Shutaf Camp Day 1 – From Joelle Lang

Stepping through the open doors of Camp Shutaf is like entering into a whole new world. Shutaf is a world filled with laughter and playfulness and love.  A world that brings about smiles and glowing faces, created for the sole purpose of spreading happiness.  Everywhere campers pile onto their beloved counselor’s backs, and make themselves at home in their counselor’s laps.   The joy overcomes you and inspires you to find a way to pay forward the warmness that surrounds the camp.

The best way to describe the Avatiachs, or “Watermelons,” (one of the Shutaf camper groups), and that includes the counselors, is that they are overflowing with energy.

A day in the life of an Avatiach:

After proudly chanting their bunk song in front of the other groups in camp, the overjoyed Avatiachs begin their day by receiving jobs.  Each camper receives a responsibility for the day, which they proudly wear as watermelon-shaped necklaces, ranging from “giving out cereal” to “making sure no one complains.”  The Avatiachs work as a group, each camper is a cog in the wheel that keeps the bunk running.

The first activity of the day was Sport. The sports counselor began with stretches followed by a game of hopping on circles and throwing a soccer ball into a hoop.  The cheers of the Avatiachs could be heard across the camp.

The hot, red-faced Avatiachs then headed to Art.  The minute the highly energized Avatiachs entered the art room they were overtaken by the calm aura of the art instructor.  They made people, animals and stars that were attached to boards making their works of art pop up when pushed down.  The concentration and creative vibe in the art room were clear on the Avatiachs’ faces.

Afterwards, the Avatiachs and all their energy took their lunches outside to the big playground where they swung on swings, climbed ladders and slid down slides.   It was incredible to watch them help each other navigate through the playground tower.

The last activity and perhaps the most exciting was Animals. The campers listened carefully as the animal-activity staffer described the differences between people and animals, and shrieked loudly when he put a goose on the floor for the campers to pet.  The goose did not stay for long.  The campers did however have a lot of fun passing around and giving names to different types of hamsters and rabbits.

The Avatiachs are a fantastic group!  The campers were so kind and excited to be with each other, it did not appear that any camper could possibly feel left out.  In other words, the Avatiachs are like one big, happy family.

After a camp day filled with one fun activity after another, if all the Avatiachs don’t collapse on their beds when they get home, I can definitely assure you their counselors do.

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