A storm of hugs

With a bright sun shining overhead, Training Camp 2013 finished up this afternoon at around 2pm with team meetings. Each team said their goodbyes, and then the kids were off. It’s truly rather jarring that the session is already. On one level, everyone is completely exhausted, but in such a fantastic way that you kind of expect tomorrow to start with breakfast with the kids, followed by more games. While that’s not going to happen tomorrow — we have a staff social day — it’s only a few more days until the summer camp masses arrive at Manof. Training Camp has prepared us well. We’re ready for the 145+ kids. Bring ’em on. We can’t wait.

Flickr Photos Album – 6/29/13
YouTube Video – 6/29/13

Morning coffee was followed by our last dining hall breakfast, part of which was used by the players to fill out the end of camp survey. Afterwards we all filled into the auditorium for a few announcements and some wake-up stretching led by Nancy and David. The whole camp then moved out onto the Manof field for the final camp games! First though, we had to take the all-camp photo.

Training Camp 2013!

While the combined girls teams warmed up for their game, the staff played a short 15-minute exhibition game. I got in for a few points and managed not to totally embarrass myself. I didn’t drop an discs, caught several passes, and managed to throw an assist. I was a bit winded though, a true and totally unsurprising sign of not being in shape. At all. Something to work on. After we cleared the field, the girls started their game with Pink/Charcoal playing Royal/Maroon. The game was competitive, spirited, and full of great plays. It’s truly remarkable how far the girls have come in such a short time. Zone was thrown, deep throws were completed, and patient handlers worked around and through cups. Afterwards the girls circled up, picked a spirit award winner for each team, and then I took some group photos of all the girls. We ended up getting a few new fun shots into the mix.

Training Camp 2013 huddle

The boys finals teams, Green and Orange, then took the field after finishing their warmups during the end of the girls game. The boys played extremely well, with lots of deep shots patient offense, and a high number of very strong d-blocks. In the end, Green took home the win in convincing fashion. Go Ferocious Pickles!

A Ferocious Pickle brings down a catch in traffic

The kids then had an hour to clean up and pack. They ended up doing a pretty good job and by noon they had all brought their luggage to the area outside the dining hall. Lunch was it’s regular loud and spirited self with everyone having a great time. We then moved into the auditorium for the closing ceremonies, which were kicked off by the first showing of the camp slide show and video highlight real. Both pieces were well received with lots of cheering a laughter. A big thanks to video master David Z for spending so much time last night putting together the video highlights!

David then started the end of camp ceremony. He talked about camp, named the starting 7 — the camp’s most spirited players as chosen by the coaches — and said thanks to everyone who made the camp possible. David spoke very well about each person who made UP possible, and then Tomer said some very nice words about Linda, David, and Tomer.

Tomer and David

It was particularly emotional when the whole staff got to get up on stage together. It’s such a wonderful team.

Training Camp staff 2013

Nancy and David closed out the ceremony and then all the teams moved out into the quad for their last team meetings. Team Pink started off by saying what they most enjoyed about camp. The girls spoke very well about their experiences. We also decided that Idan should be the one to take the Pink Ladies flag since he’d be visiting many UP communities in the coming year and he could take the flag wherever he went. We also tied more string bracelets on each other, a wonderful tradition I got from my travels to Laos. Each girl would speak about what they wished for the person whose wrist they were putting the string on, as they tied the string on. It was so heart-warming to see.

Our own Baci celebration

During out meeting I also gave each girl a purple wrist band — a special item from my time at St. Johnsbury Academy. I also awarded Ruba a Black Ice 2013 hat for being named the team’s most improved player. The girls were also given their player evaluations, which, of course, they immediately wanted to read. The last thing we did was get a group picture taken before the girls spread out into the quad to say goodbye to everyone else at camp.

Team Pink Ladies! :)

For the next 30 minutes I circulated around the quad saying goodbye to players and taking photos. Fortunately, many Training Camp kids will be returning next week for Summer Camp, so many of the goodbyes were muted. All over the place kids were finding different ways to say goodbye. The kids were so openly genuine with their feelings for each other. It was truly special to see.

Saying goodbye

By just before 3pm, we wrapped up our hugs and goodbyes and with all the students headed home, the staff gathered up in the dining hall for a feedback session lef by Nancy and David. We talked about lots of aspects of the camp while things were fresh in our minds. We capped off the meeting with many people sharing what they most appreciated about Ultimate Peace. It was quite a series of speeches. By 4:15 we wrapped up and headed back to the Mohadoun to get changed for our time at the beach.

Post-camp staff feedback session

We all then got changed and gathered up at 5pm at the main gates to the Mohodoun where we caught a small fleet of cabs that took us the short distance to the nearby beach. There we enjoyed socializing, swimming in the warm water, and just generally relaxing on the beach. Kelsie broke out her amazing, super fun to use large kite, and several people (including me) got to try flying it over the beach. It was way too much fun. Other people played fun disc games, and some free styled. It was the perfect way to cap off the last day of Training Camp 2013.

We’re all now back at the Mohodoun. Several coaches have already left for home and a bunch more leave tomorrow evening after our staff trip to raft on the Jordan river. Everyone is excited to rest, but they are way more excited for the impending invasion of 145+ campers for Summer Camp.

All is very well in the land of Camp Ultimate Peace.

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