By Yehuda “No ‘H'” Fenton
As the first marvelous half of the summer wound down, many of us assumed that the last few days would be quiet. Luckily, we’re in BMD! After an amazing grand trip, the bochurim were all astonished to discover White-Water rafting lay in their future.
Thursday morning began with shachris and than a mad rush to go. Grabbing a bathing suit and a change of clothing, the campers headed to a hurried breakfast and then straight to the busses.
A short while later, we arrived at the scenic Delaware river. After an elegant lunch on the picturesque river bank, we headed to the rafts. Once all of the bochurim boarded their watercrafts, we embarked on our journey. The fleet of rafts floated gently down the river, slowly increasing speed as we reached the rapids.
The tense moments were wonderfully contrasted with the serene calm of the glorious summer day. The symphony of quacking ducks, the pungent odor of the river, and a breathtaking blue sky all accompanied the bochurim’s gliding journey through the river. We finally ended the trip six miles later, trudging through the mud to reach shore, and walked to the vans to head back.
In short, the final trip for BMD was a phenomenal ending to a spectacular first month. We applaud all of the members of BMD for making this first month possible, and look with excited speculation to the next month in camp! (Thank you Shimon Gorkin; for your help and contributions.)
By Yehuda “No ‘H'” Fenton
Every summer at Gan Israel has certain highlights. From Bog war to the bivouac, certain thing typify a summer at Gan Israel as amazing.
The grand trip was no exception. Heading to the unbelievable Great Escape in Lake George, NY, campers enjoyed a variety of carnival attractions. For the first half of the trip, there were bodacious water slides, from a massive 50 foot, 80 degree slide to an exhilarating, two-person, ride through a closed tunnel in a raft. Then we broke for supper and headed back out for thrilling, heart stopping rides. With exotic names like Boomerang and Comet, the rides held true to their titles with death-defying turns and hair-raising drops.
Although the weather made us head back a little early, that was no problem, given that the hours we spent there were unquestionably wonderful. Definitely, a satisfying end to a remarkable first half of camp.
In a stunning display of speedy video editing prowess, our very own Directory of Videography, Mendy Soffer, has pumped out not one but two amazing new videos! One a video of BMD’s exiting ice skating trip, and the other a compilation of CGI’s & BMD’s bivouacs!! Enjoy!
By Yehuda “No ‘H'” Fenton
This has been an incredible 24 hours here at BMD! Beginning right after breakfast, we rushed off to the buses for an amazing trip. Ahead of us lay skating, bonfires and a bivouac. Just further proof of how unmitigatedly awesome BMD is.
After an exciting bus ride, we arrived at an incredible ice-skating rink. We had just enough time to stop for lunch and then we hit the ice. Gliding along on professional figure skating skates, the bochurim careened around corners at breakneck speeds, skidding to a halt with perfect hockey stops. They skated to chassidishe music, some of the campers playing with a hockey puck, others merely weaving around the other skaters. It was a wonderful beginning to the bivouac.
We then headed over to the camp grounds. After Mincha, BMD was split into two camps and the collection of wood began. Traversing the forest, the campers returned with twigs, brush, and branches and piles of wood quickly accumulated. After the obligatory tree was brought to the campsite, construction of the bonfire began. Teams of staff worked tirelessly until both campsites had massive pyres built.
Before the fires could be lit, the bochurim were led to an exquisite barbeque, with hotdogs and chicken cutlets. After the meal was done, we all headed back to the campsite to daven maariv. Once we davened it was time to light the bonfires.
Although we can’t confirm whether or not the fires were lit with a single match or not, we can guarantee that within minutes two enormous conflagrations lit the night sky. With the roaring fires ablaze (and all the campers at a safe distance) everyone sat back to roast marshmallows, sing niggunim, and listen to stories of the Baal Shem Tov late into the night.
The next morning we awoke to mikva in a nearby river, an inspiring shachris under the open sky, and a lavish breakfast to rejuvenate from the trip. After breakfast, it was time to head back, ready for more phenomenal times at BMD.
As the shul filled with campers and staff alike there was an excitement in the air…….the campers were told someone had taken material from the arts and crafts… but that turned into a BOG WAR breakout. After all the teams were split up it was time for the generals… Chesky, Shmuly and Beso led the camp in the twelve psukim. When they were about to begin their pep talk, all the staff jumped out from behind the curtain and off the stage for a…….BIVOUAC (OVERNIGHT)!!!!
All the campers and counselors headed to their bunks to prepare their tents, flashlights, sleeping bags, bug spray and marshmallows, then returned to the shul for Mincha.
Once we arrived at the beautiful Never Sink Camping Grounds, the campers started to stretch out and play in the open area.
After we started to unpack and set up our tents, collect wood, and just hang out! Thank you to our dear survival director Yossi Serebryansky for showing us how to make a proper Teepee for our GIANT and SAFE bonfires!
With our counselors toiling over the grills to make us delicious supper we sang and ate and had the best bivouac ever!
Photos by Leivik