By Gal Atia, Program Director
Yom Sport has become one of the highlights of every summer at Machane Ramah.
This summer, even the temperamental weather cooperated in the end, despite its best effort. Hours before Adom, Cachol, Yarok and Tzahov were to take over camp, it wasn’t clear if we’d have to cancel. It had been raining for the past couple of days, and there was an almost 70% chance of more rain throughout the day. The weather map was all green and yellow marks above Conover, Wisconsin.
But, from the time we made the decision at lunch that we’d begin Yom Sport that afternoon, it felt like the clouds knew our schedule and it only rained after the evening activities were over and during times we’d already planned to be indoors.
Sunday evening, the opening ceremony began as each color performed their dances, cheers and revealed the beautiful banners campers had created based on the Yom sport theme: “החלל החיצון” (outer space).
After dinner, we gathered for a camp-wide game of “Empty Nesters” on the soccer field, where each team had to keep their quadrant empty of the dozens of balls flying around, without knowing when time would be called. We even broke up the fun during one of the breaks by playing the “Cha-Cha slide” and it was wonderful to see almost all the campers in their team colors dancing together.
After the game, campers made their way to the basketball courts to watch an incredible fire sign ceremony that was made by some of the Machon campers during their intensive workshops. After the younger campers had gone to sleep, campers from Bogrim, Machon & Nivonim played a high-spirited game of capture the flag.
Monday morning, Yom Sport started out with a bang as the team leaders led their campers in singing the team cheers, painting faces and generally pumping them up. Campers were then separated into different competitions based on their interest, including basketball, soccer, freeze dance, trivia, Ramapoly (Monopoly game based on camp), dodgeball, home run derby and volleyball, all with goal of gathering valuable points for their team.
After our traditional silent Yom Sport lunch (really!), campers returned to their cabins for a little rest, followed by more fun games, including gaga, battleship, roofball, spikeball, flag footbal, ultimate frisbee, water volleyball, water polo, and even sandcastle building on the beach. There was something for everyone.
I recall one very impactful conversation I had with a member of our Mishlachat (Israeli delegation); He said that he wished he could have had the privilege to be a camper here. He said, “Whether giving the right answer in a trivia contest or making a basket or even flying a paper airplane, everyone has a place to shine and create amazing memories.”
Before the last event, Camp Ramah’s 25 station relay race, the captains chose 14 campers (two from each aidah from Kochavim through Nivonim) for an intense tug of war competition. And then it was the Apache, where each camper had a role in helping their team finish first by completing their goofy, fun and sporty tasks. When the last team was able to build a fire on the beach that burned through the rope hanging above it, we learned that for third year in a row, ADOM finished first!!!
After we gathered to sing the Hymnon together (with some campers happier than others), Nivonim campers stormed the lake, while the rest of the campers stormed the Chanutya (canteen) for a chocolate snack that made everyone equally happy!!!
Once again, we accomplished our goal of making everyone a winner at Machane Ramah!