Camp Time!

June 11, 2013

The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore

When Nir Yakobov, 19, arrives at Capital Camps this summer to teach ropes, hiking and camping, it will be a unique experience for this Ashkelon native. Although Nir attended overnight camp in Israel, it wasn’t the typical American-style camp experience.

“What I saw [in Capital Camp videos] amazed me. It was totally different from what I am used to — to have a summer camp just for kids to have fun,” said Yakobov, a “shinshin” who spent this year educating the community about Israel.

In Israel, overnight camp averages two weeks — not the typical four- and eight-week sessions Americans are used to. The experience also is often different. For Nir, instead of swimming, boating and culture in one secluded setting, he hiked each day throughout the country and learned leadership skills. At night, he and his friends slept under the stars or in a tent they constructed from two bed sheets and a broom.

Israeli overnight camps are part of youth movements — such as Nir’s — or are themed camps in boarding schools or youth villages. Traditional American versions are hard to find.

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