Demonstrating Ometz Lev at Camp
Last week in our Shabbat post, we spoke about chesed, and the kindness we see throughout camp. There are three core values of Camp Chi- kavod (respect), chesed (kindness) and kehillah (community.) But what does it take to be a part of our kehillah? That, our friends, would be a lot of courage, or ometz lev.
Ometz lev translates literally to heart strength. And in reality, having courage and being courageous takes a strong heart, so the translation is not far off. This was a week our campers demonstrated a lot of ometz lev. This past week, campers in Noar, Habonim, Chalutzim, Tsofim, and Shoreshim all ventured to Mt. Olympus waterpark. Some people are natural daredevils, while others are a little more cautious, and our campers and staff are no different. For some, going on a big water slide, let alone a coaster as daunting as Hades 360, is unfathomable and nauseating. This week, we had campers face that fear head on and try that crazy ridiculous slide, the super fast coaster, and more. With their friends supporting them (and having their hands squeezed), they mustered extra ometz lev and took on that new challenge head on.
New challenges don’t just happen at the waterpark though. Everyday, campers and staff have to face challenges and new things head on. Sometimes it can be a similar experience to the waterpark, conquering a fear of heights at the zipline, going canoeing for the first time, or getting on the horse. Yet other times it can be something as simple as trying a new food. All of those take impressive amounts of ometz lev, and we are proud to see these moments happen each and every day. Campers who have been coming for years and years finally try that last specialty they’ve avoided, or eat the vegetable at dinner (much to the satisfaction of their counselors.)
New campers and staff may demonstrate the most ometz lev of all though. Today we welcomed over 60 campers in Mini Session 1. These mostly first-timers are taking quite a leap. Entering 3rd-7th grade, these campers may not be facing the drops of Hades or the stench of horses, but they are facing something even more daunting- each other. It takes an immeasurable amount of ometz lev to put yourself out there to one another, to make that friendship, to have that first conversation. Our staff go through training on facilitating that moment, and helping a group of individuals become a family, but it takes the active participation and chutzpa of each camper to make that grouping a true cabin. Some campers were able to muster up enough ometz lev and show off their talents in their village talent shows, putting themselves out there in a very vulnerable way to sing, dance, and joke their way into the annual Chi’s Got Talent.
So this Shabbat, we want to commend everyone for the ometz lev they have demonstrated, the friendships they have made, the fears they have faced, and the support offered to one another while doing so. We never know everything coming our way, but we do know that with our collective ometz lev, we can face it, together as one big kehillah.
Shabbat Shalom Camp Chi!