By Jonathan Schrag, Rosh Bogrim
It’s hard to believe that it’s the last week of camp! Even with our time here winding down, Bogrim managed to make last week the best one yet. Every summer, when the Machon tiyul (trip) leaves to explore pockets of Wisconsin and Nivonim works on their machazemer (play), Bogrim has the opportunity to step up in camp and take advantage of a very special week. We call this week Shavua Bogrim, and we follow a totally unique schedule designed by our own tzevet (staff).
Every year, the chanichim (campers) get to choose an intensive track to participate in for the week, and they spend more than 10 hours in their tracks working on their specific projects. This year, we had a great selection to choose from: stand-up comedy with Chicago comedian Jeremy Drazner, Broadway dance with Broadway dancer Kayla Starr Bryan, nagarut (woodworking) with Chicago carpenter Jacob Shapiro, and movie-making with Chicago actor/singer Dan Tater. I entered the week incredibly excited about these different offerings and, after spending the week floating from track to track, I came away incredibly impressed with the intensity and excitement within each group.
Monday through Thursday, our chanichim met with their tracks for about three hours to work on their craft, each taking on their own projects and assisting each other in the journey. While the stand-up comedy track worked on their style, stage presence and joke-delivering, our dancers worked to strengthen their core, learn advanced moves and choreographed their own dance. During their track time, the nagarut group built three wooden swinging benches to place around camp. These now hang in on the waterfront, the point and the soccer field, and have drawn rave reviews from chanichim and tzevet around camp. The movie team, meanwhile, worked on creating three separate short films centered on topics of their choosing, and worked to shoot and edit them as well.
When they weren’t in their track times, Bogrim had a strong slate of programs planned for them by our tzevet that highlighted ways to enjoy our time at camp in ways that the everyday routine does not always allow us to experience. Some of the highlights included a 2 am party on the point (a part of camp generally “belonging” to Machon), which included bubbles, fruit smoothies, caramel apples, music and dancing, slip and slides on the Kikar, as well as our yitziah (group outing) to Eagle River where we ate and swam at a local beach before enjoying the new Spiderman movie together in theatres.
After the Nivonim machazemer on Thursday night, our eidah gathered in the Teatron with many guests from around camp to present the different track projects. With an eidah member MC’ing, we laughed at jokes from many different participants in the stand-up track, enjoyed the three movies the film track produced, watched as the dance track performed an intricate piece, and were impressed by how quickly the nagarut intensive produced such fine work to improve our camp.
This eidah gives our tzevet and me dozens of reasons to be proud and grateful for the opportunity to grow with them every single day, but I always enjoy the ones we as a tzevet don’t set up or structure for them the most, as these moments truly allow the individual members to shine. Shavua Bogrim was just a string of incredibly impressive and fun moments that these amazing chanichim produced largely on their own. While our tzevet and I worked very hard to set up the eidah for success during Shavua Bogrim, I was once again blown away by their ability to take ownership of their time in this space, include, support and encourage one another, and use their incredible gifts to lift each other up and enjoy each other’s presence. I’m sure the chanichim have a long list of special moments from the week, and we hope to add many more in this last week up here in the Northwoods of Wisconsin!