Camp Gilgal Family

Once a part of the Camp Gilgal family, always a part of the Camp Gilgal family.

Category: Teen Camp West

Called to Serve (Mark 10:45)

20 Years to Glory

Benjamin W.
Age 15

From the first year playing freeze tag at a small camp in Tuolumne county, to playing Capture the Degel at teen camp, to four-wheeling with adventure camp while traveling up the California Coast. From no one knowing one another to being a family. From a local beginning to becoming an international event. Camp Gilgal has been happening for 20 years, and it is just the beginning.

Everything started in early summer, 1991, when 13 campers attended the first Camp Gilgal at Silver Spur in Tuolumne, California. A year later they first entered Columbia’s Glorious Fourth of July Parade. Throughout the years, many other things have happened, like the start of new camps: teen camp, adventure camp, and WWW (Wonderful Winter Weekend). They have also included new games like Capture the Degel and Mission Impossible.

But this camp is way more than games and a way to get away from it all. It is a place to connect with other believers, make new friends, and learn more about God and life. Camp Gilgal has impacted many campers positively in the name of Yeshua!

Camp is important. We all know “Once part of the Camp Gilgal family, always part of the Camp Gilgal family!” This is why we are all more than just friends…We are Family! Many of us were dramatically affected by camp; no one ever truly regrets their experience here. Lives are changed here, we learn about God love here, we learn to love others, and how God can affect your own life.

This article, being very vague, is a very basic statement of what has happened the past 20 years of camp. It has helped many young believers in Yeshua.


Katie S.
Age 13

Every morning after a fierce time of cabin cleaning, campers grab their Bibles and sit by cabin in the meeting hall for Tabernacle. Often it begins with practicing this year’s memory verses, which were Philippians 2:5-11. This is followed by singing several songs of worship. After the Sh’ma, we read from the Bible. This year we went through the book of Mark. Moose gives a very interactive message about our theme, “Called to Serve.” Together, we learn about Y’shua’s love for us and how we can serve Him.

Once, when we were in Yosemite, Moose had Tabernacle outdoors by the Merced River. It felt great to be out in nature while we talked about God. Moose used the river to illustrate his message.

Whether in the meeting hall or at Yosemite, Tabernacle at Camp Gilgal teen camp is very memorable for everyone.

Memory Verse

Rachel A.
Age 13

It’s amazing how easily we forget everything Jesus has done for us. But this year, God wouldn’t let me get away with it. Being the first person to memorize Philippians 2:5-11, this year’s theme verse, I was soon nominated to be one of two verse judges. That means that after campers and staff members had learned the six verses, they would say them to me for approval, and then I would add their names to a list. As a result, I learned quite a few people’s names, had a notebook constantly by my side, eventually broke a pen, and was reminded over and over how much God loves us.

This week, I have been told all day long that Jesus “humbled Himself to death-even death on a cross.” My job was to help people remember that. And without them even knowing, they’ve helped me to never forget.

Cabin Inspection

Austin R.
Age 13

Cabin Inspection, do we hate it or do we love it? It’s suspenseful yet awful. It’s almost impossible to accomplish a perfect score in Cabin Inspection. No matter how much you may try to clean, you will have an infraction. Whether something was disheveled or askew, it’s an infraction either way. Cabin Inspection is one of the most interesting and suspenseful parts of the day!

Cleaning for Cabin Inspection is a long and laborious experience, because, while cleaning, you need to pay attention to everything that IS or COULD BE an infraction. In cabin inspection, everyone needs to work as a team, because, one or two people can’t clean an entire cabin. Working together in this way is very important. 

In general, Cabin Inspection is a challenge that makes us stay clean. It also helps us to work together as one big team. It’s a fun time and everyone helps out to try to be the best cabin!

The Creative Side of Gilgal 

A Poem about the Coffee Cart

By Psalm R.
Age 14

It’s free time and I’m hungry
But the general store is full
There’s a long line for the coffee
But it’s so worth waiting for
They’ve got pretzels, ice cream, soda
And oh so many tasty things
They can make a chocolate milkshake that will give you wings

The sun is getting hotter
And I’m still waiting in line
It is moving really slowly
But we’ve still got some time
There’s other people swimming
Or doing arts and crafts
And thinking on their folly makes me smile; makes me laugh 

I’m almost to the front now
And I’m feeling really fine
I can almost taste the drinks
That they’re blending up inside
Some have things like Oreos
Or Butterfingers (yum!)
But I got one with chocolate and caramel just for fun

Always and Forever (a poem)

Dotti P.
Age 14

God, you’ve watched over me all of my days
Before I knew which path to take
You were there always and forever there

Lord, you knew me before I knew myself
And you saw me before anybody else
You stand by me when I’m on my own
God, because of you, I am found 

At home I feel alone, but with you, God, I feel complete
When I’m sad, Lord, you come and fill me with
Your love, from my nose down to my feet

Your Glory is what draws me near
Your kindness takes away all my fears
Your love takes me from within
You surround me with your greatest blessing

God, you’ve watched over me all of my days
Before I knew which path to take
You are here always and forever here

Golden Pines (a poem)

Moriah J.
Age 16

The pines grow close together
Dark green needle clusters
And scattered trees.
The glowing golden light
Streams through the trees
Streaks of yellow against
Stripes of dark.
Pine needles litter the forest floor
Carpeting it.
Pine cones are scattered across the ground
Not a single pace of ground
Is without one
A spiky seed-filled structure
For decoration.
The light continues to glow
The most brilliant light I have ever seen
Yet soft at the same time
The shafts of light make me
Feel at peace as this poem
Forms in my head,
And fairies pop into my head
I imagine this is an enchanted forest and I cherish the
Drive back from Yosemite

An Ode to the Memory of FOB

Hannah Y.
Age 15

The fading memory of rest
With sore legs, bruises and sanity being scattered to the wind
The words: flat on bunk, is but a phrase uttered, yet never reached
In the time dusted past of junior camp ‘twas a few moments each day
Of pure unadulterated rest
Only interrupted by the whispers of campers, rustle of papers, and crunches of candy
The fading memory of rest
Teen Camp rushed into our lives, in its full fiery blaze
Burning itself into our lives
We are older, yet maturity is to be questioned
Each day of teen camp is chaos contained, threatening to burst
Packed and hectic, coated in surprise and mystery
A collection of injuries awaits us
A few hours of sleep beckoning us
But the tantalizing F.O.B is no longer
A cobwebbed remembrance
Oh, FOB!
Dearest FOB!
Alas! Alas!
The fading memory of rest
Once I was a foolish child of red cheeks and fancies
A buffoon without appreciation
Wrapped up in excitement
Drunk off the energy of camp
I detested FOB, cursed its existence
Dear FOB, gentle being
FOB cared for my welfare
Gifted my little frame with rest
Fight it I did
But I learned to yearn for its embrace
Appreciate its gentle ways
Love the rustle of notes passed and stifled giggles
Oh, FOB!
Why has teen camp forsaken you?
Thrown you to the wolves
Shunned your sweet approach
Teen camp weaned us off rest
Taught us the way of the zombie
But still in the depths of our soul
The ravines of our thoughts
We honor your existence
Miss your silly acronym
Alas, FOB!
Come back to us!
Come back
The fading memory of rest

Capture the Degel: A Midsummer’s Camp

Tirzah W.
Age 15 ½

Deep in an enchanted forest, where near the end of the seventh month, a camp took place, thither gathered a great assortment of Jewish youth with amazing gifts given to them by Adonai. When they all came together they were in such unison that none could defeat them! Yet there times they annoyed one another; a great adventure was a battle of chance, and with the rules established the opposing sides: The Men vs. The Ladies. I, being a fairy princess and weaver of Laurel crowns, who laughs almost to a fault, was very eager for the sound of the peacocks tail feathers being pulled, and so the battle began. With my trusted friends, Hadassah and Brooke, we marched along the  fortress to defend our colors from the Men, whilst our stealthy spy plotted the retrieval of the Men’s colors. As we defended our lines, a strange, beardless dwarf rushed from the surrounding tree line. He carried a torch in his left hand and he ran for the fortress gate. He very likely would have made it, had not the quick Vulcan, Ethel-Moriah
overtaken him and tagged him. He was escorted to the damp dungeons. Over and over people on both sides were taken captive, and as Hadassah’s torch began to expire we heard a crash in the brush. They leaped for the intruders to find Poppy, two hobbits, and an elf prince coming to steal the blue flag. Poppy was nabbed by Hadassah; and the elf prince by me, who brought them to the dungeons. I tried to be a kind escort, and tried hard to cause the  prisoners to laugh. Poppy let no one know that she was deathly ill, and as the guards watched the concern, Poppy coughed harshly. Returning to my post, I sang a song from “Singing in the Rain.” Many from both teams were injured from stumbling over rocks in the dark, a few had walked into trees of brambles, but all of the injuries were healed by the fairy camp mother, Poppins. 

In the Ladies prison, Poppy swooned to death, and many mourned her. Only a few moments later, the peacock sounded; the games end a truce. Poppins appeared with a flash of glitter, looked at the lifeless body of Poppy, and announced “Tuberculosis” as the cause of death. The little boys and known girl, Madge-Tamar, wailed. Being moved by their sorrow, the fairy camp mother used her healing powers and a prayer to Adonai, and that spark of life restored Poppy in time for the Mt. Doom hike. There, with talkative Ethel-Moriah and Edith-Hannah (a tree nymph with fae-blood), I befriended the half elf/half hobbit, grandson of Peregrin Took named Faomire-Daniel. As the entire camp crossed a rope bridge that overshadowed a ravine of gushing lava they prepared for combat, and Ethel and I strongly sang Psalm 23. It encouraged their spirits. 

The next day, the camp was invited to a ball, they all danced deep into the dark hours of the night. A few of the men discovered that they were without a disguise and so they used Matt’s helmet as one. I told my friend, Hadassah and Brooke, what fun it looked like and we joined in on the rousing game. When the campers retired to their cabins, they slept as if they were under enchantment. There were many moments of excitement, but overall camp has been a huge part of my life, and although Capture the Degel and a hike, or even a dance party, are not seen as enchanted to some, to me they most certainly are.

Camp Gilgal West Teen Camp (July 17-23, 2011)

Called to Serve

(Mark 10:45)

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

The “Gilgal Gazette” is published by Camp Gilgal campers for Camp Gilgal campers and their families and friends!



Rachel A., Brooke A., Nolan B., Pomai B., Jacob B., Mitch B., Max D., Daniel E., Andrew F., Kaleb F., Robert G., Brighton G., Angela G., Elizabeth G., Nathan H., Moriah J., Ben L., Matt L., Hadassa M., Noah P., Tamar P., Dotti P., Austin R., Joel R., Psalm R., Katie S., Zachary S., Maggie S., Ellis S., Evan S., Kezziah W., Malachai W., Tirzah W., Grace W., Zachary W., Laura W., Olivia W., Benjamin W., Hannah Y.


Hoops, Poppy, Waffles, Snapple, Simba, Blewish, Nacho, Talon

Out-of-Cabin Staff:

Poppins, Swedey, Streetlight, Music Man, Moose

Our Camp Gilgal Family

Interview of Blewish

Ellis S.
Age 15

I interviewed Blewish who is a first time tribe leader on the West Coast. He used to live in San Clemente, California, which is where I live now. He currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, and is a waiter. He used to be in the reserve for the Marine Corps but got discharged in 2009, which means he no longer needed to serve in the military. His favorite part of camp is hanging out with campers. He says, “I love to work with the campers. It has been the highlight of my summer!” At camp he enjoys many activities, but his favorite activity is hiking. He is a really good tribe leader and has a really fun spirit. He says the thing he looks forward to the most at camp is watching the campers grow in their relationships with Messiah Jesus. During camp, Blewish enjoys playing basketball and getting milkshakes from the amazing snack shack. This hasn’t been Blewish’s first week at camp because on the East Coast he did two weeks of junior camp, then one week of their teen camp. He then flew over to the West Coast to serve here at teen camp. Blewish is very kind to his campers and really has been making teen camp fun. I hope Blewish can come to more West camps in the future. After camp, Blewish is definitely one of the people that I will remember.

Interview of Talon

Daniel E.
Age 13

Talon is an awesome person who loves archery.  He is between 5’8” and 5’9”.  He came up with his camp name because he is a biologist specializing in ornithology or working with birds of prey. His real name is, “That’s an excellent question.” His favorite thing to do is play the bass. He has a brother and a sister. He got involved with Jews for Jesus because his parents were involved. He doesn’t have a girlfriend. He is thinking of becoming a naturalist next year but is still not exactly sure about what he wants to do. He loves birds and is a bird nerd!

Snapple’s Camp Gilgal Story

Laura W.
Age 14

Snapple heard about Camp Gilgal when she was six years old. Her dad works with Jews for Jesus, and when her brother went to camp, she heard about all the fun that he had and wanted to go too! When Snapple turned eight, she started going to camp and has stayed in the Camp Gilgal family for the past twelve years!

Bass Lake is Snapple’s favorite part of teen camp. She likes going jet skiing and getting an espresso shake at Miller’s Landing. Her favorite part of being a tribe leader at teen camp is connecting with the campers, learning about what’s going on in their lives, and seeing them grow in their relationships with Y’shua.

About Hoops

Brooke A.
Age 14

In a faraway place called Uzbekistan, on January 5th, year unknown, baby Hoops was born. When Hoops was eight years old, she moved to America with her parents and little sister. Hoops describes her family as “normal” and her best
childhood memories were climbing mountains with her dad. Hoops came to junior camp when she was ten years old and still remembers the feeling of bewilderment. The first time the staff came running down banging on her car. That
was the start of many camp adventures for Hoops. She returned to camp every year after that. At camp, Hoops had tons of fun, loved being included, and experienced something like nothing else. Even today, Hoops recalls great
memories spent with her staff like Rickshaw.

As a teenager, Hoops loved sports, playing soccer, basketball, track and softball. In high school, Hoops loved academic challenges and enjoyed learning Biology. Hoops was also involved in leadership at her high school. At thirteen, Hoops started coming to teen camp. Her favorite part of teen camp was the giant swing, playing water polo, and loved how her staff connected with her. Another fun part of teen camp was playing Capture the Degel with Sport.

Hoops loved camp so much, she decided to become a tribe leader. Even though she wasn’t sure if she would do a good job, she felt God was calling her to experience it. As everyone who has been at camp knows, she is an amazing and caring tribe leader who is full of love.

Hoops is now in college studying pre-med, and is hoping for an occupation in medicine. But she says that though she is not sure the plan God has for her she knows that He will use the gifts and talents she has to serve Him.

Interview of Poppy

Noah P.
Age 14

Poppy has been a tribe leader at Camp Gilgal Teen Camp for many years now. Poppy has never been a camper, but has been coming to camp as staff for five years. Poppy became a tribe leader because she likes working at camps and Moose needed help. Poppy loves being crazy with the campers and staff. She loves playing Wells Fargo because she likes to chase campers down like a crazy cowboy. Poppy loves jet skiing on Bass Lake because you can go really fast! I really enjoy Poppy as a tribe leader at teen camp.

The Scoop on Simba

Jacob B.
Age 13

Simba came into this world and was created by a wonderful family. He lived in a believing home and was like by many people. Two years later, Simba’s life changed, when his little sister, Madeline, was born. Simba fell into a rage of jealousy, he told me during our interview, that he tortured his sister, when they were young, but as they grew up, Simba came to love her very much!

Simba started camp at age 14. His first camp counselors were Goonie and Sonic. He immediately fell in love with Gilgal. He recalls his most fun year to be at adventure camp 2010, when they went house boating. He also became a tribe leader at junior camp and became good friends with Jacob B….. his mentor…..

But all in all he was a good friend and tribe leader. During this week, he also met up with an old friend and played a concert for all of Gilgal. Now, if this does not prove he’s a good guy, then I don’t know what does! The End.

Interview with Nacho

Andrew F.
Age 14

Nacho is a cool and interesting person, and is very nice! Nacho likes to listen to music and he likes listening to Indie Rock. Nacho has done something Camp Gilgal related every year since he was 9 years old! Nacho’s favorite thing to do at Camp Gilgal is being a tribe leader. Nacho’s favorite thing about being a tribe leader is to grow more knowledgeable about how to live a life centered around Yeshua. Nachos’ first time at camp he had a really good time, but he was a little bit homesick. His favorite memory about camp is jet skiing at Bass Lake and playing Mission Impossible at junior camp. Nacho’s favorite food is sushi, or gourmet nachos. In the future, Nacho wants to travel to exotic places and discover the world’s greatest nachos. He has only been a tribe leader for two years, and this year has been pretty good. Nachos favorite color is purple because it is a royal color.

My first year so far with Nacho has been really great. Nacho has shown me many ways that I can be more patient, kind, and calm. Nacho did a great job leading devotions. He cleared up many misunderstandings and helped a lot of campers with their problems. Overall, Nacho is a great person, and I was glad to have him as my tribe leader. I hope he comes back next year so that I can see him again!

Interview with Moose

Malachai W.
Age 13

Moose is basically awesome! He is the leader of Camp Gilgal and one of the coolest staff at camp, so I thought I would let you know a little bit more about him. Moose said that he was doing very well today, and that if he was any better, he would be twins! He says his favorite part of teen camp is the campers but his favorite part this year was the initiatives and seeing campers work together. In 1990, Moishe Rosen asked him to start a camp. So Moose started camp 20 years ago and has been coming ever since. He couldn’t pick a favorite year, because he says they are all his favorite. He wears his yellow hardhat because it is standard equipment. Moose came to know Jesus when he was 18 and it was the best thing that ever happened to him! I am grateful that I got to interview Moose; I hope this article helps campers to get to know him better. I am so proud to have someone like Moose on leadership here at Camp Gilgal.

The Men of Foxglove

Ben L.
Age 15

This year I was in the cabin of Foxglove. It was filled with the greatest group of guys. Ellis was a super good impersonator and comedian. He was very nice and was also one of our memory verse judges. Kaleb is a really good football player. He is nice and fun to hang out with. Joel is pretty quiet until he gets competitive. He laughed a lot and is also very nice. Brighton is very nice and cool. He liked to work on his hair in the morning. Noah liked to work out and play the box drum. He is very nice. Nathan is a very good diver and is really nice. Mitch is a very good, loyal friend and is very nice. Zachary is very smart and a very good friend. Nolan brought a huge remote control car that needed to have its battery charged. Ben W. is great and we had a lot of fun joking around since we have the same name.

Then we had two tribe leaders. Blewish is very funny and super nice. He is from New York. Simba is nice and a really good guitar player. We had great devotionals this year and enjoyed awesome cabin time. I loved being a part of our cabin.

The Gilgal Family

Pomai B.
Age 15

Gilgal is about family. That’s the reason why I come. My Gilgal family supports me and always makes me feel welcome. Gilgal is more than just having fun, it’s all about building our faith in God, and having friends you can love and trust. There’s nothing that could break this family apart because we are as close as birds in a flock. My friends here are here for me, the tribe leaders especially. When you feel down and done, they cheer you up and make you feel right at home. You’ll never feel homesick because it’s so fun here. You’ll be sad when you have to go, but you shouldn’t be sad because you can keep in touch! Get a Facebook because it’s easier than calling. But there’s always next year to be with your buddies. So always remember you have a family here, and you can be yourself to get friends here.

Life in the Lupine Cabin

Maggie S.
Age 15 

The humble little cabin of Lupine is where we girls have been staying. We now call ourselves the Blue Bonnets after Hannah informed us of the alternate name for Lupine flowers. Our cabin leaders are Hoops and Poppy and our cabin members are Angela, Tamar, Moriah, Maggie, Grace, Hannah, Tirzah, Pomai, and Hadassa. 

The Blue Bonnets are some crazy friends. Tamar and Moriah kept us up all night after Yosemite, keeping us laughing hysterically with jokes and funny quotes. Tirzah and her obsession with Doctor Who, the British, and everything Darcy brightens the mood in the cabin.

Many members of the Lupine cabin have a love of poetry and reading. Some even wrote poems for the Gazette. We are always chatting about our favorite poets, authors, and books.  Tirzah always brings up her favorite poets and tells us about them.

Hoops showed us how to make friendship bracelets with hemp string. It was a really confusing process of tying knots. The colors of string we could choose from included a lavender, a rosy pink, a light green and a golden yellow. Hadassa, Tirzah and Hannah’s all turned out amazing.

We had quite a bit of trouble with the daily cabin inspections. It honestly felt that the more we tried the more infractions we received. We swept and scoured the entire cabin yet Moose always managed to find at least one thing wrong with our cabin. There was the same feather and silver wrapper two days in a row because we could not find it no matter how hard we tried! What surprised us all is when Tamar started cleaning. She even made Moriah’s bed for her. We were still able to maintain an average of 85 cabin points. 

The worst part of our cabin was the amount of spiders that found their way into our cabin. We found a giant one within the first ten minutes of settling into our cabin. We found so many more, small and large, throughout the rest of the trip. Life in the Lupine cabin has been quite interesting. It’s too bad we can’t stay here for the rest of the summer.

My Cabin Family

Hadassah M.
Age 15

This year, I have awesome Cabin members. Everyone has been so nice and fun that I decided to write about them.

Tirzah and Hannah are our Cabin fairies, and they spend most of free time making lovely flower crowns. They are also excellent writers. Something I really appreciate about them both is that they are always encouraging everyone in our cabin and praying for us. It also has been very fun to hang out and play with them. 

We also have Grace and Maggie, both of whom are first time teen campers. It’s been great to get to know them. Both of them have really sweet personalities, and have been really helpful, especially with cleaning our cabin. Maggie is an amazing artist, and Grace is great at Ninja! It’s been fun to be in their cabin.

Tamar and Moriah are really crazy….especially Tamar. They are also very kind and fun to hang out with. Moriah is a great gymnast, and Tamar is always making us laugh. I really enjoy being around them.

Pomai and Angela are amazing. Angela is a good basketball player and Pomai is probably the most perseverant person I know. They have been great examples to me.

Poppy and Hoops are really awesome tribe leaders! They are encouraging and very fun at the same time. I enjoyed doing initiatives because it helped me draw closer to my cabin family!

Adventures and Games!


Evan S.
Age 13

Boats are a fun thing to do and are only usable during free time. When I was using the boats, Snapple, Ellis and myself were in a paddle boat together in the pond, and we were playing tag with the boats against Kaleb, Robert, Hoops and Jacob, who were also in a paddle boat.

As we were playing tag, Kaleb’s boat was “it” and we were paddling as fast as we could, but they were too fast for me and my team so they caught up to us, and we were “it.” So we tried to get them and it got intense with the pedaling on our boat and theirs.

Then we caught back up to them and they were “it” but we had to leave the boats because free time was over. Overall, we had a great time.

If I was going to recommend a fun and enjoyable free time, I would tell new campers to go to the boats with eight friends and play tag in the paddle boats, because it is a very enjoyable activity.

Free Time

Olivia W.
Age 14

Ever need a little time to walk around, buy some candy and hang with friends? Free time is the best place to do it. After lunch you have the pool to yourself until three and you can go to the coffee shop, which has delicious milkshakes, frappuccinos, and even pretzels, and the general store which sells everything from candy to toothpaste. It’s small but has a lot to offer. Another activity is spending time at the lake. You can enjoy the scenery or choose to go kayaking or paddle boating. Both are extremely fun and safe. Free time is a chance to wind down, hang with friends or just enjoy God’s wonderful views. It’s a great time to connect with God, make new friends and enjoy some complimentary snacks. Free time is my favorite time of the day.

Team Initiatives

Joel R.
Age 14

Each cabin participated in Team Initiatives. Two of the initiatives were the spider web and the knot. In the spider web challenge, each cabin had to get their entire group through the ropes that were tied together (a.k.a the spider web), without touching the ropes too much. If the ropes were touched too much, it would ring a bell which would wake up the (imaginary) venomous spider! There were some big holes that each group could only use once, and every other hole twice. Some groups were extremely successful and others struggled. The main factor through this challenge was trust. If there was no trust, your group would not succeed.

The other team initiative was the knot. Everybody held onto a rope with their right and left hands to form a circle. Everybody tangled themselves in a human knot. We weren’t allowed to speak to each other but we were still pretty successful. Then, still connected, we had to turn around so that our backs were facing the circle. Again, we were successful. Then we stood on a log in a random order. We then had to rearrange ourselves from shortest to tallest while all staying on the log. It took us several tries, but we were eventually successful. The team initiatives really showed our cabin where we were strong and where we were vulnerable.


Kezziah W.
Age 14

This year, Blewish and Hoops shared their testimonies at one our campfires. I think it is awesome how our tribe leaders are willing to share their past and experiences with us, and how much encouragement they give us for our future. The other thing I love doing at campfire is worship. During worship I feel like God is right there supporting and loving even if there are problems at home. I love the songs that we sing; Psalm 23 is one of my favorites. This year we split into cabin prayer groups. It’s awesome to be able to support each other in prayer. This year I stepped out of my comfort zone and opened up to my cabin. Last year it was really hard for me to speak my mind and open up. This year it was awesome to be able to speak and have conversations with people about things I
am going through. 

This is why I love campfires. I love the feeling that I am not alone, unloved, or unwanted. I have a big family I belong to who will accept me.

Capture the Degel

Kaleb F.
Age 14

Game one of the amazing game Capture the Degel started off with a bang. The male campers and ladies staff ran up past the lake and found the perfect spot for the degel and jail circles. The male campers made the first move and got the degel in thirty minutes. I personally played defense. We later found out that the opposing team’s strategy was having no defense.

Game two was way longer than the first game. The defense on both teams was very strong. I caught Moose twice. No one was making a good move on offense and it was getting down to the nitty gritty. Male campers were looking for Simba and Blewish. Then all of a sudden there was jailbreak after jailbreak. The game was getting close, then Moose got into the degel circle! He was in there completely surrounded until the game was called a stalemate at 10:30 pm.

At the end, the male campers won the first one and there was a stalemate in the second game. It was the best Capture the Degel ever.

Yosemite-Vernal Fall Hike

Elizabeth G.
Age 15

This year for our hike in Yosemite, we hiked halfway up Vernal Fall. It was a very strenuous hike for some. At one point I thought I wouldn’t be able to make it up to a certain part of the hike, but I did! I was able to make it up after a long time, some hard work, and a bunch of stops. I think I was able to make it to our destination because of all the encouragement I received from my fellow campers and staff. Another encouraging part of the hike was the response people had to our camp shirts. I heard some people say that they didn’t know Jews for Jesus was still around. Others were reading the verse that is printed on the back of our shirts (Joshua 1:9), and said it was encouraging to them. These were some aspects of our trip to Yosemite.

Rock Wall

Robert G.
Age 13

The rock wall was very fun. For some people it was easy, for others it was hard. I did the two hardest courses. There were people that were belaying you on the ropes to make sure you were safe. You had to strap a very tight harness to your legs. Matt did two of the courses with a blindfold on so that he could not see. Streetlight was the person that was belaying me and when she was letting me down she stopped me inches from the ground, and laughed! She was being really funny. The rock wall was huge! There were six different courses. There was a practice course on the side so people could test out their strength. Most people started at course one and tried to complete more difficult ones after. The other staff that belayed us said that the sixth course was the hardest, I decided to try that course and I completed it! The rocks on the sixth course were very far apart and had no grips. I really enjoyed the rock wall and hope that they will have it again next year.

Zip Line

Angela G.
Age 15

This year at teen camp we got to go on a zip line! It was pretty relaxed compared to most. It wasn’t too high off the ground so it was not too scary. I enjoyed it because it was a nice, chill ride and sort of relaxing. The scenery was very fresh and had lots of pine trees. The wind blows in your hair as you go down a small slope. The slope goes through a meadow filled with pretty lavender-colored flowers and other greenery. The staff that helped us was very nice and encouraging. They never let you give up. I think everyone liked it because of how relaxing it was. Next year I hope that some of the other campers will be able to enjoy the beauty and relaxation of the zip line. I know that they will enjoy it as much as I did!

Night Hike

Grace W.
Age 15

As a welcome to Camp Gilgal, the whole camp went on a small hike the first night. I thought it was a really great opening for the week. Because it was my first time at camp, I especially enjoyed meeting new people during the hike. Everyone formed a line to walk out to the appointed place. The path was dusty and at some points we had to walk single file because the trail became so narrow. Most people grouped up and used flashlights to light the way.

After about fifteen minutes we all reached a dark meadow opening surrounded by manzanita trees and other foliage. The campers and most of the tribe leaders lay down on the grass beside each other. Each flashlight was turned off in order to get a better view of the sky. The stars were amazingly clear and easy to see, with no artificial light interfering. At first, many of the campers were loud but after a bit, everyone quieted down and listened to what the leaders were saying. Songs were sung and prayers were said. Streetlight read through the first three chapters of Mark. It was so nice and quiet and it was perfect listening time. We spent a few minutes in silence staring up at the stars and appreciating God’s creation. I especially enjoyed this trip because I was able to study nature in a whole new way with a group of fellow believers. It was an excellent way to begin camp since it gave an opportunity to make new friends while showing that camp had a special emphasis on the Bible.


Matthew L.
Age 13

At Teen Camp 2011 we did something we had never done before. We had team building initiatives that were very fun. I am writing about two of the four courses that were my favorite. The first course was pretty easy but it had its challenges. The objective was to get all ten campers and both leaders onto a small platform surrounded by dirt which we imagined to be lava. The difficult part was that we had three lives among all of us. If you touch the dirt surrounding the platform, that takes off one life. We thought that it would be really easy, and Robert jumped for the rope and swung onto the platform, then he threw the rope back so we could all get over. One of our cabin mates started having trouble getting over, and before we knew it we had to start over again. We hadn’t been listening to one another or each other’s ideas on how to complete the task assigned to us. Once we all brainstormed on how to help our fellow cabin mate, we were able to finish it. Our second task was a lot more difficult. The task was to flip a small tarp over with everyone standing on it. Once again, we started to just randomly try to flip the tarp. We had a lot of trouble with this task because we weren’t communicating with one another, and because it was naturally a difficult task to complete. Then we all stopped for a little while to think about what to do. Then one of the leaders gave us a hint on how to do it. We tried it and surprisingly it worked! One thing that I learned out of these exercise is that we should all be slow to speak and quick to listen.


Tamar P.
Age 15

After lunch on Wednesday, Moose told us we were going to have a Gilgalstock. We had absolutely no idea what he was talking about! At first, I thought Moose had said we were going to see Gilgal staff, which made no sense at all. Eventually, we found out what Gilgalstock was. It was a guest band made up of Simba and his friend Haley. Simba played the electric guitar while Haley played the drums. They were amazing! Watching Haley play the drums was so much fun because she was awesome. Simba was also amazing. The kind of music they played was very original and energetic. Although difficult to pinpoint, the genre of music was somewhat reminiscent of jazz. It was a great time for people to relax and enjoy the company of one another as well as music from talented musicians! Gilgalstock was an experience that will hopefully be repeated in the future.

The Great Polar Bear Pond

Nolan B.
Age 15

Take a ride on the zipline into the ice cold pond. From the adventurous zipline to the pond that is like swimming in ice! Then we went with Ben who was sitting in the water for at least 10 minutes. We then went to explore more of the zipline!

The most fun way to go into the pond was the zipline. You could even ride it over and across the pond. The wait line for the zipline could take one to six minutes, and once you finally hit the water, the experience was shocking. Once in the pond, you were so cold that you wanted to get out ASAP, and most people did. The only person who didn’t, was Ben. Ben was crazy! He sat in the water for at least 30 minutes, so here is his story:

The instant he made contact with the water, he knew it was really cold, but instead of getting out, like everybody else, he stayed in. Then he waited and waited until he was so cold he couldn’t feel anything. He decided to get out  and go back to the zipline, instead of getting hypothermia.

So all in all, from the zipline to the insane Polar Bear Pond was lots of fun. We watched the riders of the zipline who splashed into pond, then heard Ben’s story!

Bass Lake

Brighton G.
Age 14

I’m driving to Bass Lake, and I realize, I’m so excited, I’m about to throw up. We get there and I run to a nice spot in the sun to tan and eat candy. I rush to go sign up to ride the banana and go jet skiing, and before I know it, I’m flying through water on a giant banana. Riding the banana is the best when you fly off the banana, splash into the water, and get lake specimen in your sinus system! I come back and have a few bites of candy, and almost immediately am hopping on a jet ski with Music Man and Ben W. We are speeding through the water and I am terrified of the oncoming wakes…..before I know it…..I’m flying off and pulling Music Man with me! We get back on and we are doing MAJOR fishtails, while I’m screaming wildly! Eventually, we get off and go back. I decide to get a bucket of ice cream: three different flavors, all in a bucket- 10 dollars! Right after I start eating, I recall my lactose intolerance, but not to worry: I got two flavors of sherbet, which I am informed is dairy free! 

That is my trip to Bass Lake!

Minute to Win It

Nathan H.
Age 14

You’ve seen it on NBC, and now it’s coming to Camp Gilgal! On the Wednesday of Camp 2011, the very first Camp Gilgal Minute to Win It competition occurred in Mountain View Hall. Each of the four cabins competed for an unknown prize. The guys from the Cabin of Foxglove took the lead in the first couple of games, including Face the Cookie (won by Mitch). This game involves placing an Oreo cookie on one’s forehead and using your facial muscles to move the Oreo to your mouth. As the event progressed, the oldest cabin of ladies started to catch up to the men. After a feather blowing game that failed, because the feathers were too heavy, the final game totals were added up. There was a tie for first place between the oldest men and oldest ladies.

Two contestants were called to do a head to head Face the Cookie. After that game resulted in a tie, two more campers were called to swing a slinky that was attached to a headband onto their forehead in a game called Pink Elephant. After a draw, there was then a second round of Face the Cookie; yet another draw. Finally, a game involving bouncing pencils into cups was won by the oldest men! The prize was being first for breakfast the following morning! I hope that Minute to Win It becomes a tradition that future campers will enjoy for years to come!


Mitch B.
Age 15

Every year I have been at teen camp, we have gone and spent the day at Bass Lake. After the day is done, we go to a beach a cook hot dog and hamburgers. This year, however, was different, and instead of the old beach, we went to a different one. After the feast of hamburgers and watermelon, we were fortunate enough to get delicious brownies for desert! Soon after all of the eating was done, people were reciting verses and writing articles for the Gilgal Gazette. When it was getting dark all of our work stopped and we went to the bottom of the beach. Once we got there the tribe leaders read the book of Mark by flashlight. When we finished the final chapter we talked about how we needed to hear this for ourselves, and not just believe what others have said. Then Simba, my cabin’s tribe leader, went up and played his guitar for us, while we talked and prayed with staff. While singing worship songs and praying I saw a shooting star, and to me, it was a sign for me to recommit my life to God. After a fantastic day, God decided to end it for me by showing Himself to me. This is why I love Camp Gilgal.

Wednesday Night Dance Party

Zachary W.
Age 13

On Wednesday, the other camp invited us to a dance party. It was really fun. Everyone just joked around. They had a glowing Frisbee, big conga lines, and it was on a big field with a lot of lights! There was a really big group that had a dance off, and some of the people were very good dancers.

They played a lot of music. They played Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, the YMCA, Beyonce, the Backstreet Boys, and Matisyahu. There were also ice cream sundaes, which was vanilla ice cream and lots of toppings! 

The dance off turned into two big groups. One group just did flips, while the other group did some good dance moves. In one group one of the campers, Evan, said he would turn into a butterfly. He curled up into a ball and sprang up and flapped his arms. Some of the big conga lines split into smaller groups. Then they stopped. When we left they turned off the lights and the stars were amazing!

The Great Sequoia Tree

Zachary S.
Age 14

We were playing in the swimming pool when Moose came into the pool area and announced that we were going on a hike. So we all changed our clothes and shoes at our cabin and got going. We took a hike up and down a trail, sometimes conversing on the way up with five friends side by side. Sometimes we trekked up a mountain path single file. There were many gorgeous pine trees and flowers along the way, but that was just the beginning. We finally arrived at the humongous sequoia tree. I had read about them in my text books, but seeing one in real life, was quite a different experience. This single tree was as tall as many redwoods, and it took about 40 of us to encircle the tree. It was the first sequoia tree I had ever seen, and this was the case with many other campers. We took a camp photo there and learned how the cones pop open when going through fire in order to allow the seeds to fall out. We all had lots of fun and saw one of the many wonders God revealed to us this teen camp.

Only At Camp Gilgal

My Camp Experience

Max D.
Age 13

This summer, I decided to go to Jews for Jesus’ Camp Gilgal for the first time! Since I was too old for junior camp, I went straight to teen camp. As I was riding in the van to Oakhurst, which is where the camp is located, I started to wonder what it would be like or how I would fit in. When the van arrived to camp, I was greeted with large shouts, cheers, and banging on the van from fellow campers and staff.

Later that night, we had a campfire. During the campfire one of the tribe leaders, Hoops, gave her testimony. Her testimony really helped me to settle down and know that I was accepted by the camp family no matter who I was. On Monday, we played Capture the Degel. The male campers won the first game! The food is amazing and all homemade by the wonderful staff at Calvin Crest. Fortunately, when we came back late from our trip to Yosemite, they graciously held dinner for us. The cabin staff are wonderful and will try to answer as many of your questions as possible. All of the activities that we do are fun and exciting. During Tabernacle or prayer time, I feel tremendously closer to God. Overall, I have had a great time and will definitely come next year.

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