Friday Morning: Hardly disturbed by the previous day’s adventure, Campers jumped right back into the camp schedule. Regular learning classes took place, followed by lunch and then a Kinus lead by the Learning Directors. Throughout the week, campers were awarded raffle tickets for good behavior, and during the Kinus, the winners of the raffle were announced. The learning Directors also announced the Talmid Hashavuah for each Kevutzah. After the Kinus, the campers went to activities.
An hour before Shabbos, regular learning classes were held featuring the continuation of a special program in which the campers learn the Sichos explaining the Niggunim that the Rebbe Taught. Friday’s portion of the program focused on Tzomo Lecho…Ech Ti. After classes, Camp Davened Minchah, Kabolas Shabbos, and Maariv.
Seudos Shabbos by night followed the directive of our holy Torah “Maalin B’kodesh”, with even more energy and excitement than last Shabbos. Special stories were told and Niggunim sung in honor of the Yom HaGeulah Yud-Beis Tammuz.
Shabbos morning after Shacharis, Gan Yisroel began Seudas Shabbos and were joined by Rabbi Avraham Shemtov in honor of Yud-Beis Tammuz. Rabbi Shemtov spoke about the Rebbe’s visits to Gan Yisroel.
Shabbos afternoon’s Mishnayos Baal Peh was intensified by a special arrangement involving pizza. Any camper who learned enough to earn over one Red (that’s a lot) was awarded a slice of Pizza after Shabbos.
After Mishnayos Baal Peh, campers were gathered in the Shul for Seder Niggunim, followed by Minchah. Shabbos concluded with Seudas Shlishis featuring Niggunim, tuna, and the beloved Shmayunkee. Shabbos competition winners were bunks 3, 16, and 19.
During Gan Yisroels’s day at the Great Escape many of the parks other guests were impressed by the behavior of our campers. More specifically, a Kiddush Lubavitch was made when campers came quickly to the aid of a girl who had passed out on a roller-coaster, supplying her with cold-water ($2.50 at the park). The girl’s mother made it a point to find H.C.Y.G. to notify him of the amazing behavior of our campers. Many other guests also thanked staff personally for the way in which Gan Yisroel behaved in the park, standing out amongst all the other guests in the park including two other Jewish camps.
Thursday Morning: At exactly 5:45 campers were woken up to get a head start on their adventure to the Great Escape amusement park. Due to technical problems, the music played over the PA could be heard only faintly in the square. Several people had difficulty even tracing the sound to the PA speaker due to its spooky-low volume. However, despite this obstacle, the campers were ready for Shacharis at 6:05.
At 7:05 a light breakfast was served consisting of cereal, milk, and hot-coco. The concept behind this light breakfast was that campers would still have room for a brunch (see below for details) at the park only moments before entering. This would greatly reduce the time elapsed before a late lunch, thus allowing for five uninterrupted hours in the park. By 7:25 the bunks were dismissed to the buses and Gan Yisroel was on its way to the Great Escape.
As campers hopped off the buses at 10:45 in the parking lot of the Great Escape, they were greeted by a delicious tuna sandwich brunch (see above for detail concerning the reasons behind said brunch). After saying Al Hamichya on the fantastic Mezonos-bread sandwiches, campers were ready to enter the park. With the cooperation of each staff-member, bunks were divided into small groups to make the amusement park experience more fun and efficient for each individual.
At the gate, each staff-member received tickets for their group and by 12:00 the camp was roaming the paved walkways of the Great Escape Amusement Park. The attendants of the Hospitality Center near the entrance of the park were eager to supply maps for the purpose of easier navigation around the park. With the help of the maps, groups could make their way from one part of the park to another without the risk of getting lost and wasting time. Those campers who wanted to go on roller coasters were lead by their group-leader to the appropriate roller coaster attraction (see pictures) and fun was had. Campers with more sensitive tummies enjoyed themselves at the wide selection of games at the park as well as the more gentler rides. Many campers won prizes including basket-balls, plastic junk, and giant stuffed animal fish. Not to be forgotten, of course, are the daring staff and older campers who went sky-coasting (see pictures), swinging through the air with the aid of a harness and a cord or two. In short, each individual, campers and staff alike, had a great time in his own way.
With amazing precision the entire camp was out of the park on-time by 6:00. By the end of such an exciting day campers were ready to become almost satiated with another round of Mezonos sandwiches. Mincha prayers were conducted on the buses immediately before departure. As the sun set on another day in Gan Yisroel, the buses began to roll back to camp and arrived safely at 10:30. Campers gathered in the Shul for Maariv and Krias Sh’ma, and then rested their heads on their cool pillows, drifting off into slumber with thoughts of the day’s excitement and the next day’s learning classes.
Campers arrive back to camp tired. Everyone was bitten up by mosquitoes, but hey, thatâ€™s all part of the fun, right? The younger bunks had morning learning classes taught by exhausted teachers. Despite their lack of sleep, the Learning Teachers were Moiser Nefesh to teach Torah. By the time the afternoon rolled by, the entire camp was back on schedule and ready to get to sleep on time only to be thrown off schedule again after being told by H.C.Y.G. that the grand trip was the following day and was set to take place @ Six Flags, Great Escape, which was announced Wednesday night right before lights out.
With Monday’s unexpected rain, the overnight was postponed to Tuesday night. After activities, the campers set forth on their journey to the open wilderness. Bunks aleph through vov conducted their overnight in the woods that we have on Gan Yisroel grounds with Survival director Gershon Sandler. The rest of the bunks went to Neversink River Camp grounds. At both overnight sites all campers enjoyed hot-dogs, camp songs, and stories.
Sunday: As campers sat in their learning classes, soaking up Chochmosoi Yisborech like a sponge soaks up an overflowing cup of Chochmosoi Yisborech, parents began to arrive bearing gifts for campers, waiters, counselors, and learning teachers. Visitors from all over the world gathered to Gan Yisroel to visit their children and siblings and to walk the holy grounds of Gan Yisroel. From the moment parents arrived, moderately exciting activities began including but not limited to: Boat-rides, survival programs, barbeques, puppet-shows and much much more…
A special round of applause for the Gan Yisroel technical staff who arranged two (not one, but two!) web-cams for the event. To showcase this website and it’s exciting yet informative updates, a computer booth was set up outside for parents to browse this site.
As the sun began to set on another day in Gan Yisroel the last few families reluctantly walked thought the gates, walked to their cars, put the key in the ignition, turned the key, stepped on the gas, and drove away, waving to their children as they did so.
Monday: At lunchtime the head staff lectured the camp about personal hygiene. Just when things were getting really scary and camper thought that they might have to change their socks, the over-night was announced. Yes, the lecture was a hoax just to break-out the overnight. The campers were delighted. Faces lit-up and the campers began to prepare for their adventure in the wilderness. Then it was rained out and everybody stayed in camp playing board games. Eh, maybe tomorrow.
We are happy to announce that the Live Webcam is up and running. The camera will be on during most of the day or during special events. The video camera is facing the Shul and part of the CGI athletic field.