The sun has been shining, the air warm, and the trees have been green for a few weeks, but as of last night it truly began to feel like summer. You may wonder what was so special about last night that helped me transition from the before camp mentality to the in-camp mentality, and the answer is simple: Our 2017 Summer Shlichim (well, shlichot) have arrived!! Shlichim is the Hebrew word for Emissaries, and the Jewish Agency for Israel has a special program for young Israeli men and women to work in Jewish Summer Camps across North America. Summer shlichim are usually in the middle of or having just finished their army service, and a summer working at camp just adds to their life experience.
Some of my fondest camp memories include moments shared with the shlichim at camp. It was from these individuals that I began to explore the Hebrew language outside of the siddur, learned about Israel from a first-hand perspective, and gained an appreciation for and love of falafel, hummus, and bamba (a peanut butter puff snack that we will definitely not be serving at camp. Camp in the ’90’s was a different place…) As I grew into a staff member at camp, the summer shlichim became my co-workers and friends, and I still have very close relationships with many of them today.
We are so excited to be one of the participating in the Summer Shlichim program this summer! Gabi Valdman and Adi Attias are in Ann Arbor with us for the whole summer, all the way from Israel. They will be Senior Counselors at camp, and will be doing some extra special programming to help bring a flavor of Israel to Camp Raanana. There is such a tremendous value in having Israeli staff members at camp, and I am confident that having Gabi and Adi working with us this summer will only enhance the quality of the experience our campers and staff will have at Raanana. Both girls are thrilled to be here, and have the following to say:
Adi: Hi guys! My name is Adi and I’m 22 years old from Jerusalem, Israel. When I was in the Army I worked in Intelligence and Security Clearance. I finished the Army a year and a half ago, and have been working since for the Ministry of Finance. I am super excited to be a part of Camp Raanana this summer. I can’t wait to be outside all day, have a new experience, and spend lots of time with kids – I love being around kids! We just landed yesterday and got a very nice,warm welcome to Ann Arbor. I can’t wait to meet you all. See you in less than two weeks!
Gabi: Hi everyone, my name is Gabriela Valdman. I’m 20 years old. I live in Israel and I serve in the Israeli Defense Force.I was born and raised in Bat Yam, Israel. Adi and I landed yesterday here and we had a wonderful welcoming. It’s the first time I’m going to be a camp counselor, and I can’t wait. I am a professional dancer (I’ve been dancing for 12 years), I’ve worked as an acrobatics coach assistant for 3 years.I am so excited about joining Camp Raanana for this summer. See you soon!
With Gabi and Adi on our team, I am confident that this summer will be the BEST ONE YET!