At camp, nearly every moment of the day is scripted – for safety; for building community; for ensuring kids have the kind of tried-new-things, no-time-to-be-bored, home-away-from-home experience camp is meant to be. Even “free time” has its boundaries: You can be here, not here; if you haven’t straightened up your bunk or written a letter home or (younger boys, especially) had a shower in two days – now’s your chance, get it done.
But when Shabbat rolls around, the schedule goes out the window and an entire afternoon assumes the amorphous form of endless summer.
A white board in the dining hall fills with possibilities. Some are conventional – your standard basketball, lanyard making, nature hike. Some push the envelope – canoe racing, pyramid making, found object rock band. Still others are truly inspired – magic wand making in the kitchen may be my all-time favorite.
Yet, not everything is up for grabs. At the top of the board reads this seemingly oxymoronic heading:
Choose what you like from the list, but you must choose something. Doing nothing is not an option. Now go forth, on your own (in community), and explore!