Keats Camp 2017 – Day 2

Last night as we supervised the cabins (they did not move but the contents inside did), we experienced a first as we watched two young male deer play, hitting their heads against each other. Ironically, it was the way we felt asking the students to settle in for sleep (knocking our heads against a wall would have been less painful). But eventually there seemed to be general quiet, and since it was already, at that time, officially Day 2, we decided to trade hitting our heads against a wall for a pillow.

Grey… I did not expect to wake up to grey. And cool. Grey and cool. Not cool. As I walked across the camp to waken the sleeping beauties who were – wait for it -tired after refusing to sleep, the Rabbi was taking about 16 staff and students for the Tefillah morning hike, which I later heard received 5 "talits" on Trip Advisor. Thankfully, as the morning progressed, grey turned to blue, and cool turned to warm, and tired faces once again turned into smiles.

The kids are resilient, and by 8:00 a.m. all but the hikers were at breakfast enjoying the cereal, yogurt, fruit, and egg of their choice. I know those of you who know me from other newsletters want to hear about my Froot Loop addiction, but I am trying hard to eat better – I survived morning one, but the box is calling my name, so I do not know how the second morning will go. Teachers greedily, and understandably, dipped into the coffee supply – I may have had more than my share but please do not tell; it was a late night and I needed a boost of extra willpower to withstand the call of the wild Froot Loop. The hikers arrived later but in time to eat, all smiles, and made it to the 9:00 a.m. activity slot.

From here, things fell into the routine we started yesterday. 90 minute activity. 15 minute snack break. 90 minute activity. Lunch – 1 hour. 90 minute activity. 15 minute snack break. 90 minute activity. I know you want to know about lunch and were concerned I was going to gloss over that part, but no way – mac and cheese with more garlic bread and more salad deserves mention. I must say, when they put out the trays I thought we had way too much food. I was wrong again – the food amounts were just right. And the student "volunteer 
cleaners" continue  to be superstars – teamwork is going well.

Today, we have also had a few bumps, bruises, scrapes and stings. Rocks jump out, tripping people, and wasps like to say hello. Thankfully we are well-equipped with first aid supplies and good staff to care for the booboos. After the final activity we gave students a bit of free time before dinner – Okay, 45 minutes – but it felt like an hour! 

Don’t you just love the smell of BBQ? Rabbi and I grilled up a ton of veggie and beef burgers on this huge BBQ that thought it was a flame thrower – best grilled flavour ever – so glad I had a shower just before we started cooking! The students really seemed to enjoy the meal – no food shortage here: lots of veggies, grilled onions and mushrooms and chips (with ridges). A little Birkat HaMazon, an optional Minyan, and a half hour of free time before the 7 p.m. meet-up for the start of the evening activities.

Tonight’s plan includes an Amazing Race and sigh, more Karaoke (what is it with singing off key that gets people excited?). We also plan to have lots of dessert with even more sugar than last night to keep the students up even later tonight, if possible (I think s’mores are on the menu). I am excited for the evening that is to come and it truly is amazing how fast this retreat has gone and I cannot believe this is our last night.

Before I say goodbye to you all I would like to thank Matt Dichter and Debbie Appelbaum for their outstanding work in organizing this event for us and to the other amazing staff and two shinshiniot who made this a trip to remember for our students. Every year is special but our staff this year just set such a warm and kind tone with the students and with each other – it was a joy to be part of this group. We have a group of superstars who are so committed to your children – it is a true wow! A final thank you to the Keats Camp staff and to Stacey Kettleman and her sister Renee who once again catered this trip – they are amazing to all of us!

We hope to be home around 2 p.m. or just after this time tomorrow, but we will send an email after we are at sea and have an estimate of our arrival time from the Captain (no special code or decryption needed – we want you to get there on time.) Please tell your kids how much we enjoyed these days – we hope they enjoyed them too!

See you at the dock for pick-up, please be on time, pretty please…

King David High School, 5718 Willow Street, Vancouver, British Columbia V5Z 4S9 Canada

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