In her own words, Noa Abrahams, Mazkira (Chairperson) of Netzer Melbourne, shares highlights and reflections on their week-long Netzer winter camp which welcomed 120 chanichim/ot (participants) ages 3-12 by 20 counselors.
From Tuesday to Sunday we enjoyed the stunning surrounds of Valley Homestead. It was a particularly special visit as many leaders grew up going to this campsite as chanichim/ot but it was our first return in about five years. Nostalgia mixed with the thrill of being back in person alongside first-camp experiences for about 20% of our chanichim/ot made for an atmosphere of joy, excitement and curiosity.
We spent the first four days running peulot (programs) about Reform Zionism, Progressive Judaism, Tikkun Olam and other social issues that are important to our young people. Despite the sub-zero temperatures and pelts of heavy rain, we all kept warm and enjoyed the company of our community.
On Friday we prepared for Shabbat and had a beautiful Wonderland themed Kabbalat Shabbat service. On Shabbat we enjoyed Shacharit and celebrated our soon-to-be Shnatties, Kvutsah Tsuf with an aliyah in our Torah service. Other highlights were an electric-energy Havdallah and our traditional Ugah v’shoko (cake and chocolate milk) for Saturday morning breakfast which was met with relish.
We also had the great opportunity to learn about the country we were on from Jeff from Indigicate, an organization that runs Indigenous education for students in Melbourne.
Here a video wrap-up of our camp:
What others shared:
“Machane Wonderland was the most beautiful thing to have experienced in the past two years!” — Leigh
“Camp is the most vibe enhancing, electrifying environment I have been in and had missed it so much.” — Ben
“I was so excited to have the chance to go on my first-ever youth movement camp, and the experience definitely did not disappoint 🥰 It was an amazing time with amazing people – awesome vibes, incredible ruach, new friends and so much fun – the only downside being that it made me wish so much that I had grown up in Netzer!!” — Cassie, Netzer camp mental health medic