What a wild and amazing ride! Our head counselors, Odea (Flaum) and Odea (Shukrun), and our director, Esti Zecharia, planned a memorable summer experience for fifty girls, over a two-week period in July. We’d like to include another shout-out to our five amazing DROR alums and counselors, Tehila, Pe’er, Naama, Keren, and Ayala for dedicating their love and energy to DROR’s young women!
The participants in DROR Camp 2019 were 7th-9th grade girls from our local secondary schools. Some of the girls have participated in DROR Camp before or were DROR participants in our year-long programs, but many were new to DROR. We divided the girls into five groups of ten each. Each group was in a separate bunk with one counselor responsible for each group.
We felt it was important for the girls to forge a strong relationship with their counselors and bunkmates from the start. A WhatsApp group was created for each bunk prior to the first day of camp. We asked each group ten questions, creating the opening for the campers to share a little about themselves. The WhatsApp group also served as a way to communicate, summarize each day’s events, and provide updates for what to expect for the next day. Additionally, each day of camp opened with one of the girls presenting something unique about herself to the group, such as sharing her favorite song or a family ritual. We also held morning and afternoon summary sessions, to review what we learned from each day’s activities.
DROR’s founder and executive director, Sima Menora, addressed the campers and staff members on the first day. She explained DROR’s mission and shared her dreams for DROR. Sima’s highlight was watching the alumni take over as counselors, after seeing them grow and develop over the years as DROR students and campers. The first week’s activities also included army training techniques, a first aid class, a lesson in Morse code, and a tour of the local police academy.
We also showed off our spirit and talents at color war, participated in a MasterChef competition, and ended the week with a visit to Bar Ilan University to explore the campus and tour a science lab. We learned about university degrees and spoke with students about leadership styles. We practiced a song in sign language too:
The second week of DROR Camp opened with something new—an overnight camping trip at Gush Etzion’s Kashuela Farm. It was an authentic outdoor experience – sleeping in tents under the stars. We hiked, sang around a campfire, toasted marshmallows, prepared dance shows, and held long discussions into the night. The falafel sandwiches for dinner were a hit! We got an early start the next day, with a visit to nearby Deer Land Farm, an adventure park with the longest zipline in Israel! We watched each of our young women bravely fasten the straps before she zoomed through the sky! The girls were so proud of themselves and still can’t stop talking about the experience.
The second week concluded with a self-defense class and volunteering at a local kindergarten (Gan) and preparing a project or activity. Later in the day the young women headed to the local bowling alley, and impressed us (and themselves!) with great scores!
The last day of camp was a celebratory day, with a slideshow highlighting what we learned about ourselves and others, and giving thanks for what we have accomplished and shared together over the past two weeks. We had fun with magnet photos, a henna celebration in honor of Odea Shukrun’s engagement, and huge soap bubbles!
Everyone involved in DROR Camp felt that they had benefited from this wonderful camp experience. We offered the young women a chance to learn new things, to meet new people, to challenge themselves, to question themselves, and to feel confident in their ability to take responsibility for themselves and for others. But we didn’t stop there. After the girls returned home from DROR Camp, we sent them anonymous feedback forms, asking them to rate how they felt after camp, what they enjoyed, and what they felt was lacking.
What some of our students have to say about DROR Camp:
Can’t wait until DROR Camp 2020!!