Dear Parents and Campers,
Without paying attention, summer ended, fall is at its peak, and Chanukah is on its way.
“We wondered what to sing together with a crowd. Nothing fancy, maybe even easy. We dug and dug through a thousand tunes and finally discovered one without words…” (Gazoz, “Eo Oh”)
We wondered how we could run Camp Skimama as we do every Chanukah, but this time, without skiing, without snow, without flights, without leaving the country. To keep all the ingredients in our successful formula but also adapt them to the current situation: Chanukah vacation, Israel, with COVID-19, kids stuck at home, and we all know our kids have spent enough time online in front of screens. We want to travel – no, we deserve to travel. So if there’s not going to be any skiing, then at least we need to create an experience with activities in the sea, in the air, and on the land. In vans and planes. In the south, the center, and the north of the country. Just like with every meeting like this at Kimama, the instruction for our staff was clear: go the farthest, be the most creative, the most bold. Let’s offer our campers everything we might have thought was “impossible.” And here’s the result: Kimama Race!
How does it work?
Campers are divided up into groups of 14 along with two team members who are among our very best. They choose a common group goal for competitors (Holocaust survivors, youth at risk, cleaning beaches, etc.) and head out. The group travels from place to place in fantastic vans, They’ll spend half the day competing and the other half hanging out and relaxing. Campers in the winning group will be awarded personal prizes as well as the chance to contribute in Kimama’s name to the goal they chose for the competition. To succeed at their task, they’ll have no choice but to tackle a few challenges: An introductory dive. Ropes park. Eilat. Snorkeling. Hot air ballooning. Dancing. Evening activities. Jerusalem. Knowledge. Speed. Effort. Cooperation. Kayaking in the Dead Sea. The Kinneret. Bike trip. Friends. Music. Like the song says, “Nothing fancy, maybe even easy.”
But how can you do it all during COVID? Don’t you listen to the news?
We are constantly listening to the news, and to the Ministry of Health and all government decisions. We’ve seen that even last summer, most of the educational programs in Israel, both private and public, ceased operating, for obvious reasons. The fact that we succeeded in holding activities throughout the entire summer, without any mishaps, shouldn’t be taken for granted, and it didn’t happen just by chance. It happened thanks to the rigorous policies we upheld, along with the lifestyle and stringent practices we accepted upon ourselves. We put forth a great effort to maximize the time we spent and the activities we did in the open air, we were careful about masks in closed areas, we took temperatures twice a day, we were cautious about treating health incidents, enforced strict records of health declarations, encouraged social and personal hygiene practices, kept pods (capsules) apart, and most of all, remained on high alert. We practiced forceful risk management all summer long, every day, at all times. And that’s what we’ll be doing this Chanukah as well.
Sounds great, but will there be other Kimama activities this Chanukah besides the race?
Glad you asked. The answer is YES. Out of the saying, “Every crisis brings opportunity,” a new Kimama program was born during the first lockdown: Kimama Van. When we started talking about isolation and pods of up to 10 campers, we asked ourselves how we could possibly offer Kimama in pods? And here’s our way: Kimama Van – 5 days, 7 campers, 2 staff members, and one van, with a program to die for. Think of the most amazing parts of Kimama, then make them even better, and then crank them up just a little MORE. And thanks to the incredible success of Kimama Van this past summer, this plan is now being run throughout the year, including during Chanukah vacation. If you open your eyes and look around, here and there you’ll see more and more Kimama vans touring around all over Israel. Like the classic Israeli song, “Good people in the middle of the road.”
I want to take this opportunity to thank our skilled team of counselors, coordinators, and directors, most of whose friends are on unpaid leave while they’re here with us at Kimama, figuring out each day how to communicate with and thrill the next generation of kids who deserve the very best. Our team members are a fantastic personal example to our campers.
I’d also like to thank you for your trust, your understanding, and the opportunity you give us to be creative over and over again.
I invite you to join us,