By COLlive reporter
For over a month now, hundreds of Tzeirei Hashluchim, as Chabad Shluchim’s kids are called, waited anxiously for news about their beloved annual winter camp.
Held yearly corresponding to the mid-winter vacation in December, two camps run concurrently for 10 days at two camping sites in Oracle, Arizona, located 45 minutes from Tucson.
Boys ages 8-12 enjoy 120 acres of wooded land at the C.O.D. Ranch, while girls ages 7-11 enjoy the beautiful campgrounds at the Triangle Y Ranch.
“How should I describe it? The camp is the second most important thing for the kids after father and mother – especially for ones from remote areas,” says Moshe Pinson of the Shluchim Office.
But that was not going to happen this year.
With the financial meltdown already taking its toll on existing programs, the minimal charge required to be paid by shluchim parents was not enough to cover the costs.
“Until Thursday, 5:00 pm New York time, we were not going to have the boys camp this year,” Pinson told COLlive.com Thursday night.
Brooklyn-based Shluchim Office, and Tucson Shluchim Rabbi Yossie and Chanie Shemtov who underwrite the camp, have been receiving calls and emails in the last month inquiring about the camp.
The office’s director Rabbi Gedalya Shemtov and Pinson resolved not to let the children down, and contacted additional potential donors.
By Thursday they already received pledges from Sholom & Julie Laytin, Dudi and Chani Farkash, Zevi & Leah Drizin, Dovid & Malkie Smetana and Aaron & Judith Weingarten.
Pinson: “But more was needed and a special donor was able to pull through – despite the economic situation – Rabbi Don Yoel & Malka Levy of OK Kosher Labs.”
An email sent out to Shluchim earlier read: “Thanks to the generosity of (these) dedicated sponsors (and many others).. it will be business as usual.”
The directors are now busy with other tasks – finding experienced, chassidishe counselors and staff who will direct the camps.
Head staff of the boys camp will be Zalman Shimon Wolf and Yossi Unsdorfer. The girls’ head staff will be announced in the coming week.
Some 100 boys and 125 girls are expected to participate from around the U.S. and countries like Australia, Russia and France.
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