Today, Matt Shabelman, Rosh Eidah (unit head) of Atid, is here to tell us about Atid, our youngest eidah (unit), and the important value it brings to OSRUI.
BEN: Who are you and what do you do at camp?
MATT: My name is Matt Shabelman and I am the Rosh Eidah of OSRUI’s youngest unit – Atid!
BEN: What is Atid? What do you do during it?
Matt: Atid is a 5 day program that gives our newest and youngest campers entering grades 2-4 the opportunity to experience all of the great activities and programs at OSRUI! In 5 days, campers experience sports, arts and crafts, Jewish learning with stellar Segel (faculty) members, Ivrit (Hebrew) learning, the pool, horseback riding, tubing, the ropes course, and much much more. During their 5 day period they also experience Shabbat and all of the OSRUI traditions that go with it including Shabbat Shira, our all camp song session, and rikkud (Israeli dancing).
BEN: Why is it only 5 days long? Why not do it for longer?
MATT: For a lot of our Atid campers, this is their first time away from home. Parents may be nervous about sending their child to their first sleep-away camp experience for 2 weeks like we do in Kallah and Tzofim, and 5 days is the perfect amount of time try camp and get a taste of OSRUI while navigating being away from home with the help and guidance of their madrichim (counselors). During this time, as I said before, they have a lot of fun and get the opportunities to make friends with the other campers in their bunks as well as experience camp in all of its glory. It’s the first time that a lot of these campers have an opportunity to live relatively independently for a long span of time and it’s a very valuable experience for them.
BEN: Do campers really grow or change while they’re in Atid? Does camp help them develop in the same way it helps other campers?
MATT: Absolutely! 5 days may not seem like a lot, but for these kids it is. It’s important that the first experience of camp is not overwhelming. We build the schedule to be full of opportunities for Atid campers to challenge themselves and get excited about the programming that every OSRUI camper does multiple times throughout a longer session. They also learn traditions, see other traditions (like an OSRUI Shabbat, for example), and stick with their bunk for most of their time here to make the essential camp friendships that last a lifetime.
BEN: What is the value of Atid for OSRUI? How does it add something different to camp?
MATT: Atid means “future” in Hebrew and we think of them as our future for OSRUI. For the next 10 years many of the campers that sign up for Kallah, Tzofim, Gesher, Moshavah, Chalutzim, Avodah, and become madrichim will come from this Atid session. Summer camp, in general, is very valuable for kids: it teaches them resilience, courage to try new things, and what it means to live in a community among plenty of other important life skills. When a child starts their camp experience in Atid, it sets them up to have summers and summers of positive experiences that allow for rich growth and identity building. For OSRUI (and me personally) it is a really special opportunity to watch the next generation of OSRUI campers experience their first time at camp – and it’s rewarding to watch them grow as they continue to come to camp over the next 10 years!
Wow! Thanks, Matt, for sharing your insight and experiences with us about the positive impact Atid brings to these children.. We thank you for everything that you do at camp and wish you the best summer ever. And for all of you reading this, thanks for checking out our blog, and come back next week as we feature more of the great parts of camp that make it the greatest place on Earth! See ya later!