After a year long respite that lacks the bubble, the Machon program serves as a fundamental transition from camper to counselor. However, as I’ve recently discovered, there is another equally important transition embedded within the Machon summer: moving into the bunks with campers.
First session is the last time that Machon will ever bunk together as a unit. Jam-packed with housekeeping, kitchen, and bunk shadowing rotations, there’s very little time to spend with your unit. We were all unsure of our place on camp to begin with, let alone our places in the upcoming session. We talked about group dynamics and acting as staff members and listening but it wasn’t until we separated into Nitzanim, Bonim, and Chaverim counselors that we saw just how important our original Olim ’13 bond was.
We experienced the same routines first session, but once we split off, our connections were stronger than ever. We listen to each other during our time spent together because we don’t hear each other’s voices all day. We are a strong group because we make up parts of different ones. We are staff members because our co-counselors and campers rely on our presence and energy.
Suddenly having a dozen children look up to you 24/7 comes with its own set of obstacles, but as second session Machon, we quickly realize the resources that are around camp. The faces behind the programs and events that breakout unexpectedly, the people who provide food for the entire camp, the people who make it the pristine oasis that it is for so many; they all coexist in an efficient machine. The Machon program certainly prepared us for noticing that balance, and the importance of each part. We all play integral roles.
And here we are, holding on to the last few days of camp before we send off our campers and pack up our bags and send off ourselves. The nomadic Machon certainly have had a fair share of changes, but one thing has remained the same: our mission. We aim to be strong role models who can provide the same experience to our campers that was given to us by our counselors. We lead with spirit and energy, while also coming back to our friends to strengthen those bonds. Much like any camper, those will be my reasons to return in following summers!
By Katie Gonick, Machon