Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Friday afternoon at day camp. The specialist for the next-to-last period drama class says: "Say kids, who can tell me what's coming next?"

"Church?" a small voice pipes up.

"Jesus?" another voice whispers to the junior counselor for my group.

Oy vey. Not the right answers, let me tell ya...


A senior counselor for the six-year-olds is swimming in the pool with kids hanging off him like monkeys hanging from a massive tree. At one point, he is up against the wall of the pool with three kids walking all over him. His last words before going underwater are "Oh, my booty!"

I laugh my fool head off. Thankfully, he resurfaces, still breathing. We speculate on those three words nearly becoming his epitaph...and that it would have been reported that I had died laughing.

That was last week. Today, he stood at the top of the steps of the bus as kids clumped their way down the steps past him. As we walked with the kids to the field trip location, he said to me, "It's funny, but today, my shorts were a handlebar."

Got me again. Because of where he was standing, many five and six year olds passing him by ended up grabbing his shorts to help them down that first bus step. I laughed my head off once again. I'm looking foward to next week's pearls of wisdom, for certain...


So I did the same ol' same ol' two weeks ago. Orientation for three days running. Going over camp policies. Pool rules. Paperwork. Planning activities. Decorating group rooms. Blah, blah, blah. Loads of PowerPoint presentations...well, only two. One was about how best to decorate your room. The other was also typical...

...until it began.

Our shaliach (who I will call Shali for short) began her presentation on her Israeli home. She showed pictures of her beautiful city not far from the border of Lebanon. She showed pictures of her large family. She showed pictures of herself with her boyfriend, an Israeli soldier she had met when she was doing her mandatory service in the IDF. She then got to the map.

The Gaza Strip was projected onto the screen. Shali talked about June 25, 2006. She talked about the Hamas raid that killed her boyfriend and made soldier Gilan Shalit a prisoner and negotiating tool for the Palestinian group. Shali took on this emissary position to have American kids learn something about Israel, to have them meet someone from there, and to give them a window into that life, no matter how small that window might be.

She's having a hard time here. The counselors need to help out more with disciplining the kids in their groups when they come to her classes, because she's good with the activities, but her English is still a tad spotty. I try to rephrase things for her whenever I can so that the kids get it. But Israel classes a couple of times a week for these kids doesn't do Israel...or Shali... much justice.

On the one hand, it is only week two of camp. On the other, there are six more to go. Hang in there, Shali, my friend.


LisaPal said...

I'm reading this and thinking you must be working at our "second home," where my kids have spent their summers for as long as they can remember (and pre-school for Rachel as well). I many day camps in New Orleans have a shaliach? Except ours is a guy, so ...maybe I've forgotten about Metairie.

That must have been a sobering session for the kids.

Oh, and my son was always the tree with the monkeys hanging off of him. He has a "real job" this summer. (He said his camp gig as a CIT and junior counselor was great because it wasn't like a real job at all, but as a CIT/JC it didn't pay like a real job.) But on his three weekdays off, he usually goes to the pool and his little Maccabee boys mob him just as they've always done and he loves it.

saintseester said...

Is that a new personality in your photo?

And the "Jesus" answer... cleaning off my computer screen. Kids are just so raw. Gotta love them.

Leigh C. said...

That photo's been there for a while. The little guy took it at the Orpheus parade this past Mardi Gras. I was in the middle of telling him something serious, like, "Give that camera back to Daddy." I think...

The Jesus comment is classic. I had a meeting with all my fellow counselors recently and that anecdote had 'em rolling.

LisaPal said...

Ooops, I was wrong abut the shaliach. We have two girls. The guy is an Israeli and is the sports camp specialist, but is apparently serving the same function, prompting my daughter to assert that the man in your grandfather's story was wearing a kind of kippot and not a yarmulke.

Leigh C. said...

Or possibly a yamaha, not a yarmulke! ;-)