Meir Shefaya, from a youth village to a summer camp

ב“ה

April 1903 the death of two ukrainian youth led to pogroms in the city of Kishinev, today in Rumania. 49 Jews have been murdered and almost 600 partly badly injured.

In order to provide the surviving children of this massaker a new home and to prepare them for a future in Israel, the previous Moshava founded 1891, the village Meir Shefaya, has been taken over. It is situated a few kilometers from Zichron Ya’acov and located on the branches of the Carmel. In the following years the youth village served as a home for orphans from the 1st World War. After 1933, children escaping the nazis, found there a secure home. 1957 it has been taken over by the Israeli state and the Hadassah Foundation, till today a co-operating.

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Youth aliya

Today about 300 youth live in the village. They belong to a group of endangered children and juveniles. Their life story, family and social environment made a start in life difficult. In the village they have new experiences and may determine their new place in life. Pupils are from various origins, Jews, Druze, Muslims, Ethiopians, Russians, Bedouins, and refugees from Erithrea, at first they visit special classes when required. About 300 pupils from outside visit regular classes. It is interesting to note, that the share of successful matriculation exams is about double of the Israeli average.

Since the youth village has no income beside the support of the ministry of education, the total compound is rented during the summer vacation.

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#BIGIDEA Israeli Summer Camps is offering since eight years summer camp programs for children aged seven up to eighteen. In four units of two weeks tailor made programs for the age groups 7-10, 11-12, 13-14 and 15-18 are offered. In charge of the participants are young adults, over eighteen years old, with a special training. Students, graduates from technical high schools and others who served in techncal units in the IDF. Beside English and Yvrith most of the tutors speak an other language. One tutor for 4-5 participents makes sure that every participant has an optimized care. Camp language is English, but Yvrith will not remain for long a foreign language, current knowledge is improved or the basics are studied.

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Each time maximum 15 guests are children or juveniles with diagnosed Asperger Syndrom or autists. They are entirely integrated into the regular programs. The repeated daily routines provide necessary security and structure, enabling them to accept new experiences. Already before joining the village intensive talks between children, parents and tutors take place. These talks, held in Israel or via Skype, are important to know strength and weakness of the future participants.

 

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The name of the camp is program: The “International Technology Summer Camp” emphasizes in five activity groups, with a total of 35 workshops, modern and attractive technologies. Design of websites, programming, mobile apps, YouTubes, digital photography, videos, graphic-, juwellery- and fashiondesign, 3D technics, theater, windsurfing, chess, life studies of the local stone louse, introduction into entrepreneurial thinking for graduates…… and all the games, fun and entertainment on the campus and on the near beach. No boredom for sure! The complete infrastructure of a modern school and boarding school such as sport facilities, swimming pool, public halls and laboratories and computerlabs leave no desires open.

Intensive trying and learning alternate with sport and outdoor activities. No chance for couch potatoes, on the contrary.

Evenings are busy with BBQ, dancing, various contests and talent shows. Kabbalat Shabbat is duly celebrated together. New melodies are learnt and every one has a chance for participating. Afterwards, orthodox participants have the possibility for the traditional services in the adjacent synagogue.

Accomodation is in three-bed rooms and care has been taken that kids with the same language do not live together. Two units each share a bath room. In view of nocturnal parties and pillow battles, on every floor lives one tutor to make sure that something like sleeping time is maintained. The camp has a physician available anytime.

Meals are varied, healthy and kosher and served usually from a buffet.

For summer 2016 the organizer, a private organisation co-operating with the ministry of education, is expecting about 900 guests. About half from Israel, 25% from the USA and Canada, 15% from France. 10% are from the UK, Spain, Germany Turkey and China.

Children and juveniles travelling alone are received at the airport before the passport control and transported with reliable cabs to the camp. The organisation of the flight, assistance on board and purchase of the tickets are the responsibility of the parents.

It is understood that #BIGIDEA has an adequate insurance and during the duration of the camp an additional health insurance is provided.

For many children vacationing in Israel is the first separation with their parents. For them daily videos are prepared about the activities of their children. The “virtual presence“ makes sure that they don’t have to be overworried.

Between sessions in the camp short excursions are offered to Jerusalem, Dead Sea and Galil so the participants get to know our beautiful country.

#BIGIDEA adopts to the requirements of the participants and set the objective to more than just a summer camp. Statements from previous participants are proof for the full success.

For Information, Registration Forms and much more visit the website

b/w pictures taken from here, colored ones from #BIGIDEA 

© esther scheiner, israel

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