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Mishpacha Junior Speaks to Summer Camp Staff

Meira Feinman

A sports counselor organizes the camp’s sporting activities and teaches the campers how to play each game. Last year, Yitzy Smith was head sports counselor at Camp Toras Chaim Tashbar in the Catskills — and he liked it so much, he’s heading back this summer! Mishpacha Jr. spoke with Yitzy to find out more about what a sports counselor does, what’s the campers’ favorite sport, and all about a game called “Switch.”

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

MJ: Hi, Yitzy! Can you tell us what it’s like to be a sports counselor?

YS: I organize which bunks play which sports. Every morning, we give out activity request forms to the bunks, and they write down what activity they would like to do that day. We collect all the request forms and work out a schedule that will give all campers a great time.

MJ: When do the games begin each day?

YS: In the afternoon. Mornings are filled with davening, breakfast, and learning. The excitement and ruchniyus of learning gives extra geshmak to the afternoon activities, and the campers really feel that positive influence stick with them throughout the day 

MJ: What kinds of sports do you play in camp?

YS: All sports! — baseball, basketball, volleyball, soccer, flag football, hockey, and many, many more. We also play water sports in our five-acre lake, including water biking, paddle boating, kayaking, etc. And we have hiking as a sport, too — there are lots of great hiking routes around our campus! Plus, there are other fun activities, like “Switch,” that are played throughout the camp session, even on rainy days.

MJ: I’ve never heard of the game “Switch”! How does it work?

YS: Oh, it’s lots of fun! You play it in a large area, like our gym (it’s a great game for a rainy day). A lot of boys — sometimes the whole camp! — can play it at the same time. We set up booths around the room. Each booth is related to a different sport — hitting a hockey puck in the goal, or shooting a basketball into a hoop, for example.

Each bunk is only at each booth for two minutes. The boys stand in a line, taking turns at each booth, as their counselor writes down how many points they’re getting. After only 120 seconds, the whistle blows and they have to move on to the next booth — so it’s very fast-paced and exciting!

We call this game “Tashbar Switch Exclusive,” because we also have special Tashbar-only booths. For example, there’s a costume booth where you have to get dressed in a funny getup and run around in a circle shouting how much you love Camp Tashbar!

After each bunk has been to each booth once, the game is over and we add up all the points. The bunk with the most points wins. Everyone gets really involved, rooting for their teammates, hustling through the booths, and straining to do their best by the time the whistle blows!


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