Set up for Camps UP 2014 has begun with the arrival of the 120+ staff and CITs arriving at our new home at K’far Silver in lovely Ashqelon. For our first camp post we share initial reflections from an assortment of folks, returners and rookies.
Photos from the day can be found right here.
A video montage of today’s staff shenanigans is online right here.
Our first reflection comes from Sam Sherman, a first-time CIT from Highland Park, Illinois:
Today, as I arrived on campus at K’far Silver, I was amazed at how nice the fields and dorms looked. My favorite part of the day was hanging with the other staff members. Everyone here is so nice. I can’t express how friendly and welcoming all the people have been. Today I had a lot of fun catching up with Jesse Marquisee and Hassan Ayishi, CITs I had the chance to meet on the Peace Tour in April. On another note, the dinner we had today was very good. We had chicken with delicious fresh watermelon. I can’t wait for a phenomenal week at Camp UP 2014!
Next up, returning coach Dani Glass shares her thoughts about returning to Camp UP:
Today was strange as it was a day of firsts even though the process is so familiar by now. This is my fifth summer with Ultimate Peace, and the first day (of arrivals for the coaches) is always a bit overwhelming even though really, it is the “quiet before the storm” of camper arrival, as another coach put it. “A perfect storm,” he clarified: a crazy, loud, overwhelming, refreshing, revitalizing. The day has been full of familiar faces and new ones: familiar faces from one year, two years, and more, some from the Middle East and some from the States, some still in high school and some, well, a “bit” out of high school. There are so many members of the staff this year; every time I think I’ve met all the newcomers I come across another new face.
It’s exciting, all this newness. We have a new facility and we have to learn our way around. There are new safety regulations, new foods, (well, foods other than schnitzel!), new faculty members working for the school, and of course new UP personalities. I met the members of my upcoming coaching team, and I can’t wait until tomorrow when I get to start working more closely with them. One of my favorite pieces about the “behind-the-scenes” of camp is the closeness that comes with working so intensely with co-coaches. One of the women with whom I am lucky enough to coach this year has taught in other countries: something I have chosen to pursue as soon as I can. We had a great conversation about the benefits and challenges and I ended up with a lot of advice from a new perspective. It had nothing to do with Ultimate but everything to do with what is behind the reasons we (or I, at least) have come and returned to camp. Creating these connections is what camp is all about, and it never waits for the campers to get here to begin. Happy to be back, and happy to jump right in, as always.
“Boom!” says second-time coach Teem Lee about the first day of Camp set up (yes, that’s a direct quote). After spending the past years in Israel and working throughout the year with the CITs, he had this to say about today:
“Mingle, mingle, mingle! Princess! Mingle, mingle, mingle! Toaster!”
It’s the first day of staff orientation at UP Camp 2014, and we are ending the evening with fun activities with all the staff and CITs. In the few hours I’ve been here, I’ve met people from all walks of life. A carpenter apprentice from Vancouver Island, a intern of international development from Vermont, a photographer from Brazil, and graphic designer from Israel. It’s amazing how Ultimate Peace brings so many different people together.
Rewind 36 hours. I was scrubbed in on a varicose vein surgery, finishing up some sutures. And that concluded the third year of medical school. I have a surgery exam on Tuesday that I’m not ready for. And at the end of July, I have my second board exam. But I couldn’t miss camp. I missed it last year because I was studying for my first board exam. It was a mistake. I couldn’t focus on studying when everyone else was having fun at camp! So here I am, a few days before my last exam of 3rd year and a month before my board exam. And I couldn’t be happier.
Our final initial-look post comes from Jonathan Masler, who returns to camp after a year away (welcome back, buddy):
New faces, new places, same fun. Camp UP is back at it in year five, and what a start it’s been! Coming back after a year-long hiatus, I couldn’t be more excited to be reuniting with the UP family. The stories shared by coaches new and old of how they came to find UP, and what the experience means to them is inspiring. Each year, the family gets larger, and our values grow stronger. This program simply takes you in, and shapes your outlook on the power out sport holds. Even though I’m well aware of “the marathon and the sprint” ahead, I also know how rewarding it will be for each and every member of this special experience.
There is a lot to celebrate this year at camp—our fifth year, a beautiful new facility, graduating CIT’s—the energy here at K’far Silver is invigorating, and infectious (and the campers haven’t even arrived yet!). The excitement is in the air, and the banners are up! Time to get cozy with our new friends, and new stomping grounds. The fun is has only just begun….
As we come together as a (massive) staff to create the specialness of space and time that will become Camp UP, we rely on one another and each person’s talents to make this place magical. We are all here, inspired to take part in Camp UP, and we only grow from here, together.