Camp Gan Israel of Kensington, Brooklyn held a successful banquet at its Chabad House of Kensington center this past Thursday, August 6, to mark the conclusion of its summer session.
The exciting event drew a packed house of parents, grandparents and siblings, who came to participate in the climax of the children’s summer. The event was also highlighted by the participation of U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner, New York State Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny, and New York City Councilmembers Michael Nelson and Dr. Mathieu Eugene.
CGI’s campers, family members and Chabad community members were formally welcomed by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Levin, Chabad’s director, and his son Rabbi Yehuda Levin, who served as emcee. The crowd then heard from the afternoon’s four guest speakers, who successively took to the podium to support Chabad’s message of educational activities for youth, the future of any community, and their support for CGI’s work.
The program proceeded to a dramatic, almost emotional distribution of personalized award certificates to each camper. Each certificate highlighted its recipient’s most positive character trait, a touch not unnoticed by campers or parents. “They felt like they were recognized and special,” said Camp Director Rochie Levin, Innovator of the Youth Programs at Chabad of Kensington. A lighthearted yet touching slide show of camp followed, eliciting repeated cheers from the crowd.
The highlight of the event was the performances put on by campers for parents—entertaining skits that enhanced the banquet’s family atmosphere and emphasized its underlying message of “children first.” Many campers were later seen breaking down in tears, realizing that their beloved summer camp was now officially over.
The event, which celebrated the theme of Jewish identity and awareness, was organized with the unparalleled assistance of Gene Borsh, Director of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society’s LOREO and CVEI programs, and Valeriy Savinkin, representative of Census 2010 Bureau, “We give our heartfelt appreciation to them for all they have done for us,” said Rabbi Moshe C. Levin.
All in all, campers, family members and Chabad community members alike came away with a sense of pride and accomplishment, looking forward to making Chabad of Kensington their destination for Jewish family programming throughout the coming year—and looking forward to CGI 2010!
Chabad youth programs include Chabad Youth Zone, Chabad Teen Zone, Hebrew School, Bat Mitzvah Club and Camp Gan Israel. A beautiful picture gallery of the camp along with other activities can be viewed at the new and updated website www.chabadkensington.com.