The Tzeirei HaShluchim West Coast Winter Boys Camp in Glendale, California, in partnership with Merkos 302’s MyShliach, has concluded an amazing fun-packed week of chayus, chassidishkeit and excitement.
115 Tzeirei HaShluchim from across the West Coast have come together for eight days of fun and friendship in a chassidishe atmosphere. Most of these boys live outside of established Jewish communities and this unique camp gives them a special opportunity to enjoy what many other Jewish children take for granted.
A special curriculum was compiled by MyShliach with the assistance of Rabbis Mendel Shanowitz and Mendy Kotlarsky. This curriculum is geared specifically toward Tzeirei HaShluchim in remote and small communities and its objective is to help them overcome challenges unique to their Shlichus.
The exceptional staff was led by head-counselors Mendel Barber, Shaya Itkin and Mendel Bergstein who provided round-the clock chassidishe warmth and a positive environment for these precious children.
Following is a reflection of the camp written by a staff-member:
Here I sit, alone and late at night, reflecting on a week of camp that has passed me by all too fast. The pen hangs limp in my hand as I attempt to commit my thoughts to paper, and my mind is drawn to an image I once saw.
In the midst of a barren desert, palm trees sway, and a spring of cool water bubbles in their shade. A sight for sore eyes indeed is a desert oasis; a place to recharge, quench one’s thirst and draw strength to continue on.
Camp Tzeirei Hashluchim Winter Camp is one such oasis. Not just a spatial one, but an oasis in time as well. A place where young shluchim come to recharge in the warmth and brotherhood of the Rebbe’s camp. A place where the fire of Chassidus and Shlichus shines, kindling the torch of each young shliach who crosses the threshold. And just like a desert oasis, in THWC the boys recharge and draw inspiration, socially, physically and spiritually.
You see, some of these boys are in the same online school class, yet have never met each other. Some live 4 hours from the nearest frum family, and most live far from chassidishe communities. Once a year though, in Glendale California, under the auspices of Rabbis Simcha Backman, Nachman Abend and Shloime Bistritsky and directed by the veteran camp directors Rabbis Zalmy Kudan and Mendel Loschak, these boys gather together for a week of a lifetime.
To portray the camaraderie and achdus shared by these young shluchim is difficult, yet it is even more difficult to describe the elevated atmosphere that pervades camps’ grounds. Everything here is different. The conversations, the ball games, the farbrengens, and even the trips, everything here simply operates on an exalted plane. Achdus, brotherhood, and commitment to the Rebbe are not just ideals looked up to, they are the guiding principles, the standard. The energy here is unlike any other I have experienced, intangible, yet so real. I sense an almost invisible thread running latent in every interaction, drawing in staff and campers alike with its embrace. From a counselor singing a niggun friday night,
arm in arm with his campers, to the baseball field where two campers play catch, and even late at night when the lights are out, that invisible thread dances from bunk to bunk.
We made and gave out a special calendar this year, with every camper’s birthday marked inside. This way, on a shliach’s special day, when he will no doubt be physically distant from his friends, they can call and join in his simcha. I believe that the calendar is not just a nice parting gift, nor is it a cute way for kids to remember camp. It is the natural outcome from a week of such closeness. The Shlichim are one family, their father is the Rebbe, and their mission is the thread that binds them together.
Families celebrate each other’s birthdays, and the family of shluchim is no different.
In conclusion, I recognize now what I have felt all along. In THWC, the Rebbe is here, tangible and present. When children gather together in love and unity, how can their father not join them. I came to camp to inspire, yet I leave inspired myself, embraced, and proud to be part of this family.
Following the week of the Tzeirei HaShluchim Camp, we are now in the middle of the Tzeirei HaShluchos camp with over 100 girls participating.
This camp is organized and run by Shluchim for Shluchim. The executive committee overseeing the camps funding and operations are California Shluchim Rabbis Simcha Backman, Nachman Abend and Shlomo Bistritsky.
A very special thanks to all the supporters of the Tzeirei HaShluchim Camp, especially Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, Reb Shmulik Aizenberg, Reb Shalom Leytin, and Reb Yosef Gorowitz.
To help fund this special and unique camp please click here: