All of the specialty areas at Eisner have spent the last two weeks training and preparing for camp. Our Outdoor Education program is just one of many that have been hard at work creating new programming and learning new skills. Eisner’s Outdoor Education department consists of four distinct experiences: Teva (the Hebrew word for “nature”); Adventure; our newly expanded Farm program; and Israel Scouting (tzofim). All of these program areas offer individual chugim on a day to day basis. In addition, there’s also the special partnership between Teva and Adventure that’s created through daily bunk experiences that offers something especially unique for our campers. And it all starts with the training.
Teva specialist training consists of a balance between the logistical aspects of camping (for example, prepping the tents, camp sites and hiking trails) and creating new and engaging programming. Teva specialists learn new ways to give our campers more hands-on experiences during their overnights and chugim. On the overnights, campers will get the opportunity to assist with food prep, such as chopping ingredients and picking different herbs from our own gardens. One of the new chugim teaches campers different ways of animal tracking (and may even involve some delicious chocolate). The goal is to create an environment in which campers can have meaningful experiences that are fun and memorable and reflect the fundamental values of our responsibility to the world we live in.
A lot of training also goes into what our Adventure specialists are able to provide for the campers. They start with the technical skills: opening and closing procedures of an element, belaying, rescue training, and so on. Once the technical skills are down, the Adventure specialists shift to what is really at the core of what they do, which is facilitating. They learn how to work with the campers through various activities centered on team building and problem solving, and to foster personal growth. The special partnership between Teva and Adventure even includes training elements. Teva staff members learn how to belay, Adventure staff learn the hikes, and all of the staff learn the basic facilitation skills they’ll be able to use across both program areas throughout the summer.
So when campers make it to the top of the Alpine Tower by working together, or have an incredible overnight experience created with everyone’s participation, the foundation for those moments was laid with the skills learned during specialist training week.