Gan Israel Day Camp in Edgware, UK has always had a name for exciting activities, superb staff and an all-round wholesome, fun summer experience, but this year the camp’s reputation brought it numbers on an unprecedented scale.
“CGI Edgware has been running since 1989,” says Director Rabbi Yaron Jacobs of Lubavitch of Edgware, who co-directs the camp together with his wife, Mrs. Sarah Jacobs.
“When we first took over Directorship of Camp Gan Israel, Edgware in 5769/2009 we managed to attract just over 170 children. Every year we saw a steady increase of between 25-40 children attending and last year we reached 310: on par with a historical high at CGI Edgware.
“What we saw this year was without precedent,” continued Jacobs. “Our numbers had already superseded last years three weeks before the start of camp and before we knew it we had 430 campers.
“Finding the extra staff to help was a challenge on such short notice, but as always the Hashgocho Protis was uncanny, and all was underway and ready on time for two weeks of non-stop fun for the kids and hard work for the staff, numbering close to 70.”
“Our Head staff were fantastic,” says Sarah Jacobs, “full of ideas, enthusiasm and initiative. Everything that was put on their shoulders they managed to carry out with a smile on their face. Bearing in mind the number of children, that is an outstanding feat.”
Head staff of the boys’ camp were Tmimim Eytan Waxman of France and Elchonon Solomon of Venezuela, Bochurim Learning in Yeshiva Gedola Lubavitch, London.
Head Staff of the girls’ camp were Sara-Gila Brooks, an Edgware local, and Moussia Kievman of Liverpool, UK.
This year the camp’s theme was “Lighting up the World”. Each day the campers “travelled” to a different country lighting it up with Torah and Mitzvos having lots of fun on the way.
The children enjoyed schedules packed with arts ‘n’ crafts, sports, special activities including in-camp ice-skating, giant inflatable slides and assault courses, The Jungle bus – a double-decker London bus converted into a mobile soft-play centre, and professional dance classes for the girls. Added to that were weekly full-day trips to exciting theme-parks.
The directors are now looking forward to next year, to even bigger numbers, but are finding it difficult to locate an appropriate location in Yerusholayim.