Camp Gilgal Family

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Category: Teen Camp West

Lord, Help My Unbelief (Hebrews 11:1)

Camp Gilgal West Teen Camp (July 12-18, 2015)

Lord, Help My Unbelief





“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”  Hebrews 11:1






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


Campers:Main page2-1

Corey W., Daniel C., Daniel P., David S., Dinah N., Elijah Y., Elizabeth E., Elizabeth N., Elliot K., Emmalee S., Haneen R., Isabella B., Isaac H., Jaden W., Josiah C., Laney P., LaTanya H., Logan G., Madison H., Michael K., Monique L., Mekerah P., Rain M., Reuven R., Samantha S., Sarai M., Shannon O., Taliah S., Zemeira W., Zion M.


In-Cabin Staff:

Acorn, Elrond, Packer, Rocko, Sauté, Superduck, Whimzy, Zamboni


Out-of-Cabin Staff:

Pi, Snapple, Sonic, Streetlight, Moose

Yosemite alternate3-1

Camp Gilgal Family


Saute1Elizabeth E., Age 13

This is my first year meeting Sauté of teen camp. Sauté has been a tribe leader for teen camp for four years! She was a camper for adventure camp when she was 16 years old. Her older brother, Simba, is a tribe leader also, and her younger brother Michael went to adventure camp at 16 as well.

Sauté’s favorite part of camp is having fun adventures with campers. Her favorite camp song is between “12 Men” and “Once an Austrian.” Sauté loves making campers laugh and likes putting sticks in her hair.

Some fun facts about Sauté is that she is from Fresno, but currently lives in Santa Barbara. Sauté’s first word as a baby was “Mommy.” When she was little she wanted to be a ballet teacher, but now she wants to be an occupational therapist. Sauté got her camp name because she did ballet for 8.5 years and her ballet teacher wanted her to jump with the boys because she was a really good jumper. Sauté means “jump” in French.

Camp helps Sauté’s relationship with the Lord. Her favorite Bible passage is Philippians 4:6-10. Now you know just how wonderful a person Sauté is and I hope one day you have a chance to meet her.

Elrond Interview

Elijah H., Age 12

This year I interviewed Elrond. He has been with Camp Gilgal for eight years. His favorite food is T-bone steak. His favorite color is blue. He lives in Rivendell. His favorite camp game is Wells Fargo. He was named Elrond because his parents knew he would like Lord of the Rings. He wanted to be camp staff this year because Camp Gilgal means a lot to him and he wanted to serve. His favorite subject is literature and his least favorite is chemistry. His favorite Bible verse is Psalm 23:6: “Surely Elrond Interview1goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of Adonai forever.” This is his favorite verse because Psalm 23:6 is the emotional climax. His favorite part of camp is the camp community and developing long-term relationships while still meeting new people. His favorite grade in school was fourth grade because it was before life got complicated.  He would like to say to everyone, “L’Chaim!”

Acorn Interview

Haneen R., Age 14

Acorn1Acorn is a super sweet, encouraging and awesome staff member, so I decided to write my Gazette piece on an interview with her. In the interview, she told me that her most embarrassing camp memory was two years ago at teen camp. Everyone went to Polar Bear Pond and when she was about to swing across, her foot caught on a rock and she tripped and fell flat on her face into the ice cold water. Not only that, it was also all recorded. Her favorite year of camp was when she and her whole family were on staff together at junior camp. The best day so far of Acorn’s life was the day she became an auntie when Bazooka had Simeon. Her favorite part of being a camper is doing theme nights and worship. While being a tribe leader, Acorn most enjoyed watching campers grow up in age and faith. Her favorite year of high school was senior year because she had a lot of fun leading her volleyball team to a championship. I loved spending time with Acorn and interviewing her!


Logan G., Age 15

For my paper I decided to interview Superduck. This year, I was in the same cabin with him. I have a good time teasing him and just talking with him. Superduck was in wrestling since eighth grade. During the interview I asked him for his name, date of birth and social security number. For some unknown reason he wouldn’t tell me. He did tell me that his favorite thing to eat is sushi and his favorite snack is Sour Patch Kids.Superduck2-1

His favorite pet was a dog named Missy, but currently has none, and he said that his favorite animal is a wolf. He is currently going to San Francisco University. He said that his favorite part of camp is hanging out and playing with the campers and being able to talk to them.

Superduck’s favorite color is green. He loves wrestling and a sport called spikeball. Snapple says that his favorite ice cream is mint chip. The reason I asked Snapple is because Superduck left me cause I just pulled a sick prank on him. Overall, Superduck is awesome and one of my favorite camp staff and I think everyone should get to know him.


Zemeira W., Age 13

In my opinion Streetlight is pretty awesome. She has been going to camp for nine years. When growing up she wasn’t a Camp Gilgal camper, but went to another Messianic camp.

Streetlight 2-1When asking her what her favorite camp was she told me three different answers. “I like junior camp because of all the theme nights and games. I like teen camp cause I get to watch campers grow up, and I like adventure camp because I get to be like one of the campers.”

As you probably already know, Moose will not be the leader of camp anymore, sadly. So, Streetlight is taking over. She told me that she felt excited and scared, but that she knows God is going to be with her always. Her favorite Yiddish word is “shmaltz” and an ideal meal is fresh fruit with bread, cheese and sliced turkey. She thinks of the staff as her children and loves them all. Streetlight’s favorite Bible verse is 2 Corinthians 12:9.

Final on Pi

Corey W., Age 13

This is Pi’s third year at Camp Gilgal. He came to camp this year to spend time with campers and to have fun. Pi lives in Orange County. His favorite color is deep ocean blue. His least favorite school subject is English. His favorite animal is a lobster. Also, his favorite food is Mexican. His favorite activity is the climbing wall. During camp, Pi is an out-of-cabin staff member. Pi is a very funny person, and he is also really nice Pi1and friendly. At Bass Lake, he drove the ski boat that pulled the banana all day. It was hard work but I think he had fun anyway. Pi is a great guy to hang out with. Also, Pi likes to be helpful to campers and staff. During Capture the Degel, he played offense on the winning team. Pi’s favorite memory verse is Philippians 4:13. This is Pi’s favorite memory verse because Yeshua helps us to be strong. Pi is related to Esquire, Poppins, Ewok and Heimlich, but no one knows how they are related. Pi is a math teacher outside of camp. He also likes math and every form of pi. You can write pi three different ways: TT, Pi, and Pie. One of Pi’s hobbies is trying all different kinds of pie, his favorite of which is haupia pie, which is a chocolate coconut milk pi with Oreo crust. He especially likes eating pies with all his friends and campers if they’re around.

Whimsical Whimzy

Whimzy1Laney P., Age 13

This is Gilgal News and the report today is about the one and only Whimzy. First question is what is your favorite camp story? My favorite camp story was about Camp Decorating Day when I was nine. We decorated our cabin like Disneyland. I loved it!

Ok everyone, after talking to Whimzy for some time I discovered one of Whimzy’s embarrassing stories. She said that when she was little she kissed a boy and her parents teased her about it. Well, getting back to camp stories, did you guys know that Whimzy came to Camp Gilgal because she saw the Columbia parade? She thought, “Well, I’m Jewish and I believe, so why don’t I go to that camp??

Did you guys know that Whimzy is actually afraid of the rock wall? Like you really can’t tell because she climbed that wall like no tomorrow, and she did bomb on the giant swing. So Whimzy, I just want to say that you are so outgoing and I love having you as my tribe leader. This is the end of Gilgal News. See you next year.

Packer Interview

Reuven R., Age 15

I first met Packer when I got off the LA van and he walked up, fist-bumped me and said, “I’m Packer.” Later that day, I was given the opportunity to interview him and I gladly accepted. This is what I learned.

PPacker1acker’s favorite color is royal blue and his favorite food is chicken, tomato, onion, and green pepper pizza. His favorite snack is kettle-cooked potato chips. His favorite movie is The Dark Knight, and his favorite genres are action movies, country music and historical narrative books. Packer’s favorite parts of camp are the worship, relationship making, and Yosemite. The school he attends is Concordia Seminary St. Louis. His favorite song is “Long Black Train” by John Turner and his favorite hymn is “When Peace Like A River.” He loves the number 21.

(Back to camp) Packer became camp staff through being friends with Moose. This year just happens to be Packer’s very first Camp Gilgal experience. His favorite worship song is “From The Inside Out.” Packer’s favorite holiday is Easter and his favorite Jewish one is Passover. His current height is six feet. Packer’s favorite time of the day is morning. He has a mom, dad, two brothers and three sisters. Packer drives a 1999 Honda CRV. His name is based off of the Green Bay Packers. Packer lives near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His favorite Bible verse is Matthew 6:33 because it’s about seeking God’s kingdom and His righteousness.

21 information facts just like his favorite number. It might be Packer’s first year, but he is a great tribe leader. I hope to see him again next year.


Sarai M., Age 14

Today on this fine afternoon I am interviewing Rocko. Lucky her, she has never gotten really hurt while at camp. Unlike me, who gets hurt way too often because I am very clumsy.  🙁 Rocko’s advice for new campers is Rocko2-1to “jump into things” and don’t be afraid to mess up. I highly agree and wish I would have known this earlier.

Her dream house would be a big rustic house in the woods that has a lot of ferns, big leather couches and plenty of room for friends and family. I think that sounds really nice and I wouldn’t mind visiting her. She says her most funny/embarrassing moment from camp was when she was about nine or ten and it was Skit Night. Her tribe mates had all practiced a dance but when it was time to perform, they all forgot it. Oops, sounds like something I would do. Now, for the best part, I think I have finally figured out her age…it’s somewhere between 16 and 65. She says if she could give baby Rocko advice she would tell herself that God has her back and don’t be afraid of what other people think. Very wise. I am soooo glad I am in her cabin. She is an amazing tribe leader. She is super fun and energetic, but also really inspirational and very supportive, and always ready to help and support me when I am not feeling well. It has been so much fun getting to know her better. She has been so nice, patient and encouraging to me and always ready to help. I love Rocko and hope to have her as my tribe leader next year.


Sam S., Age 14

After asking several other staff and comrades of Sonic, writing a simple article could not do him justice. Zamboni said he was responsible, Elrond said he was the “veteran tribe leader,” and Sarai, a camper, said he was funny and cool. It’s pretty hard to narrow down a guy where no one can say the same thing, isn’t it? Fortunately, I’ll do my best.

It’s my first year meeting Sonic, so naturally I was curious about who he was. So, one day, I asked him what gave him the idea of Sonic. I assumed maybe he liked the burgers or milkshakes from Sonic, the restaurant. He explained that Rocko and Snickerdoodle actually helped him come up with the name.Sonic3-1

Speaking of friends, Sonic evidentially has a lot of them because he can’t stop talking about them! During his first experience at camp (as a nine year old), he was shy, self-conscious and a little scared, much the same as everyone else his age. But, he mentioned that what helped him get over his fear was getting to meet new friends. One of the best parts of camp is making unexpected friendships, and not just with fellow campers either! A lot of campers tend to be around the staff, so Sonic’s favorite camp staff (as a camper) were Waldo, Jaws and Kappuccino.

On a more serious note, I know from personal experience of the spiritual moments and awakenings that campers have had while at camp. Sonic had one of his own while at adventure camp when he went down to the river bank to worship. As he turned around, he realized the whole camp had joined him.

Now it’s my turn to describe Sonic. He’s an inspiration. Camp Gilgal is lucky to have him.

It’s All In the Wrist Action

Moose1Taliah S., Age 14

In this the 25th season of Camp Gilgal, I had the honor of interviewing the founding West Coast camp director. This amazing man is referred to (at camp) as Moose. Camp Gilgal began in 1991. I asked Moose how he came up with the camp name, and he answered, “If the name fits, wear it.” Moose’s funniest/most embarrassing moment at camp was when he was playing soccer with an earth ball. He went for the ball, toppled over it and fell flat on his face! Moose is a long-time fan of night games. Moose’s favorite night games are Capture the Degel, Mission Impossible and Wells Fargo.

Moose also serves with the organization Jews for Jesus. Because of this, Moose is a very spiritual person. His favorite Bible verses are Philippines 2:5-11 and his favorite chapter of the Bible is Romans 8. I asked Moose what was the first thing he would say to a new believer who is struggling, and he replied, “Hang in there, God understands and wants to help you.” My personal experience with Moose is a very good one. Moose is extremely encouraging to me. There are many instances where Moose has told me exactly what I want and need to hear, both in my spiritual and normal life. He is an amazing person who, if you have the opportunity, would be a pleasure and privilege to meet. By the way, in case you’re wondering, Moose coined the phrase, “It’s all in the wrist action,” which is now famous among all Camp Gilgal alumni.


Daniel P., Age 15

Zamboni is an amazing person I had the pleasure of meeting at Camp Gilgal. So I decided Zamboni1to interview him. Zamboni was one of my tribe leaders this year at camp. We called him Zambrony just for fun, get it? “Brony.” To start this off, Zamboni went to camp for the first time when he was only 12 years old. Then I asked, why did you want to become staff? So he answered, “Well, Moose asked me to and second, I wanted a challenge.” So, there you have it. Next, I asked him what’s your favorite camp activity? He answered with, “Why, Capture the Degel, of course.” I have to tell you, most people would say that, since everyone loves that game. Now that we got through that, we can get to a more serious topic. I asked how long have you been a believer and he answered, “Four years.” I then asked him, what’s your favorite Bible verse? He replied “Hmm, that’s a hard one, but it has to be Proverb 3:5-8.” Next, I asked what are your hobbies? He replied, “Hockey, Camp Gilgal and tennis.” So there you have it, that’s Zamboni in a nutshell.

Games and Adventures

National Forest Capture the Degel

Daniel C., Age 12

Have you ever played Capture the Degel? I have and it was fun. We played it in a national forest, and the teams were boy campers with lady staff and girl campers with guy staff. Of course, the boys won. Sonic got the degel before the end of the game. Our degel was in a valley-shaped area. I was on defense/border patrol and caught six people, Bella, Mekerah, Zamboni, Sam, Liz and Shannon. The most interesting person I caught was Shannon Capture the Degel1because she was a very fast runner and very hard to catch. We played as the sun was setting. The environment had a lot of trees with dead branches everywhere. The game made me tired, excited, energized (during the beginning of the game), it gave a lot of suspense and was about teamwork and trust.

Here is one of my war stories. It was getting dark, the sun was setting, and four people were already in jail. I was patrolling a ridge 50 feet near the jail. I heard a cracking of branches nearby. Then I saw the intruder and yelled, “I see someone!” And I started to run towards her, she saw me and ran away. We were running for some time when she tripped and I caught her and brought Shannon back to jail.

Team Initiatives

David S., Age 16

So you want to hear of the endless abyss, yes the bottomless pit? And, the tales of the men who built bridges over the void? So, I will tell you, but it will doubtless sound strange to you; and indeed, it is strange, for it is not often that we mortals catch glimpses of the flying pig in its full glory (unless they rewind time and repeat it…).

Team Initiatives 3-1Oh, yes, pardon me; you wanted to hear about team initiatives. A group of weary travelers, who are not particularly weary, travel up a hill, lush with…well, with dried grass and burrs. Yet that is the least of their challenges, for they soon approach an infinitely steep cliff at the end of the abyss. There are two islands floating in the nothingness – and beyond that, the other edge. [The travelers failed to answer the questions three (‘ere the other side they see)], so they must build their own bridge with nothing more than two undersized planks, great determination and teamwork.

They face not only the great abyss, but also the king of the land (or lack thereof) who torments them with oddly specific flash bombs of a certain targeted and deadly accuracy. *Flash!* and Elliot’s voice box…disappears! The struggle is great, but the travelers learn to cope with the changes.

Soon after, another flash!…(at the unashamed and cruel request of one particularly mischievious traveler) and Rain’s eyes, once filled with the sparkle of youth, are lost forever (for the specific challenge). Another’s leg is blown off (temporarily), and he must attempt to cross the bridges with a very silly hop. And another odd occurrence… Josiah has an overwhelming desire to break into a run, at the danger of falling into the abyss. Hence, his fellows must hold him still lest he run too far and end up beyond the edge (which did happen once…). Rather, it is the start… all over again… of the whole group (teamwork!). On and on, I can tell you of the important lessons learned by the team while working together, but perhaps the most Team Initiatives 4-1important lesson is that Superduck can fly, which means they could glide gracefully over the abyss in the embrace of his webbed feet.

Having (perhaps successfully…) overcome the first challenge, their spirits were bolstered and their bodies fixed. They soon came to a river, a river of lava with the appearance of bark. What ruler dare leave her realm in such a disastrous state?! T’was the terrible (and wonderful!) Streetlight. What means had they to cross the river? A single rope, hanging overhead on a metal branch of a tree that arched over the river. During their endeavor to cross the lava, they learned an important lesson: a good leader knows the followers and leads side by side. They learned, too, that a good leader listens; that a good team leaves no member behind; that a good team utilizes its strengths and minimizes its weaknesses with the help of the whole team. Yet these lessons took time to learn, and Streetlight hastened the approach of night with her powers. The travelers slept on the bank of the river that night and woke to another dawn fresh with opportunities and lunch. Though all these challenges seemed to them to be obstacles on their path, those same challenges became the path to the learning of important lessons and the bonding of each team member with his fellow.

Dodgeball – Wow! Such Cat-Like Reflexes!

Jaden W., Age 16

Dodgeball is a game in which you throw dodge balls at the Dodgeball1opposing team while dodging, catching and deflecting dodge balls from all directions. Some people who threw the hardest were Moose, Superduck, Sonic, Packer, and Zamboni. Superduck’s strategy was to put a ball inside the back of his shirt so Moose didn’t know it was there. It worked several times. Zion’s strategy was to stand as far up as she could go and not move. Sonic made a rule that if you are the last player on your team you can catch the ball and get your whole team back in the game. This only happened to my team. The last game which was for all the marbles. We were dropping like flies. Finally, Laney was the last player in and was against at least five players on the opposite team, and she caught a ball letting our whole team back in. I could see the disappointment on the opposite team’s faces as our team came back from our dodgeball grave to win and we did!

Ropes Course

Zion M., Age 15

Zion M. here, reporting for the Camp Gilgal Gazette. Today, I am writing about a popular attraction at Calvin Crest, known as the “ropes course” or “zipline.” As a good reporter does, I checked out the course for myself, with exhilarating results. The first step that you take while attempting the ropes course is to don a safety hat and harness, tightened to fit your body, excellent for aerodynamics and speed. Just looking up at the task set in front of you, equipped with safetRock Wall1y gear that becomes seemingly fragile and useless, is daunting. You climb up onto the first step, swinging already from your weight and the breeze, even if there is a person below steadying the sway of the ropes connected to planks of wood with knots. It only gets more difficult from there, with obstacles sprinkled in the air from tree to tree as you walk a tightrope over a thirty-foot drop to the forest floor. Concentration and acting on your senses is key, as is not thinking and closing your eyes, too. It is hard work navigating the seeming perils of the height and lack of stability but it is all rewarded with a trip on a zipline through the forest.


Michael K., Age 13Yosemite1

So it started after breakfast when Streetlight announced that we are heading to Yosemite. So we went back to our cabins to get ready, then we went in the vans for a two-hour ride. Then we arrived at Yosemite, then we walked into the woods for Tabernacle and then we ate lunch. Then we walked to Glacier Point to hang out and enjoy the breathtaking view of Yosemite, and that was when we took the Camp Gilgal photo. Then we went to the Glacier Point gift shop, then we went to take our five-mile hike and the hike took at least three hours and it was one of the best hikes I have ever done in my life. When we were done with the hike, we went back to the vans. When we got out of Yosemite it was almost dark out, so we stopped at a restaurant called the Pizza Factory for dinner. Then after dinner it was time for the cabin inspection report and my cabin had the worst score in Camp Gilgal history, but we had fun and I can’t wait till next year.

Rock Wall

Monique L., Age 13Rock Wall 2-1

On Wednesday, after Tabernacle, all of the campers went to the rock wall area. We picked out harnesses and helmets to ensure our safety as we climbed. As we donned our red and black harnesses, the staff explained the different climbing commands and safety measures. There were six different belay systems, or routes, up the rock wall. They were numbered from 1-6 in increasing difficulty. As the campers slowly inched up the steep, wooden face, six staff members operated the belay systems and called out advice from down below. When they reached the top of the wall, the campers rung the bell and read the Scripture and then slowly descended. When they reached the bottom, they were untied and either stood in line to climb the wall again or walked over to the cement slab to take off their harnesses and helmets. After we thanked the staff and cleaned up, we left the rock wall and ended our little adventure.

Silent Football

Elliot K., Age 15

It was a dark and stormy night when I realized we should play Silent Football. It all started when I was too sore and tired to swim. I decided after five minutes of chillin’ to get a group together and explain the rules. After explaining the rules, we began. The first round was a little shaky at the start because people were first-time peanut gallerians. A peanut gallerian is a player in the game. Elrond and David had a rivalry throughout the game. At the end of the game Reuven got three penalties. We thought of different consequences to decide his fate. He ended up having to hug Sonic and say, “I like your hair, it’s spiky like a hedgehog,” while petting his hair.
Silent Football1

I love playing Silent Football at camp because it is super fun. I especially like being Mr. Commissioner because I get to control the game.

I remember when I first learned silent football. I was taught by the Comish (Mr. Commissioner) himself. It was at winter camp when I was seven years old and I’ve loved it ever since.

The next few rounds of Silent Football were interesting. Everyone’s dare involved Sonic until he banned it. One round David knew he was going to get three penalties, so while he was talking, he attempted to take everyone down with him. He eventually got 2/3 of the peanut gallerians another penalty. In the end, David had to hug Sonic like Reuven did while the other peanut gallerians lived to tell another tale. I love the game of Silent Football.

Hiking in Yosemite

Emmalee S., Age 15

It was a long summer’s day when Camp Gilgal decided to take a hike. The hike started at the Glacier Point snack shop where we bought snacks. I like the snack shop, and I got some cashews. After the cashews, we went to take pictures. I thought that was the hike, but it wasn’t. Our hike was a whopping four miles. The beginning of the hike wasn’t so bad, and I walked with Acorn and Haneen and we talked about sports we played. Occasionally, along the hike I would be stopped to get my picture taken in front of beautiful vines for the Camp Gilgal Facebook site… The middle part of the hike was when my feet started to hurt. Hurting feet was no excuse to stop walking according to everyone around me encouraging me to keep walking. The hike’s views were amazing, so it was nice to look at them while I walked. Sometimes, I would stare at the view too long and would trip and fall, but the hike wasn’t ruined by me falling. Towards the end of the hike, I walked with LaTanya and Dinah. While I walked with them, we talked about hopes and dreams…. There was also a lot of falling but we made it and all in all the hike was fantastic!!

The Gilgal Mixer Games

Mekerah P., Age 16

Every year at Camp Gilgal various ice breakers are played on the first night once all the campers and various staff have arrived. This year, there were three – The Human Knot, “Honey, If You Love Me” and, of course, Steal the Kosher Bacon.

These three games have various rules. In The Human Knot, you play by forming a circle with campers and staff alike, joining hands with two different people and then attempting to un-knot yourselves – basically, you twist and turn until your group has formed a rough circle once again. And, all this, without releasing each other’s hands!

This year, there were several different results of the game. Mixer Games1One group managed to get untangled twice! Two cabins didn’t get untangled at all and one group achieved it once. Sadly, I was a camper among one of the two groups that were never able to get completely untangled.

For the game “Honey, If You Love Me,” the rule is simple – don’t smile. How the game is played is that everyone gathers into a circle, except for one person. That single person goes around the circle until they pick a victim and say in varying degrees of strangeness (one staff member did a handstand!), “Honey, if you love me, won’t you please, please smile?” The chosen person must then – without laughing or smiling (if they haven’t already) – respond with “Honey, I love you, but I just can’t smile.”

The last game played was Steal the Kosher Bacon. For this game, we all went onto the one big grassy field and were sorted into three teams. Three objects (the kosher bacon) were placed in the center – a roll of tape, a tennis ball and some unfortunate person’s shoe. Every person was numbered when placed into their teams and either Streetlight or Snapple would call out random numbers. The people with those numbers would then sprint into the center in an attempt to obtain one of the three objects – if not more. All in all, it was a pretty eventful first day of camp.

Giant Swing

Isaac H., Age 14

It’s about an hour before noon. The camp staff tell you to put on long pants and closed-toed shoes. It’s time to go to the giant swing!

Giant Swing1The swing is located at the end of a path inclining slightly into the woods. Along the path on one side is the trapeze and the beginning of the ropes course. At the end of the path is a large cleared-out area for swinging across. For this swing you have to climb a 20-30 foot tree to swing from. But first you have to suit up. Everyone waits their turn for a safety harness and vest. Once it’s your turn, you hook up to a rope and begin your journey up the tree. At first, it’s a little tricky: the metal rungs that are easy to grip don’t start until after a wobbly rope ladder. This is when people sometimes freak out and go back down. But, if you go on, don’t look down. Just look up and focus on reaching the next rung. Once you get to the top, one of the workers hooks you up to the swing, unhooks you from the platform and asks if you’d like to pray. Then it’s up to you to push off the platform. From there you can go upside down, spread your wings and fly, etc. Just do whatever you want to maximize your enjoyment swinging between two trees. Eventually, the swing winds down and a worker helps you down with a ladder. And you’re done. You can go to the trapeze or go again, but the satisfaction of being a Jewish bird stays fresh for the rest of camp.

The Pizza Factory

Shannon O., Age 13

And so, after a slippery, long, scorching, and might I add, exhausting trek, our van slowly came to a crawl in a large parking lot. We all searched about pointlessly to discover why we had stopped. Most of us suspected a quick McDonald’s meal, but to our pleasant surprise, Streetlight promptly shouted “Pizza Factory!” which was followed up by a cheer.Pizza Factory1

When we got inside we immediately were smitten with the inviting, warm, savory aroma of the freshly baking pizzas. We soon sat down in an outside parlor and partook of a much-needed bathroom and beverage break. And then, it finally happened.

The irresistibly, heavenly pizza smell was no longer just a smell. It was brought out and arrayed before us and became the embodiment of perfect pizza. It was pizza perfection. And like lions, we didn’t waste time quickly devouring our food.

After full stomachs, satisfied people and close bonding time, Moose made a last-minute cabin inspection report and proclaimed THE worst cabin inspection result in Gilgal history! Then, we were forced to say a sad farewell to the newly beloved Pizza Factory.

When we emerged from the restaurant, we saw a beautiful, majestic horse named Cookie and stood ‘round to pet her. Then (finally), we left for the vans, to camp, to bed. All in all, this trip was a pizza-tastic success. 🙂

Life at Camp Gilgal

Arriving at Camp

Rain M., Age 14

I’m from Southern California and I took the transportation provided by Camp Gilgal. It was a smooth five-hour drive. While we were driving up the hill to camp in the Ford van, I saw that there was a fire there from two weeks ago. While driving up the hill I saw the staff charging at the van and they started to bang on the windows. My theory regarding the staff banging on the windows is to get the campers hyped up for camp and give them an overwhelmingly joyful welcome as the van drives up the hill. In addition, I felt very excited when the staff slammed on the windows of the van because it got the campers and me stoked for all the fun that we were going to have at camp. It Arriving at Camp1was a different experience from last year because last year they didn’t bang on my car and I didn’t know what to expect. Once we got out of the vans the excitement continued.

And we saw campers whom we knew from last year and other winter/summer camps. Everyone was filled with joy seeing staff and campers, introducing ourselves to the staff as they helped unload the van/other vehicles. Later they told us which tribe leader we were going to have and who our cabin mates were going to be. Everyone seemed happy with where they were placed. Then we went to our cabins to unload our luggage and hang out with our tribe mates. In conclusion, arriving at camp was a joyful experience because it got me hyped up and excited for camp and all the fun activities we would have during the week.

Cabin Life

Lizzy N., Age 13

The tribe of Acorn and Whimzy…. Where do I begin? We’re loud, friends, some love books, some love anime and we all love Netflix. We wake up really early and have to take turns getting ready. We live in a cabin called Columbine, with four bunk beds, two cots (small beds), and one mattress on the floor. Our crowded cabin of eleven can get really messy and a pain to clean in the morning.

I decided to interview Laney (one of my cabin mates) for her opinion on our cabin. First, I asked Laney, “What is your favorite part of our cabin?” She answered, “That I know and am comfortable around everyone.” “Do you like the bathrooms better here or at junior camp?” The bathrooms at teen camp are connected to the cabin while the ones in junior camp are in a separate building. She answered, “Here, because it’s cleaner, easier to bring stuff to and it’s connected to the cabin.” Bella, another of my cabin mates, said, “My favorite part of our cabin is all the people,” after I asked her the same question.

Cabin life is very crowded, funny, amazing and loud. We go rock climbing, jump from a tree, do a ropes course, go to Yosemite and do trust exercises. The cabin of Acorn and Whimzy in the best cabin in the camp.

Cabin Inspections

Isabella B., Age 12

Askews, disheveled curtains and infractions! What an epidemic! After a week of cabin inspection I have a tip – bring string on ribbon to tie together your disheveled curtains and duct tape for your cabin inspection1trash can lid. After interviewing the inspector, I feel like a pro. When inspecting cabins, Inspector Moose says that it is a necessary duty. After observing Inspector Moose’s outfit for a week I started to wonder, “How does he look so good in it?” Inspector Moose says it’s all his STYLE CONSULTANT! And who is it? HIMSELF! Do you wonder if he ever gets lonely in an empty cabin? Well, he doesn’t. He gets happy at the sight of clean cabins and likes the notes campers leave for him.

Now let’s talk about neon gloves. They grip well and make him feel happy. But he has a problem because he doesn’t want them to get dirty. Do you ever think that he goes easier on junior campers? No! He says everyone should have the cleanest cabin they can have. So, his voice. He loses it all the time. After camp, he feels lonely with no campers.

Free Time

LaTanya H., Age 15

At teen camp, our schedule is definitely very packed, but we get Free Time1a long session of free time every day. During free time, campers have many different options on how to spend their time. For example, there is a coffee shop on campus that everyone loves. They have everything from simple lattes to complicated americanos. The only downside to the coffee shop is that it takes forever. However, you can get to know your fellow campmates in line. There is also a volleyball and basketball court. Campers don’t even need to know how to play the specific sport because everyone is welcome. The guys (and Sauté) occupied the huge grass field and started a game of Ultimate Frisbee this year. I personally like to get a drink at the coffee shop after playing some volleyball, and sit and talk with friends. Free time is a great time to just do whatever you want instead of playing a planned game. It also provides you time to get away from the chaos and relax. Free time is my favorite part of camp and I know other campers and staff enjoy it as well.

Cabin Life

Dinah N., Age 15

In the cabin of Sauté and Rocko, there are eight girls. Their names are Haneen, Dinah, LaTanya, Zion, Emmalee, Sam, Sarai and Taliah. Our favorite Febreze is sage-Cabin Life 2-1lemongrass to keep our cabin smelling nice and fresh. Sauté, likes to eat at least 20 Sour Punch Straws a day. Our motto in our cabin is “community unity” because we are a family. For Cabin Inspection, we got 90 and above each time. Our secret is to stuff everything in the drawers. Most of us have known each other since we were nine years old, but there are some new campers like Zion and Sam that we are just starting to get to know. Coming to camp is a time for us to reunite with our cabin mates and catch up. The nice thing about our cabin is Taliah gives us free massages because at camp we get sore a lot. We also like to share food and eat together. It is a time to try delicious food and bond. We also share clothes because we have amazing fashion taste. So, as you can see, our cabin is pretty amazing.

Mail Call

Madison H., Age 13

Mail Call is very important at Camp Gilgal. We bang on the tables, scream and play music. Not just one person runs Mail Call. It changes every year. However this year, Snapple, Streetlight and Sonic own it. The best thing I have gotten in Mail Call so far had to be a giant box of candy. At junior camp it’s a bigger deal because the camp is two weeks and you will be more likely to get something. The reason is because some people feel better when they get mail. The funniest thing that happened at Mail Call was when Moose ran around screaming, yelling, and he ran outside and was jumping over tables until he slid and got his mail.

Cabin Life

Josiah C., Age 13

Cabin Life Men1Being in a cabin with other campers and staff is a fun time. The cool part about staying in a cabin is that you get to meet new people. Some activities that we do in the cabin is play cards, eat snacks, talk and have devotions. Devotions is where the two staff members discuss what they are going to teach us out of the Bible. Devotions is a time to learn about Yeshua and His Word. Yet it brings up many interesting questions. We also played a card game called Spoons. Instead of playing with spoons, we played with Slim Jims. Spoons was very entertaining because everyone was fighting for the Slim Jims.

The names of campers in my cabin were David, Logan, Rain, Reuven, Jaden, Elliot and myself. Our two tribe leaders were Superduck and Packer. One of my least favorite things about staying in a cabin is Cabin Inspection. Each morning we go to breakfast and when we come back we clean our cabin till it’s spotless. So, when we go to Tabernacle, Moose, the cabin inspector, inspects our room for any sign of messiness. Every time he sees something out of place or not organized, he subtracts five points, which is called an infraction. Then he adds all the infractions up and subtracts it from a hundred. My favorite activity in the cabin was F.O.B. Appreciation Day, which stands for “Flat On Bunk.” This is where each member of your cabin takes a nap. This is the best cabin activity.

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