On Thursday reveille was later due to the minimal sleep received last night. Today was the birthday of Levi Hadokov, CEO of Shmais News Service. Itzakadoozie posicles were distributed to all the campers! At night he held a Farbrengen for all the staff.
Wednesday morning reveille was at 7:00. Everyone came directly to the Shul and began davening. After davening and a quick breakfast, we boarded the buses and headed off to The Great Escape!
Around 12:30 we arrived at the park. Everyone lined up outside the park. The counselors gave out snacks, and began breaking up the children into groups of three or four. All staff members, not just counselors, took a group of children.
The weather was perfect for a Grand Trip – overcast and drizzly, so there were very few visitors at the park. Lines were almost non -existent. One group went on a water ride six times in a row, without stopping. Another group went on a roller coaster five times in a row. Just at the time lunch was scheduled to begin, it began to rain hard. During lunch, Head Counselor Yudi Steiner said that the bunk in which every member ate nicely, sang nicely, and smiled would receive every Rebbe picture that was given out yet, a total of 25 pictures. As time went on the stakes rose to 48 pictures. Bunks Yud and Yub-Bais almost made it, but in the end, nobody won. As lunch was ending, the rain continued falling. Yudi Steiner predicted that if the whole camp would say Ad Mosai nine times it would stop raining. First, every person in the tent needed to get on a bench (or table.) It took quite a while, but in the end, every single person (even the staff) got onto a bench. Then Yudi led the cries of Ad Mosai, each time louder than the last. After the ninth Ad Mosai, the sun could be seen shining from behind the clouds. After only a couple of minutes the rain stopped.
Throughout the day shouts of “CGI! CGI” and “Wherever we go!” Night Activity Director Dovid Taub prepared a scavenger hunt to do in the park. Among the things to do was to get the majority of the line to shout “CGI!”, to get people from foreign states to sign a paper, and to put tefilin on with a Jewish visitor. Over 25 people put on tefilin, at least seven of them for the first time. Dovid Taub’s puppet, Itche Kadoozy put on a show on one the park’s stages. A large audience, from camp and not from camp, gathered to watch the hilarious show. Although the show was not videoed, you can watch other Itche Kadoozy productions at www.itchekadoozy.com.
At 7:00, it was time to gather outside the park and daven Mincha. Just then, rain started pouring. The tent was rather small, and just barely fit the entire camp. After Mincha, everyone loaded onto the buses. Supper was eaten on the bus. At 11:45, the buses pulled into camp. We davened Maariv and went to sleep.
Monday saw particularly bad weather. It rained most of the day. In the afternoon a sign was put up on the bulletin board, purportedly printed off the internet, predicting bad weather, and possibly a hurricane in the Catskill Mountains. Next to it was a printout from Shmais.com reporting how the Catskill Mountains may be evacuated.
Inspectors came to camp on Tuesday. Overall they were impressed with camp. It continued to drizzle most of the day.
Before supper tape was put up on most of camp’s windows to minimize damage done by shattered glass. At the end of supper Head Counselor Chezzy Deren got up on the table and gravely announced that all counselors should get bentchers for their bunks and begin bentching immediately, regardless of whether their table was cleared or not. “Let no camper allow the words “BOG War” leave his mouth!” he warned solemnly.
After they finished bentching the campers were herded into the basement, followed by the staff. As everybody sat down on the floor, Chezzy told everyone that the storm would not hit us with full intensity for quite some time. Meanwhile horrible banging and shaking could be heard upstairs. Chezzy then demonstrated how to sit cross legged and hold our hands over our heads in case thing should fall from the ceiling, when…
the BMD came running into room, “BOG WAR!!!” Singing and dancing broke out, simultaneously with cries of “I knew it the whole time!” “I saw through the window that everything was fine.” Everyone then proceeded to the shul were the benches had been moved into three groups.
Everyone sat down and Yudi began to explain the theme of BOG War. “This war is to be called Chosid War. Each team will try to demonstrate who can be more of a chosid. There will be three teams. The first team is called Yosef. Yosef lived in Egypt. He was in golus for 22 years. This team will show how horrible golus is, and the life of a Jew in golus. The second team is Menashe. Menashe symbolizes the desire and yearning to leave golus. The third team is Ephraim. Ephraim symbolizes how a Jew can be fruitful, and maintain a connection to Hashem even in the golus, and on the contrary, strengthen his bond through the golus.”
He then split up the teams, and announced the staff members to be on each team. Then the lieutenants and generals were announced. Each team loudly expressed their confidence and pride in their team. Shaya Goupin then asked for silence. Some time passed and the campers continued to talk. “Menashe, you have lost a point!” Shaya bellowed.
Menashe’s general, Counelor Ruvain Gidder stomped to the front of the shul “What? A full point? Maybe a quarter of a point. Not more than half a point!”
“That’s it!” said Shaya, “If you can’t have BOG War, then there will have to be-”
“GRAND TRIP!!!!” screamed the lieutenants of Team Yosef. Once again singing and dancing broke out. A couple smart alecks still insisted on screaming “I knew the whole time!” but many campers were just confused.
Shaya got up again and explained “Tomorrow will not be not be BOG War. Tomorrow will be the Grand Trip to the Great Escape!”
Confused looks continued to be seen on many of the campers’ faces. “Let me explain,” said Yudi, “Inspectors, yes. Hurricane, no. BOG War, no. Grand Trip, yes. We will not be davening by team. We are davening by bunk like every usual night.”
Over 120 campers arrived this morning for Malafaphone Monday. Each of the children got a Malfaphone card – the only way to be picked as a volunteer for night activity.
Despite the rain the persisted throughout the day, the campers still had fun the entire day. Popular activities that were played indoors include: gag-ga, hockey tournaments, computer room, game room, board games, bingo, swimming, arts and crafts and many others. The rain did little do dampen the spirits of the CGI campers.
Hundreds of visitors from around the world, including father’s and mother’s, brother’s and sister’s, bubby’s and zaidy’s uncle and aunts and others spent their Sunday afternoon visiting with campers & staff @ Gan Yisroel in Parksville, NY.
The highlight of the day was the grand dedication ceremony of a brand new bunkhouse on the famous hill in CGI.
CGINY’s Executive Camp Director Rabbi Avrohom Shemtov addressed the crowd, reminding them of the extra special connection & attention the Rebbe gave to this camp.
Afterwards, the red ribbon was cut and the Fellig brothers from Miami Beach, FL, Zalman & Shlomie, who dedicated the new bunkhouse in memory of their dear father R’ Yosef Mordechai ben Tzvi Meir OBM, were honored with affixing the Mezuzos on the 2 doorposts.
Following the ceremony the large crowd enjoyed delicious fresh donuts and soda.
While many campers & staff left campgrounds for the day, many others remained to enjoy the delicious food from the canteen, relax and picnic on the front lawn, have some fun on the lake and much more.
11:00 Camp Time (12:00 Eastern Time) visiting day officially began. Many parents came from the NY area and beyond to visit their children. At 12:00, a ceremony began for the dedication of a new bunkhouse. Rabbi Avremel Shemtov spoke how when Camp Gan Israel moved from Swan Lake to Parksville the Rebbe said that grounds belong to Merkos, and the keys are lent the camp staff. This land legally belongs to the Rebbe. The Rebbe also said that the land of Gan Yisroel is an extension of 770. He then spoke of the great zechus the Zalman and Shlomo Fellig have to be able to sponsor a new bunkhouse in the Rebbeâ€™s camp. Camper Yossi Fellig cut the ribbon in front of the house, and the head staff, the directors and the Fellig brothers walked onto the porch. Each of the Fellig brothers affixed a mezuzah on one of the doors. In the meantime, a sign was put up dedicating the house to Rabbi Yosef Mordechai ben Tzvi Meir Fellig, the father of Shlomo and Zalman. The large crowd then enjoyed soda and fresh donuts.
Throughout the day, parents kept coming to camp. Many spoke to their sonsâ€™ respective learning teachers and counselors. A buffet lunch was put out in the dining room for all the campers and visitors to enjoy. In addition to the usual array of fine food available at the canteen, specially for Visiting Day, hot dogs, hamburgers, and grilled chicken wings were for sale the entire day. Camp T-shirt and caps were being sold in the main lobby. The camp video (to come out at the end of the summer) was on sale for $16.99, including free shipping to anywhere in the US. After camp, the price will go up to $20. The special sale price is still available, so order yours today! In lobby, an exclusive sneak preview of the video was being shown. There were paddleboats, bumper boats, rowboats available to be taken out by the lake. Many parents took their children out to the many attractions available in the area. All in all a great time was had by all.
Among our distinguished visiting day guests was former Night Activity Director Moshe Markel. First a game of â€œmummy wrapâ€ played. Two teams of two campers were selected. One camper had to wrap his teammate entirely in toilet paper. The winnerâ€™s entire bunk got to play another game.