This morning began with an even higher energy level running through camp than usual. With only a half day left of camp, everyone was trying to savor every moment. After breakfast and a short meeting in the auditorium, all of the non-finals bound teams made it out to the main fields for two simultaneous coed pickup games.
All of the teams were mixed together and the games were played 4-3. The on and off field energy was wonderful. The kids played and cheered hard. Even though the temperature was climbing to around 37 C, everyone was active. By around 10:15, the two mixed games finished up and the four finals teams started their warm ups. Soon after, both finals games were started side by side so everyone could watch both games at the same time. I was impressed by the overall high level of play and how much all four teams had improved over the course of the camp.
After the finals the kids were sent off to clean up their rooms and pack. The center of Manof was eventually filled with bags, which were then all moved over to outside the dining hall during lunch. During the packing time I got to sit in while the 8 campers from Bethlehem were interviewed about their experience at UP. It was wonderful to hear them speak about what they had seen, learned, and come away with.
The last lunch was loud and electric. Teams worked through their cheer repertoires, and there were very few quiet moments. Shortly after 12:30 we all packed into the auditorium for camp closing.
David led the procession of thank you speeches, and other notes of recognition including the all-camp starting 7, the highest player recognition in camp. Team White Noise’s very own Maia made the team! Go Maia!
All of the teams then gathered up around campus for their last team meetings. White Noise’s meeting was full of heartfelt speeches and lots of signing of discs and hats. I now have a coaching hat that will last me a long, long while. By a little after 2:30, campers started getting picked up. I traded my first jersey in a long, long while to obtain a Team Israel jersey which I am currently wearing. Lots of hugs and goodbyes later, all the kids were on their way home.
Given the whirl-wind nature of camp, the transition to post-camp tasks was almost immediate. About 45 minutes after the last camper left I found myself, along with several other Camp UP people, picking up a rental car. I had a great time driving it back to Manof where right after I got back we all packed up and went to the beach. On the sand and rocky beach, the staff had a wonderful time being social, playing games, and swimming. We ate Falafel, enjoyed being amongst our UP family, and wished the evening would never end.
We’re now all back at the Manof the exodus of staff has begun. David and his family has taken off, and so have several other coaches. Tomorrow, many of us head out for community visits, and then on Saturday we’re going rafting.
Good, good times.