Now that we have welcomed all of our second session campers to AHA, we take a moment to remember that our camp family comes from near and far. Having a diverse community can teach us a lot about life and help us appreciate the things we have. Camper Ethan Arias, with the help of his sister Sophia Arias, tell us what they – as Americans – have learned by having Israeli staff members.
There are many great things about having international staff at camp. At a Jewish camp, having some of these staff members be from Israel provides an entire additional dimension to this. Having shlichim (Israeli counselors) has enriched my camp experience in a variety of ways.
The shlichim give me a stronger sense of connection to Israel. I think it’s cool that the Israeli counselors come to America specifically to hangout and take care of a group of kids that they’ve never met. It shows that they want to see how we do things as well as teach us how they do. Having them in the dorm and around camp allows me to ask questions about Israel and receive answers from someone with firsthand knowledge.
While the media gives only one side of things often times, and all I seem to hear about Israel is war, I like to ask the counselors what their life is like in Israel. Contrary to what I’ve previously thought, they always say that the sense of community and the connection between everybody, regardless of religion or race, is amazing. After hearing about what their lives are like, I like that at 6 Points, I am able to experience it for myself in small ways. My favorite thing about having the Israelis as our guests for the summer is getting to work with them in sports majors. For example, Oryan is in the swimming major with me and we work with her one-on-one to see how she trains back home.
The most important thing about the Israeli counselors coming here is that they bring a significant wealth of knowledge that we can all learn so many new things from. Whether it’s about sports, life in Israel, or the Israeli army, they have so much to share with us. With every new Israeli counselor that I meet and talk to, I want to visit their home more and more, in order to continue my own learning and gain firsthand experience myself.
I’m so lucky to have had opportunities at 6 Points to learn from and get to know so many Israelis. They have enriched my life, made me want to travel, given me new perspective, and taught me all sorts of new things. The bond that the Jewish people have is unbreakable no matter if we are from North Carolina or from Israel. We may live an ocean away, but the connection that the Jews share is unlike any other.