Application & Forms for the year 5774 – 2014
1st trip: Tuesday JUNE 24 (26 of Sivan)—Monday JULY 21 (23 of Tammuz)
2nd trip: Monday JULY 21 (23 of Tammuz)—Monday AUGUST 18 (22 of Av)
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Campers and staff of Camp Gan Israel, Parkville, NY, gathered on Sunday for a glorious Camp reunion. Campers sat down to a sumptuous pizza feast followed by a beautiful rally, in which the 12 pesukim were said and songs were sung.
Campers were then treated to a dazzling magic show after which they were each given their very own snack box.
The last stop of the evening was arts & crafts, where campers enjoyed making their very own “silly putty”.
The Program ended with raffles and prizes. An exclusive raffle was held for the campers who participated “Gan Yisreol Elite: Yud Shvat” a 4 week program that helped campers prepare for the special day.
We would like to thank all the Campers & Staff for joing us for joining and making the reunion the success that it was.
We looking forward to seeing you all for summer 5774.
Over Chanukah, the children who spent last summer at Camp Gan Yisroel in Parksville, NY were delighted to find a special Chanukah edition of the CGI Newsletter awaiting each of them in their respective mail boxes.
The newsletter featured stories, fun, games and more, but the real highlight was the launch of CGI Parksville’s new and exclusive ‘Elite’ program (see below). Campers now have the opportunity to experience this program during the year while they are at home!
With a reunion in the works, the video on its way and the Elite program in full swing, CGI Parksville seeks to make its campers’ time away from camp almost as exciting as the summer itself.
We present the full newsletter for your convenience and enjoyment:
Renowned orator Rabbi YY Jacobson was in Camp Gan Israel in Parksville, NY, when the children concluded the summer season. And with the memories came his tears.
By Rabbi YY Jacobson
In a single moment, eleven years of memories swelled up in my heart. I was a mere spectator, but I could not hold back the tears.
You see, I have spent some eleven summers in that location which I was now visiting. From the age of nine, back in 1981, I was a camper—then a staff-member—in Camp Gan Yisroel, in Parksville, NY, a small town off exit 98 on the 17. Only this time around, I came to camp to pick up my 11-year-old son who spent part of his summer here.
It was the last day at camp Gan Israel. It was time to say goodbye.
Once upon a time, I was one of the boys who would weep when camp came to a close and we were instructed to board the buses that would tear us away from two months of limitless fun and deep friendships. Now, 32 years later, it was like time froze: the same scenes, the same emotion, but with a new generation of staff members and children. Right outside the shul, counselors and campers stood in a circle singing an Alma Matter about their two months in this Catskill Mountain resort. I looked up and I saw my son, his arms around the shoulders of his counselor, singing too.
My mind took me back to the summer of 82, when the following Alma Matter was composed during Color-War. (The tune and lyrics were written by Dr. Mendel Shemtov, solo by Yosef Piekarski.) It has become an instant hit, and has been sung in camp ever since.
Snuggled by the fireplace
One lonely winter night
Skimming through fond memories
Of good times as a child
The fire melts away the years
As I find myself once more
Sitting by a fire, but
This time I’m not alone
My counselor is sitting beside me
My bunkmates are singing nearby
With heartfelt concern he speaks to me
The words that changed my life
How it pains my heart to realize that
Those times are forever gone
Oh, where would I be, if it weren’t for you?
Gan Yisroel I love you.
A few decades have passed since 1982. But in this idyllic bubble, where heaven and earth converge in the innocent imagination of children, not much has changed. Campers and counselors wept as they embraced each other one last time. One camper in particular could not console himself; he and his counselor were weeping uncontrollably. Those special bonds created in over-night camps are unparalleled. The sparks ignited over the two summer months, the friendships formed, the spirit of life ingested, the deep Yiddishkeit bequeathed—have no parallel in any other structure.
Driving down memory lane, I recalled our own Friday nights in camp: the singing for hours, followed by the walks with our counselors in the forests; the sleepless Color-War nights, the skits, plays, and the insane hikes. The canteen, the pillow fights, water fights, and much-dreaded Bedside Inspections. I recalled the many characters who hibernated all year, and came to life only in camp. But most importantly: Those bonds between campers and counselors which have over the years transformed the lives of thousands of children.
I walked out the front gate to go to my car. And there he was: Eric. Eric, the legendary caretaker of camp over the past four decades, was standing on the main road doing what he has been doing now for forty years: directing traffic.
In Eric’s mouth was a cigar. It seemed like the same cigar he had in his mouth back in 1981, when I was a camper.
As always, Eric was getting annoyed with the bus drivers who were not paying attention to his hand gestures. As always, the muffler of the bus hit the gutter while going down the hill, and Eric demonstrated his discontent. As he blew out some heavy chains of smoke, he exhibited his well-known sour face which he often displayed to us when he saw us misbehaving in camp.
“How can you boys not pick up a piece of garbage in the Rebbe Shlaika’s camp?!” he would chastise us. That’s right; Eric never mastered the title “Shlita.” Our camp for him was the “Rebbe Shlaika’s camp.”
The buses departed. The camp was now almost deserted. What was just a few moments ago a bustling Garden of Eden, filled with the laughter of hundreds of children, was now a lonely piece of land in the Borscht Belt. I said, “Goodbye Gan Yisroel” as I walked swiftly to the car. I knew that if I would procrastinate any longer, I might never leave the bosom of my youth.
More photos in the full article. Continue reading
Pictures in the full article.
Pictures in the full article.
Heartfelt words, songs and awards graced Camp’s banquet on Sunday night. Enjoy the pictures in the full article.
Motzei Shabbos saw the dedicated staff of Gan Yisroel assemble in the dining room for a staff banquet. Opening words were delivered by the Executive Director Rabbi Shemtov, followed by several presentations from different staff members. The evening culminated in the distribution of the staff gift, a high quality traveler’s garment bag. This was given as a token of appreciation for all the hard work, sleepless nights and hard effort put into making this summer the amazing summer that it was.
Pictures in the full article.