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Rebecca Walberg

SAND DUNES AND HALACHA: CHABAD'S CAMPING TRIP TO SPRUCE SANDS WAS FAMILY FRIENDLY

By Rebecca Walberg, August 12, 2010

Ten tents dotted the landscape of Spruce Woods Provincial Park, Bay 8, as more than thirty campers took part in Chabad’s second annual kosher camping trip, on Sunday August 8th.

 Campers aged two to adult played soccer and football after setting up tents, and explored the nature surrounding the camp grounds, tasting choke cherries and pin cherries, and admiring the baby frogs that jumped around under the brush.  Conversation at dinner, which included corn on the cob wrapped in foil and cooked in the fire, as well as salad and dessert, ranged from the differences between frogs and toads to elements of halacha.
 
“We did this last year to show that you can go camping and have a great time, and it doesn’t have to be more complicated to be kosher,” explains Rabbi Boruch Heidingsfeld.  Kosher and healthy snacks were abundant on the trip, but a hot dinner was a key part of the evening.  Because the grills attached to fire pits in parks aren’t kosher, they can’t be used to prepare food.  One of the first activities of the day, then, was making kosher sticks for toasting hot dogs, hamburger patties and marshmallows over an open fire.  Using coat hangers and wooden doweling, campers made their own BBQ sticks, and then sanded down the handle, with some children labeling and decorating their handiwork

After dinner, campers took advantage of one of the most remarkable parts of Spruce Woods, the sand dunes and desert at Spirit Sands.  Parents with small children took a less challenging route through the dunes, which demonstrate an astonishing range of plants and geological features found nowhere else in the province.  Another group, led by veteran hiker Clive Ramage and older, energetic children hiked a route that included steep stairs and a near vertical rope ladder up a dune.  They were rewarded for their efforts by the chance to roll down a slope of pure white sand.

Monday’s activities included breakfast and lunch, with a horse-drawn wagon ride around the sand dunes, providing another perspective on Manitoba’s only desert.  The event was very family-friendly, and Rabbi Boruch plans to repeat the program next year.

 
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