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In what has become a tradition, over 100 children from ALEH Jerusalem enjoyed a fantastic summer camp experience organized and carried out by some 85 teenage volunteers from Neve Daniel (a community outside of Jerusalem).
The volunteers themselves raised the money to hold the 4-day camp experience, and took care of all the logistics. This was the fourth time that this camp has taken place, and the volunteers and children already know one another and are very excited to spend the week together.
The purpose of the camp was to give the ALEH children four days of pure fun, nothing but fun. It included a trip to a special, accessible gymboree in Ashdod; bowling in Ashkelon; an incredibly fun carnival that the volunteers organized at ALEH Jerusalem that included activities, competitions, performances and COTTON CANDY; a movie in a private movie theater at the Cinema City complex (which was amazing for the kids, who could cheer and laugh out loud all they wanted); and a musical kabbalat Shabbat for all of ALEH Jerusalem’s residents.
For 17 lucky children, the highlight of the camp was a shared Shabbaton, in which they were hosted by the volunteers’ families in Neve Daniel. They enjoyed a family Shabbat dinner, toured the community, attended synagogue, engaged in numerous other activities, and got hug after hug from the local residents.
The camp benefits everyone involved, ALEH children and the volunteers alike. The volunteers work hard to make the camp viable both financially and logistically, giving them a great sense of accomplishment and an opportunity to give of themselves for others. And they love being with the kids. “I’m not sure who has a better time, me or ‘my’ child,” says Yisrael. “So many experiences, and so much satisfaction!” he adds.
“It’s absolutely amazing to see our teenagers cooperating so well and working so closely for such a worthy cause,” says Maya, the mother of one of the volunteers. “They work for weeks on end for this camp. Seeing the light on the faces of the ALEH children and our teens justifies all the hard work. The parents and community members are all very proud. This Shabbat has given us all a lot to think about, and puts things into proportion in our lives.”