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  |  August 2, 2021

How an Altercation in Camp Should be Handled

Shlucha Leah Namdar, who runs the Tzeirei Hashluchim overnight camps in Sweden, responds to the articles by the mother and the former head counselor about a camper's experiences and a staffer's responsibility. Full Story

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June 20, 2021 11:15 pm

Ve’hachi ytten el liboi
We should take this to heart

This is the best and most inspiring article ever to appear on collive
Your fans from Miami

June 20, 2021 11:16 pm

❤️👍💯! Great article- full of toichen and very well written!!
Can you please write some more pieces on chassidishe chinuch and communication??

Well said!
June 20, 2021 11:22 pm

Wow! Powerful words. Couldn’t have been said better.

June 20, 2021 11:39 pm

Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

June 20, 2021 11:41 pm

Important lesson for parents in chinuch too. Stop the time outs, embrace your “unruly” or misbehaving or even angry and hitting child instead of rejecting him. That’s unconditional love.

Thank you
June 20, 2021 11:42 pm

You can be a mentor for many young counselors all over the world. Kol HaKavod for making real Ahavas Isroel and peace between “ the mothers from the first article “ to the “ counselors from the second one”

June 20, 2021 11:43 pm

This should be distributed as a pamphlet to every staff member this year.

A Caring Mom
June 20, 2021 11:52 pm

Wow so inspiring and so true .

June 20, 2021 11:58 pm

Brought me back 30 years to Gan Yisroel.

Ad mosaii??? 27 years???? Shokl zich!

One issue with the bassis of this article:
June 21, 2021 12:39 am

there aren’t any other staff during the first day speech.
Just the head staff. That’s it.

The former head staff members response still stands…

Then change that!
Reply to  One issue with the bassis of this article:
June 21, 2021 3:10 am

Why not have the counselors in the room? They can also model the respectful listening that the head counselor deserves and that will B’ezras Hashem make camp run more smoothly.

Reply to  Then change that!
June 22, 2021 3:16 am

Because the bunks weren’t divided yet. How can a counselor be in charge of “his bunk”?

Reply to  One issue with the bassis of this article:
June 21, 2021 3:42 am

Not sure which camp you have been to but there’s always counselors especially on the first day?! And come here in stead of pushing away can always stand even if not counselors there.

Think broadly
Reply to  One issue with the bassis of this article:
June 21, 2021 3:55 am

B”H Firstly I want to thank the author of this article for not only explaining best practices for educators, but taking the time to choose appropriate stories of our Rebbe to embody each of these powerful strategies. To the one who commented about the staff not yet being with the campers (i.e. the counselors have not yet been assigned to bunks yet before the speech). I would simply respond with the famous quote some attribute to Albert Einstein “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. Yes, the staff haven’t been assigned, and… Read more »

Confused parent
Reply to  One issue with the bassis of this article:
June 21, 2021 4:21 am

Why aren’t the other staff present?

Bunk list
Reply to  Confused parent
June 21, 2021 8:40 am

The bunks weren’t given out yet, but normally the counselors are still there just not with there bunk, they could still help though

Reply to  Confused parent
June 21, 2021 11:19 am

Because they like to have a surprise of who the counselors are and which bunk gets which counselors

Reply to  Confused parent
June 22, 2021 4:04 am

The head counselors are giving a serious speech, there is no reason for the staff to be there. I dont understand why people don’t approve of the screaming, and calling out. Don’t talk in the first place. The head counselors spent months working on camp and how to make it as fun as they can in the most safe and chassidishe way. For example If a parent is talking to there kid about not looking when crossing the street and the kid all of sudden just starts laughing or doing crazy things the parent would definitely tell them to stop.… Read more »

As A Former HC
Reply to  One issue with the bassis of this article:
June 21, 2021 6:11 am

You are right that is many/most camps this is the practice; let’s break it down. The staff are not present in the room usually for two reasons (wait for it-) 1. The counselors have not been assigned to their bunks and will be making a grand entrance at the end of the speech (this reason doesn’t account for non counselors) 2. The staff (including non counselors) are not present in order to give the head counselors the ability to scare the kids out of their wits (control method), and it’s thought that having the staff in the room would detract… Read more »

I’m not sure you’re being serious
Reply to  One issue with the bassis of this article:
June 21, 2021 9:21 pm

I’m not sure you’re being serious… Thank God we have an incredibly creative pool of staff I’m sure we can figure out how to Make those first moments Of the camp experience a joyous and welcoming one.

Role Models
June 21, 2021 12:48 am

Children need role models.
Let’s all model appropriate behaviour so that our children will follow accordingly.

Sometimes adults lose sight of the fact that children are watching and observing the ways we act and behave in private and in public!

We have an tremendous responsibility to act responsibly.

You have to understand
June 21, 2021 1:45 am

Some kids will just try to ruin something for the fun of it! you can’t just hand out snacks and expect these kids to behave now that they have popcorn. Some kids need to be disciplined!

you have to understand the child
Reply to  You have to understand
June 21, 2021 8:35 am

If a child is acting out, ask yourself what is behind it.

Perhaps the child needs attention, or has more energy at that moment then you are allowing them to express, or perhaps the problem is something in you, perhaps in your style or content that is not engaging their attention.

Perhaps the child has some physical challenge that effects their attention, and you h”v somehow imagine you can “beat it out of them”.

The list is endless.

If you have a problem with a child, the failure is generally yours.

You missed the point
Reply to  You have to understand
June 21, 2021 10:17 am

Nobody thinks that more snacks are the solution.

The point is that if the head staff have a healthy understanding with their staff then they have a healthy control instead of a forced one.

Shabbos Afternoon Groups
June 21, 2021 2:45 am

Dear Leah, Your article brought tears of emotion to my eyes. Many years before you were married at living as a Shlucha in a “Midbar” I was privileged to enjoy Shabbos afternoons with my friends, and you as our “Leader”. The games, the inspiration, the stories (yes, the scary Spanish inquisition stories) were the highlight of my Shabbos, but most of all, up until this day, your care and concern, you פנימיות and your kindness still stays with me. I can only hope and pray that directors, head counselors and counselors are ingesting your words and paying heed to them.… Read more »

Reply to  Shabbos Afternoon Groups
June 22, 2021 3:22 am

On that point, can we please abolish counselors and leaving teachers telling scary stories? They get a kick out of it, and we as kids even begged for it, but it was an unnecessary trauma. It’s difficult for me to forgive a particular guest story teller that told us a (made up) scary story (and insisted it was real)

Reply to  btw
June 25, 2021 6:21 pm

You are absolutely right!

Yasher Koach, Leah!!
June 21, 2021 3:07 am

Thank you for sharing these beautiful stories to make your very memorable points. (I was in 770 in those years too but don’t remember any of this.) תלכי מחיל אל חיל not just in Sweden but throughout the world of Lubavitch with your excellent, down-to-earth guidance!

Shulammis Saxon

June 21, 2021 5:57 am

Time to change the “order” of how things are done. Head counselors should just welcome the boys, and then just announce the bunks with their counselors. Let the boys then unpack, settle in and meet their bunk mates and counselors. After unpacking, meet again in shul and go over the camp rules. At that point all campers are already with their counselors and bunk mates. The one who “usually make a ruckus because they actually need attention ” can already feel more settled cuz he’s sitting near his counselor who is already giving him attention. And if he actually acts… Read more »

Love that idea!
Reply to  Counselors
June 25, 2021 5:42 pm

Imagine being a camper, it’s your first time in camp and your nervous, you don’t know how things are going to go. Like this you already know your bunk, your counselor and your settled in.

Well written
June 21, 2021 6:35 am

Thank you! This is very well communicated.

June 21, 2021 6:36 am

This is real deal Rebbe-based chinuch

Thank you!

Wow, I have big respect
June 21, 2021 6:49 am

I think that every counselor, mother and teacher must read this amazing article written by Mrs Namdar.
It is clear to me that Sweden camp gives THE best Chinuch (not to push down any camp), I have never sent my kids there, but from the sound of it, I should of.
May you go from strength to strength in giving out the Rebbes message
Thank you for taking the time and energy

The proven approach
June 21, 2021 7:01 am

As a head counselor in a CGI camp over 40 years ago when I asked for quiet I addressed myself to the counselors and they in turn got theirs campers quiet. There was never a need to raise my voice. It’s also took a fraction of the time for it to get quiet. It also helped to preserve the respect of the head counselor. The same holds true for a principal running an assembly. It is the teachers who should get the students quiet. If a student is disturbing the teacher should quietly remind the student that the principal is… Read more »

Former head counsler
June 21, 2021 7:13 am

You write that ‘the counslers are with their bunks during the head counsler speech’.
This is not the way it works. No staff are allowed in thr shul during the speech!

So change it!
Reply to  Former head counsler
June 21, 2021 9:38 am

If the results of this functional it’s time for change. And smell the coffee

And why on earth?
Reply to  Former head counsler
June 21, 2021 9:41 am

And why on earth aren’t the counselors allowed inside then??

Reply to  And why on earth?
June 21, 2021 11:25 am

1:Because they like to surprise the campers with who the counselors are
2: because the staff will laugh at the speech and they can’t be sent out of the Shul
Hope this helps!

You couldn't have said it better
Reply to  Former head counsler
June 21, 2021 9:52 am

This is the problem. The staff are not present because the HCs want to yell without the staff laughing

Strange approach
Reply to  Former head counsler
June 21, 2021 10:05 am

Just because something is the “way it works” doesnt mean thats the way it should be.

In fact the series of op eds make the point that this way is NOT WORKING. Its hurting some kids. Badly.

Part of the issue
Reply to  Former head counsler
June 21, 2021 10:17 am

Let’s revamp the whole approach!

People need training and policies
June 21, 2021 8:26 am

It seems all very nice and kumbaya to read these articles. Parents like myself will then respond and maybe feel somewhat better. However the issues presented here with some great solutions still do not address what could be done in-advance to help camps run smoothly for all. They need training. Training on how to deal with large crowds. Especially young campers. This training should include all staff members, who deal with children. How are we to expect these young people to be able to handle taking care of 15-200 campers. They themselves are young and still learning. The second issue… Read more »

Reply to  People need training and policies
June 25, 2021 6:29 pm

Correction: I don’t believe it’s correct that there is no training

O zirkind
June 21, 2021 9:34 am

Wow that was so beautifully written ! Thank you for sharing

Beautiful but not fully realistic article
June 21, 2021 10:22 am

The general philosophy of life and acceptance and needing more staff to be involved with the individuals expressed in this article is true and crucial. However there are a few unrealistic points here, Firstly, from what I understand the author is a director of a much smaller camp, for less time than where these incidents are taking place. Smaller setting is always easier. There obviously huge amount of work that goes on, but it’s very different. Secondly, we can’t compare our staff to the Rebbe. While we can and must learn how to behave, it is a “regular” human being… Read more »

Chani Vogel
June 21, 2021 10:50 am

Dear Leah, Always well spoken, always well said. Your article took Goldie’s perspective, and the head counselors’ and gave real solutions. Typical Leah! I am so thankful. We as mommies, can definitely use these solutions in our parent roles. Morahs can use it in their teaching roles. This advice is universal. You are amazing, and Hashem should bentch you with kol tev sela. All the Rebbe’s brochos, bestowed on you so that you can have the koach to continue to influence in such a powerful and positive way. The Rebbe’s way. Thank you, you definitely inspired me. (OK, and made… Read more »

Grateful parent
June 21, 2021 10:52 am

I just wanted to show my gratitude to Gan Yisroel Parksville that treated me well when I was a camper. Now a parent, (although my family has an above average reputation in Lubavitch (so I think)), I have no connections to the Director etc., yet my son was accepted on partial scholarship. Very grateful for that. Although some of the feedback published can be implemented at a minimal financial cost, Lubavitch camps are very affordable compared to their counterparts in other communities, so we ought to see the flaws in that context. Not excusing sins, just contextualizing that if you… Read more »

Another story of our Rabbeim that shows this appro
June 21, 2021 11:01 am

Wow! This is a FABULOUS response and approach. I hung onto every word as I read about the Rebbe’s rallies and the altercation in 770 and how The Rebbe handled it! I would like to share a similar story/approach that happened with our great-Zaide, R’ Yochanan Gordon, and The Frierdike Rebbe. In the years when R’ Yochanan Gordon was in Lubavitch as a bochur, there would be a Pesach Seder together with the entire yeshiva. The older bochurim would be appointed as supervisors for tables of younger bochurim. One Pesach, R’ Yochanan (who was 16 years old) was one of… Read more »

I agree with you Rebbetzin Leah,
June 21, 2021 11:01 am

I just want to add one point that may seem to contradict but it doesn’t Sometimes a kid needs some time away from others, and it is not anti-Lubavitch to allow them some time to think and breathe If the tone is said with love And the ‘break’ is administered because we really can’t wait for the kid to come back and join us again when he’s more calm and focused… Then I don’t think it’s damaging The thing about chinuch is that you have to know your kids and be in tune with the essence of the issue when… Read more »

June 21, 2021 11:20 am

This is beautiful.

I think this should be relevant in our schools as well. Not only in camp (that, too, though). Not every child is capable of sitting all the time, try as we might to motivate them to do so. And not every rebbi or morah is capable of handling such children.

Words that come from the heart enter the heart
June 21, 2021 1:25 pm

Beautifully written…
Thank you.
I now have another fundamental reason to why the Tzeirei Hashluchim camps in Sweden are so trusted by us parents and popular by our children.
If only every camp and school would establish this style of engagement and education, many young lives would be bettered, many people all around would be healthier and happier!

Dear Rabbi and Mrs Namdar,
Thank you for everything you do for us fellow Shluchim. We appreciate you.
May you be blessed with continued brochos and success!

Well written
June 21, 2021 3:32 pm

Beautiful and well written piece and full of toichen. While the camper may flush at being called up, it’s certainly better than being degraded by being yelled at in front of everybody.

June 21, 2021 3:56 pm

yay now we have an opinion from a mother, head counselor and even a camp director!
Whose gonna write a response to the response of the response of the original article? (Needs to be a camper)
Looking forward!

(Maybe we can even get an opinion from the camp rabbi, or even the cook!)

cute but only that
June 21, 2021 4:14 pm

all those good ideas are done in camp, still doesn’t answer the question of the first day speech. i think we can all agree that the kum aher tzu worked because it was the rebbe because it was in 770 because of a million other circumstances, who it was etc. the kum aher tzu way of running acamp, on the first day of camp would be a disaster. why is kicking a kid outta the room considered embarrassing a kid, agreed the kid gets embarrassed but so does the kid get embarrassed when he comes home with a bad mark… Read more »

Warped logic
Reply to  cute but only that
June 26, 2021 3:19 pm

This actually does really address the hc speech.

To me it doesn’t sound like you’re coming from a Chinuch perspective.

What happens in camp is “making an example” of the camper who dares keep that smile of his face when the HC is serious. This is abusive

In order to make sure the kid isn’t a delicate snowflake you don’t need to be abusive.

The HC becomes the enemy day one when in many many cases he would’ve had a shot at being an influential figure for the kid.

June 21, 2021 5:17 pm

Thank you for your words of wisdom!

June 25, 2021 3:17 pm

The exact approach the Rebbe would want.

Plant someone...
June 25, 2021 5:46 pm

on the bus up to camp have the adult go over to a certain camper and get them to be the “Korban” like this no one gets hurt and the kids will behave…..

Head counselor
June 27, 2021 2:42 am

Maybe the names of the head counselors who continue to call out a child, thus degrading and maybe damaging the kid chas v’sholom, should be published publicly. Future in laws should know if this is a compatible young man for their daughter.