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Camp Massad counselors and campers perform a tribute song in honour of Gilad Shalit

Palay and Abells with Machshira, Camp Massad's counselor-in-training group


By Bradley Abells and Max Palay – Machshira 2010, September 29, 2010

This was our last summer as campers at Camp Massad. We painted, acted, sang, went on an overnight, and much more.  We were counselors in training, and could not have imagined a better experience.  Three counselors, and a group of around twenty-six of us (15 and16 year olds) spent six amazing weeks together planning programs for ourselves, and running programs for the younger campers. 

In major programs, we were like counselors, or “c’moh madrichim”, which was a great leadership opportunity.  We got to do everything counselors got to do, from writing plays and songs with them, to building sets and gathering costumes.  Although we had curfews for major programs, we didn't want the preparations to end! Then we could hardly wait to see the final product after our hours of hard work.

Our counselors planned many programs just for our age group, which was called Machshira (Machshira refers to the concept of “preparing” to be counselors), as well. Whether it was writing our own play or leading the camp through competitions of sports, spirit, and song, we loved every minute of it. Working and just hanging out together created friendships that will last forever.

Shabbat is a very special time during camp. There is a delicious meal served for dinner, which is then worked off by the classic Friday night program. This program is called “Rikuday Am” and it is a favourite of ours. All of camp is involved in this festival of stomping and dancing to Hebrew songs. You’re lucky if you still have your voice at the end of the night! The  weekend ends on Saturday night with “rikud zar” a dance with modern day music, and with some classics.

Near the end of each session, camp has its biggest program, which also happens to be our favourite, Maccabia! Maccabia is a competition that shows what Massad is all about over two crazy days. We enjoyed Maccabia because we were treated like staff and were able to learn what staff do for this major program. We also were able to help them. They always appreciated and welcomed our input and ideas.

We assisted them to write the “hatzagah” (the play), the songs, and to plan the arucha (the themed meal)….of course extending our curfew  as much as we could. During this summer’s Maccabia song competition, the final song of the night was a tribute to Gilad Shalit created by one of the teams (called Meelchama -  War). This tribute song was sung loudly and proudly and you could hear the emotion coming from the voices of the campers and counselors. This song demonstrates Massad’s connection to Israel and Judaism.  This is what makes Camp Massad special. We are encouraged to speak Hebrew, connect with our Jewish identity and participate in programs run by Israeli counselors.

For our age group, this was by far our favourite year at camp because we discovered our talents and got to show everyone what we were capable of.  There is a certain magic at Camp Massad that is discovered by seeing the first drop (backdrop), the first play, and singing the first song. 

We know that these aspects of what we do at Massad cannot be found anywhere else, and easily makes it feel like our second home.

We are always counting down to the next summer at camp, starting the day we get home.  Camp Massad will always be in our hearts.

Heydad Massad!

Camp Massad is a Hebrew immersion overnight summer camp for children 8-16, located in Winnipeg Beach, Manitoba.

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