Voices from the field

Letters from Camp: Shared Paths on Shvil Yisrael (The Israel National Trail)

Camp Moshava Alevy and Camp Ramah in California

Every camp is unique, but sometimes great minds think alike! Multiple camps across North America have been creating programming based on the Israel National Trail, or Shvil Yisrael, incorporating themes from the hiker’s paradise into their efforts to acquaint campers with the Land of Israel. At Camp Moshava Alevy, in the mountains east of Los Angeles, the summerlong Israel education theme is Shvil Yisrael, and staff have built many programs around the Trail. For the annual color war, teams used the colors of the Trail’s markers, blue and orange, and represented the North and South of the country. The northern team created a dance that detailed Israel’s assistance to victims of the Syrian civil war, while the southern team created a Negev-themed team shield.

Meanwhile, at Camp Ramah in California, members of the Mishlachat (Israeli delegation) planned a day of activities in which campers made their way through a dizzying number of stations designed as points along the Trail. At the station representing Mt. Carmel, which is covered in evergreen trees, campers made grass-head dolls. At a cooking station, campers delighted in “shoko be’sakit,” chocolate milk served in plastic bags, and a variety of other Israeli children’s favorites. Building on the popularity of the hit TV show “Ninja Israel,” campers competed on an obstacle course that challenged them to use physical prowess and familiarity with Israel.

Some camps are connecting with the Trail in physical ways: from the Northwoods of Wisconsin to the Berkshires and beyond, camps have established their own Shvil Yisrael-themed paths, complete with blue, orange, and white markers and informational posters about sites in Israel.

Each summer, The iCenter, in partnership with the Foundation for Jewish Camp and the Jewish Agency for Israel, collaborates with dozens of Jewish camps across North America, helping their staff members infuse Israel into the magic of the summer season. Whether camps participate in the Israel @ Camp Intensive or another regional program, or receive the educational resources we send each spring, their work helps make Israel an integral part of the camp experience for tens of thousands of young Jews. As members of The iCenter team visit camps across the U.S. and Canada, we share Letters from Camp that highlight some of the innovative and effective ways that camp staff members are helping campers engage with Israel.