By: Liel B. | Age: 14
On July 14, we embarked on our journey to Camp Gilgal 2019. We started our adventure in Los Angeles and drove all the to Oakhurst. I drove in a van with Sarah, Lily, Bailey, Sivan, Jonathan, Carrie, and Steven. We were all cramped in the van for five whole hours. Chef, Sarah’s mom and Sloth, Taxi’s mom, and Sohcahtoa, Gadget, Kit-Kat, and Hershey’s mom, drove us to camp. We stopped at Panda Express for lunch even though I had it for dinner the previous night, I still enjoyed it. Jonathan and Steven were playing a game together and Sivan though she overheard them talking about magical ponies, but it turns out she was just hearing things. We passed through small towns and Sivan pointed out all the cute buildings. Although we were exhausted, we could not fall asleep. When we finally arrived at Calvin Crest, the campers and staff came out to welcome us by bang on our van. We all got out of the van and sorted our luggage. The staff introduced themselves and their names. We then headed to our cabins to get settled in. And that was my experience getting to camp.
Bailey H. | Age: 14
Hi, I’m Bailey H. and I am in the cabin of Pippin and Mango. The people in my tribe are Talia, Carrie, Sarah, Elie, Lily, Claire, me and Shalom. (Well plus S’mores because she is always here which makes her an honorary member). I am 14 and I have been coming to camp since 2014. One of my favorite parts of camp are campfires! Now you may be thinking, “How can you even write about a campfire?” But this is a world-famous fiesta! Just kidding about the fiesta, but we as campers have such a good time roasting s’mores (not the person) and talking around a fire. We also have a time of worship. This year, Mango and Taxi led us in a few songs. Overall, campfire was fun. Don’t be jealous!
By: Hesed F. | Age: 13
“That’s an infraction!” If you were wondering what that meant, you’re in the right place. Cabin inspection is a huge part of camp. Every morning after breakfast we come back to our cabins and prepared for cabin inspection. Preparation for cabin inspection includes: sweeping the floor, tucking in beds, taking out the trash and many other things. After we finish cleaning our cabins we go onto other activities. Then we go to lunch and after lunch the cabin inspector comes and tells us the score we got for cleanup. If the average score at the end of camp is an 85, we get a party! If there are too many infractions, we get a bad grade and we don’t get the party. The cabin inspector is very picky even if the soap dispenser is a little crooked, it’s an infraction. Overall, cabin inspection is a huge part of camp and camp wouldn’t be the same without it!
By: Sasha S. | Age: 15
For a night game this year, we played Capture the Degel, which means, “flag” in Hebrew. This year we played in the Sierra National Forest, just outside of camp. The rules are simple: if you cross a line to the other side, you can get tagged and thrown into jail. You have to wait until someone on your team gets you out by running and shouting, “Jail break!!!” The main goal is to get the other team’s degel before they get yours. My teammates and I had a plan: we would get a small group and scout out where the degel is. We also had another way to get it. One person would run down screaming and get tagged so we can find the other teams degel. And off he went… that is the only thing that went according to plan. As the game kept going, we got scouting and figured out a plan. Eventually I made it down without getting caught. I got the degel and won the game!
By: Lily H. |Age: 13
On July 16, 2019, the entire camp went on a hike in Yosemite National Park. After an hour and a half drive, we arrived in Yosemite, where we had Tabernacle and a worship session in a clearing. Moose introduced us to the edible needles on pine trees that tasted good to some and bad to others. We also ate lunch in the clearing, experiencing God’s creation. After we ate, we followed the main path to a viewing area at Glacier Point that showcased the main Yosemite attractions such as, Half Dome and Vernal Fall. The view was amazing. I also saw several squirrels racing on the steep cliffs. We had our camp photo taken by Dallas, a new camp friend whom Lonestar randomly met on the path, before realizing they had gone to college together. Then, we drove to the Sentinel Dome trailhead. This hiking path wasn’t paved and had a greater incline. The hike was tiring and hot, but the view of Half Dome and the surrounding environment at the end of the hike was breathtaking. The trail led to a Sentinel Dome that overlooked most of Yosemite Valley. It was fairly empty of people. Some campers played silent football and others sat on rocks taking in the view. I asked Joy what she thought about the view, “It was interesting to see how rock formations differed, one side was jagged and the other was smooth.” Every angle of the hill was different, from waterfalls to mountains to small buildings with toy-esque cars moving on distant highways. God’s work in Yosemite was a true blessing and an unforgettable memory.
By: Steven M. | Age: 15
The giant swing is a thrill and fast like a roller coaster. As soon as you walk to it you can see the height and get a little bit nervous, especially when you find out you have to pull the rope yourself to swing down! You put on a body harness and a helmet and then once you’re up the ladder you get strapped in a carabiner. Then a bunch of people pull you to the top and once you’re all the way up they say, “let it rip.” Then this gutting feeling comes over you. You go flying back and forth, swaying and being thrown all over the air. It’s nerve-racking, but once you pull the level you go air borne and its awesome.
Another thing we did the same day as the giant swing, was paddle boating and the flume. Right at the pond there is a flume that you can go down into the pond. There are also paddle boats on the other side that you can take out into the water. You paddle the boats like a bike, except you’re on water. As you are peddling around, you can see the beautiful green pond exploding its beauty. The paddle boats are a great activity.
By: Claire C. | Age: 14
July 17th, 4:30 pm. The day that changed all days. Speedy, Elrond, Mango, Lonestar and S’mores gathered with intense anticipation to answer the questions of the campers. We wrote them anonymously and waited for the staff to answer them. Some were: “How do you know God is real?” which was answered with historical evidence, and the Bible. Our beloved Taxi wisely says, “It comes to a point where it takes more faith to not believe in Him.” The staff agreed that what you do as you walk with Jesus can and will be forgiven and redeemed. The next question, “How do you navigate a high school relationship?” triggered a half-hour discussion on the proper boundaries for relationships. The aftermath of the panel made campers think. Lily said, “It was really interesting to hear all the different perspectives.” Overall it helped the campers grow.
By Talia W. | Age: 13
When you have Tabernacle in the wilderness it’s like praising God with all his creation. This time we were praising God in a place called Nedler Grove. There in front of a giant sequoia tree called, “Bull Buck Tree” we worshipped and praised him with songs and sharing. Moose shared some verses with us and talked about them. As we listened, another group came through and stopped for a little bit. I prayed that anything that was said or sung would impact their lives. Afterwards, we sat around Nedler Grove and climbed stumps, laughed and talked with each other. Nedler Grove was peaceful and beautiful, full of God’s love and presence. I hope that others who go through there will feel His Spirit. The peaceful sensation is only a glimpse into His presence. We cannot even comprehend His love. He is totally uncomprehendable, but we can always be in His presence because it is all around us. If we are searching for Him then we will never we without Him. In Nedler Grove, there was a sense of His presence that just filled me with joy. I hope that it will fill others with joy too.
By: Jonathan P. | Age: 15
The game was coming to an end, and no cards were left to draw. At this point, all properties were set out, houses and hotels included. The remaining players did their best to pull off a successful poker face, but at this point in the game it was obvious that everyone was too tense to make a play. One of the players on the left side of the table slowly began to smile, as he laid down a series of cards that would deal a deadly blow. The smile did not last long and was soon replaced by devasted face of astonishment. Resting before him, silently on the table was the very thing Feedback most despised; a “Just say no.” “Nooooooooooo,” he screamed, and his hands fell to his side like fallen branches. “It’s not fair,” he said. “I had the most expensive property set, plus a rent and double the rent action card.” His words were true, but as his failed plan of annihilation went into the discard pile, there was nothing he could do, but crack a joke about a 5.7-billion-dollar president. The game was over, at least for Feedback, and as he got up from the table and left, there was nothing I could do but giggle like a madman. It had already been a year and half since I had introduced Monopoly Deal the card game to Camp Gilgal and still, I was the ultimate champion.
By: Sivan K. | Age: 13
Camp Gilgal is a safe place that changes lives and dreams. For instance, one young girl whose life was transformed by Camp Gilgal, has grown up to be an amazing staff member. This incredible woman is S’mores. This year S’mores is on the 2019 Camp Gilgal leadership team. For 13 years S’mores has been attending and pouring her heart into Camp Gilgal. She grew up in a believing home and started attending junior camp when she was eight years old. When she was 11, she recommitted her life to following Yeshua at Camp Gilgal. Camp has shaped her life and inspired her to work with children and youth. Her most touching experience at camp was when she was going through hardships and her tribe leader had gone through the same thing. She prayed with her and it helped her grow immensely. Throughout her time in camp after that, she realized that her passion was to work with Camp Gilgal. Since she has been attending camp since she was eight, she has felt like it was her second home. She can feel God’s presence the most at camp, even still now as staff and has made her lifelong friends here. Her advice for future campers is to invest friendships made here and ask the questions you want to ask because it’s a safe place. The first time she was on Gilgal staff she realized how much dedication is took. Even though it is difficult at times, her experience could not have been better. S’mores has always adored Camp Gilgal, and her love for it shows inside and out.
By: Sarah M. | Age: 13
Here at Camp Gilgal, we have amazing staff. One of my favorite camp staff is Mango! I got the chance to learn more about her this summer at teen camp. Mango has been part of Camp Gilgal for 10 years. She has enjoyed every moment on staff as well as when she was a camper. Did you know Mango occasionally climbs trees? Mango thinks this hobby of hers is extremely funny and began howling with laughter when she realized that Mangoes grow on trees! Some advice that Mango has for teen campers it to keep in touch with friends, make a relationship with Jesus, and to get off the phone and read. I love to read so I was ecstatic to hear this! Another interesting tid-bit about Mango is that Camp Gilgal has changed her life in so many ways, she has seen what community looks like and learned to embrace her Jewish identity. Mango’s favorite chapter of the Bible is Isaiah 41. Something you might be wondering is what Mango’s favorite part of teen camp 2019. It was actually having a large cabin of such gorgeous, amazing ladies who she witnessed grow up. I thought what she said was touching and heartwarming. Speaking of teen camp, Mango would have ordered a grilled chicken sandwich with a whole wheat bun, if we had gone to Chick-fil-A. Personally, this order sounds unappealing, but I definitely was respectful of her choices. Now you know all about the bomb, Camp Gilgal staff member, Mango!
By: Eliana R. | Age: 13
Here at Camp Gilgal we separate the ladies and the men. In a cabin, there are typically five or six campers. This year my cabin has four campers plus me. Also, in a cabin, there are two tribe leaders. The campers in my cabin are named Liel, Sivan, Joy, Hesed and me. The leaders in my cabin are Taxi and Doodles. The campers are all the same age, 13 years old, except Liel who is 14. When I asked Taxi and Doodles how old they were, Taxi replied saying she was 96. As for Doodles, she held her fingers up and somehow came up with the number 223 ¾. In our cabin of Toodles, we have dance parties to 80’s music. We do icebreaker games and play two truths and a lie. When doing devotions, we tell heartfelt stories and have deep conversations. When studying our Bible verse, we sing it to the beat of Bad Guy by Billie Eilish. Overall, this year in my cabin I had an amazing year. My cabin is weird, but we are family.
By: Joy E.| Age: 13
Doodles, the friendly tribe leader. She is is 223 ¾ years old (I think). She was homeschooled up until third grade and graduated high school at the young age of 14. She likes to doodle (I wonder why?), do photography and sleep. For my Gilgal Gazette I decided to interview her! The first question I asked her is a basic question; “How many years have you been with Camp Gilgal?” She answered with, “I think 12” The next question was, “Did you ever go to Camp Gilgal as a camper?” She answered, “If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be here right now answering your questions.” Well she definitely spiced things up a bit! But then I thought to myself, should I ask a spiritual question too? So, I asked, “At what age did you really start to love God and why at that age?” Seems spicy enough right? This was her long reply. “So, my dad is a pastor, so I’ve always been surrounded by the messianic mentality. I accepted Yeshua when I was four. I didn’t understand what that meant until I was seven. After that I recommitted myself several times. Many of those times being at Camp Gilgal. I never felt the closeness of God as I wanted to. Then God revealed to me exactly what had been impeding my walk with him. I knew he had offered forgiveness for my sins, but what I hadn’t realized is that I hadn’t let myself accept it. So, I finally got to the point where I accepted that forgiveness and was able to forgive myself, only about seven months ago. And that is when I recommitted myself. In retrospect; I’d always, kind of had a love for God, but I didn’t truly, wholly love him until I accepted this love for me.” So, there you have it folks! The wonderful life of Doodles written by the beautiful, loving, kind, smart, gently, caring, and funny Joy E. See you next time!
By: Carrie M. | Age: 15
Taxi’s interview showed broader insight on her life inside and out of Camp Gilgal. From a list of questions, she answered with her thoughts and opinions. To start, Taxi’s favorite part of camp is a game we play called Mission Impossible. The game is played in the dark while following clues from place to place. She has been a camper and a tribe leader for a totally of 12 years. When choosing her name, there is a story behind it. Taxi was named Taxi because she was born in New York and came to the delivery room in a Taxi. She loves being Jewish and here is why. She liked having a specific calling and having a significance from God. Aside from camp related things she likes to watch her favorite movies with her friends and play the cello. Her favorite place to visit is a mixture of New York and Glacier National Park. Her favorite holiday is Passover because she loves to interact and have fun at seders. She also states, “Passover is set apart from the rest of the year.” If Taxi were not Jewish, she would be Lithuanian because it sounds cool, or Australian. Last, her favorite thing about her interviewer is their long FaceTime calls or her catchy hysterical laugh.
By: Elie M.| Age: 13
The cabin of PipGo consists of the tribe leaders Pippin and Mango and the campers Bailey, Sarah, Carrie, Claire, Talia, Shalom, Lily, and of course, me. We have two ladies cabins this year at Camp Gilgal. Our cabin is the largest. The ages of the campers in our cabin ranges from 13-15. Some of the things we do as a cabin are devotions, cabin inspection, late night talks and giggles. This year for devotions we are focusing on question we have about life. Cabin inspection is when we clean the cabin as a tribe, you may think it would be hard because there are so many of us, but we have all grown up at camp together and have been in the same cabin before. I asked some of my cabin mates what they thought about our cabin. Talia thinks “It’s cool to have so many people because we can build each other up.” Claire commented by saying, “Regardless of our differences we grew close.”