A unique summer camp welcomed Jewish teenagers from all over Ukraine in the hot days of August. Set up in the picturesque Karpaty mountain region, the EnerJew Gan Israel camp provided over 200 teenagers with a “Jewish experience of a lifetime”, giving them a charge of energy, fun, and inspiration to take back home for the upcoming school year.
Most of those who participated said they will now include a lot more “EnerJew” in their lives, trying to foster personal development, learning and getting involved.
When asked about what made the EnerJew camp so unforgettable participants named many things, but all agree that the true impact came from meticulously developed programming, highly professional and enthusiastic staff and the special atmosphere of “new generation” leadership and initiative that all EnerJew events share.
“This was a Jewish camp like no other,” wrote 14-year-old Misha on his Instagram after the camp. Misha is from Kherson, a city in Southern Ukraine that does not yet have a local EnerJew club. “It was just on a different level. I feel like I have no fears with this huge strong family now!”
Behind the scenes, in order for the camp to become such a blast, EnerJew’s staff began working on it a while back, in May. “There were several preparation stages. We had the original launch-off seminar where we brainstormed the program, and then we continued to have Skype conferences and worked in teams all the way leading up to the camp’s opening,” said Vitaly Tikhiy, head of EnerJew events’ center.
The boys and the girls’ sessions each had a different general theme, while every day also had a sub-topic that connected the daily activities.
“Each day was planned to the minute, which really contributed to its success. We -the staff- tried to do everything to the maximum,” reflects Artem Krais, an EnerJew Coordinator from Chernovtsy, who worked with the elder boys’ group. “I was lucky to work as a counselor here and I was moved to tears by the awesome feedbacks from the participants at the end of camp.”
Each day at camp was themed on a famous personality from the Jewish tradition, around which the activities were organized. “There was a lot of focus on personal development, be it in creative arts and crafts, social activities or games and quests. Even our day trips (there were two per each session) were unlike typical excursions. They were interactive, with specific tasks for every trip,” said Mr. Tikhiy about programming goals.
Konstantin Shulman, EnerJew director, concludes: “At the end of the day I think all of our campers returned home feeling empowered, with a lot of inspiration to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others in the upcoming year. And they all hope to return next summer.”