Lasting Memories

Probably the hardest thing about coming to camp is knowing that one day, after all the fun has been had, we all eventually have to say goodbye at some point. And that’s no fun at all.

The last week at camp has gotten me thinking about the past nine years I’ve spent at Camp Ben Frankel as both a camper and staff member. Lots of memories were made with my cabin mates, counselors, co-counselors, fellow staff members, campers, and myself. Every single person I’ve interacted with at camp has influenced me in one way or another, and they’ve all contributed to the desire for me to want to come back to camp year after year. A little secret about me: I hated camp my first two years. I started camp the summer before 6th grade and wrote my parents letters constantly telling them how I hated camp and how I wanted to leave and never come back. Yet for some reason, every time I left camp, I immediately wanted to return to my CBF family. Ever since my 7th year at camp, I would tell myself that it would be my last year and that it was time to move on to the next new experience. But of course, I was always driven to return to my summer home. I guess camp has some sort of magical powers that lure you back in year after year. Thank God for those powers.

We always talk about how wonderfully magical camp is, but in all honesty, it isn’t magical at all. We don’t love camp or like our cabin mates out of nowhere. The excitement of counting down the days until the start of the next camp season doesn’t just fall out of the sky and into our brains. Everything we feel about camp exists because of how hard the counselors and campers work at having an amazing summer filled with tons of memories. We create our own fun, our own memories, we act as goofily as we can to make each other laugh and happy. We aren’t afraid to be ourselves at CBF, and I couldn’t think of a better place to continue to make memories at than at Camp Ben Frankel.
“My favorite memory at camp was when we performed our cabin presentations because We performed a play that I wrote a year ago and it was really fun!” – Brianna Snodgrass, The Early Birds, 3rd-4th grade girls.
“Me and my cabin enjoyed raiding the 7th, 8th, and 9th graders. We scared them half to death!” – Leo Weinberger, The Green Grass, 4th-5th grade boys.
“Our cabin decided that one of our favorite memories was a super cool water fight we had! Our cabin split up into two teams (Team Moose and Team Captain) and splashed each other using our water bottles and water balloons. Overall it was just a really fun experience.” – The Golden Rulers, 5th-6th grade girls.
“My counselors told me to write down my favorite memory from the camp season, but I couldn’t do it. They were all just so utterly amazing thanks to my counselors and cabin mates! But if I had to choose one, it would be spending so much time with my friends in my cabin who live in different states and countries. We played Risk, went to Castle Park, and had a great time bonding with each other.” Adli Jacobs, The Rich Boys, 6th grade boys.
“On Angry Puppy we did a cuddle puddle and we stayed up all night and talked together. It was so fun!” – The Fly Catchers, 7th grade girls.
“My favorite camp memory was being able to go on Angry Puppy for the first time. It was really fun hanging out with everyone all night.” – Yoav Galer, The Three Things, 7th grade boys.
“On one of the first few days of camp, our cabin did some bonding activities by asking questions like ‘What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?’ to playing a more special heartwarming game where our counselors would say a statement with our eyes closed, and the cabin mates tapped who they thought best fit the statement. Both activities helped our cabin bond and get closer. From there we we had paint fights, spa nights, tie dyed, and baked egg-free cookie dough. Though we’ve had our ups and downs, our cabin managed to grow and stick together. It has been an amazing journey for our cabin and we hope that all of us will come back next year so we can spend another summer together.” – The Honorable, 8th-9th grade girls.
“This year at camp, I read Torah on shabbat several times. It was an amazing learning experience that I could have only enjoyed at Camp Ben Frankel.” – Sam R., The Strong, 8th-9th grade boys.
We really never can say goodbye to our beloved Camp Ben Frankel because the memories of being there stay in our hearts forever. All we can do for now is thank God for another wonderful camp season, and reminisce about the memories we made this summer. 11 months to go… let the count down begin!
-Tadpole, Media Specialist

Personal Growth and Learning New Skills

One of the main reasons I’ve continuously come back to camp year after year is because of how much I learn at camp every year. I truly believe that I would not be the person I am today without going to camp to grow and learn new skills that I can use in my everyday life. Personal growth is one of the most important values to all of us at Camp Ben Frankel, and we know that there’s something each of us can grow from, learn from, and improve on every single day.

The past few days have been spent learning new valuable skills during our Choose Your Own Adventure day Sunday program, and during our Skills Night evening program. Choose Your Own Adventure day was a huge success because the campers were given the freedom to decide how they wanted to learn and what they wanted to learn about. They were all so happy and excited for the day! The theme of the day was “Spies”, and the morning activities focused on training the body, hands, and mind. For the first activities of the day, the campers could choose to go to either dance, ultimate frisbee, yoga, and capture the flag. My favorite part about these activities is that they allowed the campers to get their energy out and relieve their stress through various forms of exercise. The second set of activities consisted of learning how to create friendship bracelets, how to build a model military tank out of cardboard, and how to make pita bread with our Israeli scouts. Lastly, the third set of activities focused on training the mind by teaching the campers how to play new board games, and by playing a trivia game about Israel. I sat in on the Israeli trivia game and even I learned a bunch of new information that I had never learned before.

Throughout the day, campers kept learning more and more skills that they most likely never would have learned if they hadn’t been here at camp. The same goes for our Skills Night evening program where campers learned how to tie a tie, fold American and Israeli flags, sing songs in Hebrew, perform acts of self defense, and even how to change a tire. It’s so amazing that we’re able to teach these new skills and see the campers perform them so well.
We are constantly growing and learning more about ourselves and our capabilities every single day. There will always be something we can each improve on, and we will never quit working at becoming better versions of the person we were yesterday.
-Tadpole; Media Specialist

Activities and Bonding with Buddies

Camp Ben Frankel has been jam packed with fun activities, games, programs, and cabin bonding – and it’s not even the end of the first week yet!

This week’s activities included horseback riding, sports, music, boating, archery, and acting, and I was able to snap some amazing photos of the campers in some of the activities.

“One thing I liked about the first week of camp was my activity, sports. I played soccer, ultimate frisbee, ultimate football, and kickball with Moose, Button, and my friends. It was so much fun!” – Hannah Snodgrass, 5th-6th grade girls.
Along with all the fun activities, each cabin has been doing a ton of fun bonding activities to get to know each other and promote cabin unity. This past Monday we sent our beloved CITs on their Maddog camping trip where they learned to work together as a team, cook for themselves, portage canoes, and create lasting memories and inside jokes. Thankfully they returned to us safely this morning ready to take on their CIT year together.
The 8th-9th grade girls have also created a bonding experience this week to share with the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade girls. Each of the older girls was paired up with one or two younger girls to be their “buddy”. They ate dinner together, crafted, played games, and were able to connect with each other to become friends regardless of their age differences.
“I really liked the buddy activity. Ainsley and I got paired up with Ansley from the 8th and 9th grade girls cabin. She is really nice and we had so much fun making signs together and playing games.” – Ayden Simckes, 5th-6th grade girls.
“I learned a lot from my buddy yesterday. It was especially rewarding because my buddy was one of the littlest girls and needed almost constant supervision. It made me feel like a real counselor, and it was cool to be in charge of another human. You can’t only think of your own needs – sometimes others come first.” – Ella Seigel, 8th-9th grade girls.
There are many more memories to be made this camp season, so stay tuned for more updates in our weekly blog posts!
-Tadpole, Media Specialist

First Day

     Wow, we can’t believe the first day of camp is already over! It’s been such a fun-filled day that time just flew right on by.
     In all my years at CBF, yesterday’s move-in day was by far the smoothest one yet. Hugs were exchanged, smiles were shown, and laughs like they never stopped were finally sounded again. As the day went on, the campers new and old settled into their bunks, and got to know their new family for the month. But the best part of the day was definitely the Staff Talent Show where the staff members showed off their talents that we didn’t even know existed! From mind reading to juggling to catching balls with our eyes closed – we’ve got the most talented staff in the land! The staff was so excited to show the campers their skills and have them get to know their camp names in such a unique way.
     The first day was a complete success, and we can’t wait for more amazing days throughout the camp season!
-Tadpole, Media Specialist