summer. They are coming home with gifts for family and friends and mementos for themselves. Handmade headbands; hair clips; scrapbooks; calendars; photography projects, with pictures of themselves and more abstract art; mosaic jewelry boxes; small leathers goods like belts, cell phone holders, albums; pottery including mugs, bowls, spoon rests; wooden napkin holders and key racks; party favors and more items too numerous too list. Campers are wrapping these up in paper and memories and storing them in their suitcases and later their hearts and minds. Certainly, these projects represent to them far more than the items themselves. Each piece is a piece of a summer held dearly to their hearts.
“We need you on our graduation breakfast. Everyone please make your way to the graduation breakfast. . .” The announcement came over the P.A. system. Already, CSS’09 graduates were lining the hallowed hall of the dining room. Dressed appropriately in cap and gown, campers and staff gathered at the podium under a banner of graduation streamers for a final after-breakfast dancing session. What’s to come on this day of graduation?
We ask for a week of joy and success, a week of health and happiness. . .
These are the words we chant together as we say goodbye to the week that’s past and welcome in the days ahead.
A few words now about what’s happened. Today, we enjoyed many Shabbos activities. Shabbos play with Mrs. K., choir with our talented speakers, inspirational talks by our campers, Bingo, Storytelling, canteen. Now about that canteen. As a part-time canteen staffer, I see candy consumption from the other side of the window. Let’s just say that our campers know good nosh when they see it. 🙂 But moving right along, the Shabbos afternoon at camp is an experience that many campers look forward to all year long.
As much as we go into Shabbos with singing, we come out of it with even more musical celebretion. Lively dancing and a buffet (melave malka) usher in the new week with an upbeat tempo. Tonight, Miri Greenberg, an exceptionally talented staff member, and the person behind CSS’s recording studio, led a concert. She also taught us a new song and we all joined in for a wonderful night.
Check back in the morning for more updates.
The end of a week is here again and we can hardly believe it. Friday was a packed day with two shows. Now campers are finishing up their projects in open workshops. I drifted from activity to activity, always stopping to get my hands dirty.
I particularly spent time at Roofy Roofy where I helped cut up chunks of freshly-made sheets of wax into chunks. I’ll admit the lush pink and green chunks looked and smelled like dried fruit or candy and I had to resist popping them into my mouth for a treat. Kylie was also helping out and she says she’s made over thirty candles already. After making the chunks, we peeled wax candles out of their molds. The flowers and geometric shapes and beautiful multi-color candles will keep sweet memories burning in our hearts for a long time.
At scrapbooking, many campers were busy working on their calendars. With all the colorful paper and accessories, I wanted to make one for myself. Maybe when I get home, I’ll put out an unfinished scrapbook from under my bed.
It’s getting late in the afternoon and camp is preparing for shabbos. We’re putting our hair into our best headbands from the Ribbons and Bows workshop and dressing in our prettiest outfits. Soon we’ll welcome shabbos in song and eat a special meal. The singing is a highlight of the evening, with campers and staff complementing each other in reciprocal songs. Many campers are given the chance to be the leader of the group, donning the special “singing shtreimel.”
Tonight, after the meal, we’ll have a special Shabbos party (oneg) and spend time engaging in “Deep Meaningful Conversation.” Many campers also enjoy shabbos walks with their counselors or rotators or friends. There’s something magical about walking between the shade of the trees enlightened by the moon and crisp summer breeze.
This is Leah, and I’m signing off, until tomorrow night.
From deep in the Simcha Jungle, we bring you reports of campers hanging from trees. Yes, the zip line is open! And we are taking advantage. Suspended from harnesses, climbing up trees, campers are taking advantage of this rare opportunity. What a joy to watch Rachel B. as she zooms down the zip line, speeding along twenty feet in the air.
From the front row of the social hall, this is Leah with WCSS. I’m watching four – no, five or is it six? – bowling pins fly up in the air, then land safely in the hands of this juggling duo. Without missing a beat to the music and lights in the background, the able jugglers are jumping on stage, throwing up knives and then, as we hold our collective breath, returning the spinning blades to the air. This show is always a crowd-pleaser and this time is no exception.
We held our breath as the Brady Bunch battled the Flintstones in a heated game of “Family Fued.” Of course, at CSS, we don’t really fight. Think of it more as a challenge of the minds in a game that was both amusing and entertaining.
This is Leah reporting to you from the scene where Camp Simcha has gathered for a “Family Reunion.”
Campus is swarming with Bubbes and Zaides, Aunts and Uncles, and of course, the family dog. Grandma’s friend Bubba SueSue (Pia L.) is in attendance. We are also getting reports of spottings of various members of the Addams Family. The Simcha family is large and that means that we’ve got some strange relatives too. A fair share of hippies, people sporting extremely large hair-dos and all manners of fantastic garb, are in from the Four Corners of The Earth.