by Daniel Malka, Rosh Sport
Take a tour of the sports courts and fields and you’ll see campers excited about tennis, softball, volleyball, gaga, fitness, kickboxing, archery, basketball, and soccer. You’ll also see campers engaged in Krav Maga, an Israeli form of martial arts that builds confidence. You’ll see that we’ve added new bats and mitts sized for campers in our youngest aidot. And you may even see kids hitting tennis balls shot out of the ball launcher on loan to camp this summer.
This summer our sports staff is focusing on skill building as well as teamwork. We try to encourage campers to try new things and work hard to accomplish their goals. They gain confidence as their skills improve and they see the benefits of their hard work. We feel like the sports activities are an excellent way to learn life skills like leadership, teamwork, overcoming obstacles, and what it means to win/lose a game.
When I hear campers say, “I don’t like sports,” I try to find a way for them to have fun and see that they are an important part of the team. It’s rewarding to watch these same campers become more comfortable and begin to look forward to playing sports with their friends!
A highlight of every summer is Yom Sport, a day when our sports staff works very hard to give every camper a chance to shine. The day includes more than just sports – campers can make team cheers and banners, participate in a relay race that includes bobbing for apples and pitching a tent, compete in a kayak race, and so much more.
This is my third year at camp and my friends and family in Israel often ask me, “Why do you keep going back?” I explain that Camp Ramah feels like a safe zone, a comfortable place where I feel connected to the campers and can help them improve their sports skills and learn life skills. And it’s very rewarding when I hear kids say that the courts are their favorite place in camp.