Training Camp Day 4

The first ever UP training camp has come to a beautiful close. All the kids are on their way home and the staff is unwinding with an evening at the beach. All is well in Acco.

The morning began with another great breakfast followed by a meeting in the auditorium where David ran through the plan for the day. Soon after the whole camp was out on the fields getting ready for the campers vs. coaches game! Two simultaneous games were played with all the campers subbing into both games. Despite David’s assertion that the camper’s wouldn’t score, the campers pulled through and managed to score first in one of the games. With music playing and some great sideline cheer support, the games flew on with an amazing array of skill.

After the games came to a close, the Blue and Yellow boys teams got to warming up for their finals game, a rematch of the last pool play game from yesterday. They game was close the whole way and particularly notables for its high level of play. Yellow even managed to pull off a fantastic greatest play that led to a goal two passes later. In the end, Blue prevailed on a long huck after a very long point.

Next up, the Evergreen girls took on team Mudslide. With the wind picking up, Mudslide came out with a 5-0 lead, but Everygreen fought back to 5-3, before falling a couple points lates 7-5. In addition to the high level of play on the field, Jolian kept things quite lively on the sideline with his announcer antics.

Everyone then moved into cleanup and packing mode. The kids did a good job at cleaning their rooms and soon we were all grouped in the dining hall enjoying our last lunch together. My team, Nutella, broke out our amazingly spectacular three part table cheer, and soon the whole place was lit up with cheers coming from all the other teams. We got further into the action by doing the cheer of girls champs, and sister team, Mudslide. After lunch, every moved back into the auditorium for the closing ceremonies. David spoke well on the ethos of the camp, what Ultimate Peace means, and then moved into the team spirit/MVP awards. We sang the camp song, David got the admin team on stage, and then all the teams went out into the Manof for their last team meetings.

Team Nutella grouped up at our tree and first went around the circle talking about highlights of the week. The kids spoke beautifully. One of our players gave out a special jersey he had brought to his pick for MVP, Asan. Then each coach spoke, and Adam gave out a jersey to the most improved player, Bebosh. Last, we cheered, did a group picture, and then gave out the Ultimate Peace discs. The kids took turns signing each other’s disc, and saying goodbye. Over at the gates the kids found their rides and headed home. It was hard to say goodbye.

After all the kids were on the road home, the whole staff met in the Mohadone break room and David led a feedback session for a little over an hour. We talked about high points and things that could improve. At about 5:15 the meeting broke and we all prepped quickly for a trip to the beach!

A short taxi bus ride later, the whole staff was on the Acco beach enjoying the sunset and the company of friends. We had a fantastic time as the sun went down.

We’re now all back on campus. Tomorrow we all head out to go rafting on the Jordan River, which will be followed by a tour of the Golan Heights. We can’t wait. We then have a free day… and then Summer Camp begins!

The time is flying by.

Fundraising Update and Tel Aviv Part 2

My first fundraising deadline (6/21) is coming up very soon. While I will continue my fundraising efforts until mid-August, I am hoping to have most of my donations collected by this first deadline.

Thank you again for all of your wonderful support!

Yesterday we spent another glorious day exploring Tel Aviv.

I managed to seep in until 9:30am, which felt great, but was more unconsciousness than I had planned. After getting a bit of emailing done, I made the walk out to the water and then south to Maggie and Nathan’s hostel. They both met me in the lobby and we then walked south east to the Shuk, a large, shaded market containing a massive amount of… everything. We saw lots of clothing, trinkets, and tons of great food. It’s a shaded street market, so it was rather crowded, but not overly so. Towards the south end of the first street we walked down I found a wonderful cheese shop, and had to by come Cambozola blue cheese. Yum! A few yards down the street, we stopped and purchased a round of specialty chocolate. At the end of the street we turned around, and walked back up, this time, paying attention to the other side of the street.

Half way up I bough a 5nis ($1) baguette, which we followed up with a 1kg purchase of Baklava! Back in the main square we turned down the artists street, browsed some fantastic art, then found a street cafe/restaurant to sit at. Maggie had some great Falafel and Nathan a sandwich while I down half a baguette and most of my Cambozola. While eating we had a nice chat with a family from MN. Next, we walked back to the hostel, locked up our stuff, and went to the beach for some time soaking in the very refreshing water!

After swimming, we got cleaned up and relaxed for a while in a nearby airconditioned lobby. While there we ran into another Ultimate Peace Coach, Gabe. While relaxing and sending out a small flurry of texts, we arranged to meet up with Chelsea for dinner. By about 8pm we were all gathered up in northern Tel Aviv where we had a great meal of pizza and focaccia, topped off by some great ice cream.

Overall it was a fantastic day of soaking in the city and lots of wonderful food!

Today the plan is to see as much of Jerusalem as possible. Maggie and Nathan are meeting me here at Chelsea’s in the next hour to start our day. While out in Jerusalem I’m hoping to make the trip to Bethelehem to meet up with Hamouda. Also, I need to spend some time this evening polishing up my coaching clinic notes, which I will need tomorrow.

Tel Aviv

My morning began to the active city sounds of Tel Aviv. Given that I can sleep through any noise (for the most part), I had a very smooth sleep… that was also propelled by being spectacularly tired. After catching up on a few emails and getting cleaned up, I headed out to walk down to the hostel where Maggie and Nathan are now staying.

My walk took me to the coast where I got my first view of the water. Gorgeous blue with glowing sand. Wonderful. The morning was heating up quickly, but not to any massive extremes. I found Maggie and Nathan and we immediately walked out to the beach. The water was absolutely perfect and terrifically refreshing! Next, we packed up and headed south along the coast. About 15 blocks later we turned east into Tel Aviv and explored Shabazi and Rothchild streets. We grabbed lunch at an Israeli-style diner, and then back tracked to the coast. In Jaffa we were treated to an elevated view of Tel Aviv, a walk through some gardens, a tour of St. Paul’s Cathedral, and a few artisan galleries. Along the way we picked up a round of gelato and also made our way through a flea market.

We then walked back to the hostel where Nathan rested for a bit while Maggie and I took another trip to the beach. Maggie and I then met back up with Nathan for a cafe trip, which we followed by dinner at The Thai House. After an excellent meal, with conversation spanning some great Ultimate policy topics (Refs? AUDL? The future of youth Ultimate?), we parted ways with plans to meet up tomorrow to explore some local markets and hopefully play some pickup Ultimate in the evening. There’s also a chance I might make it out to Bethlehem to meet up with Hamouda.

Off to sleep I go.