As first year Camp Yachad Senior Counselors, we have been dreaming of being chosen to become Maccabiah Generals since we were campers. It was a wonderful surprise when we got home from camp last week on an ordinary Thursday afternoon, soon to realize that dream was becoming a reality. When Courtney got home, she was shocked to see two members of the Camp Leadership Team sitting on the steps of her front door. They handed her a piece of paper, a packing list for the night, with a gold Camp Yachad bracelet, and before she knew it she had a bag packed and was in the car on the way to surprise the next soon-to-be Maccabiah General. Next stop was Talia’s house where she got the same packing list with a blue bracelet instead. That was the very beginning of the two teams: Gold Fire and Blue Ice.
That night, we learned who the eight Maccabiah Generals of 2014 would be as they arrived from their own Leadership Team pick up. On Gold Fire: Justin Kaufman, Courtney Lane, Jamie Levitt, and Lance Glinn. On Blue Ice: Talia Sion, Dan Firestone, Jess Rothbard, and Leigh Abramson. We spent the night crafting a plan for Break Out the next day in which we would surprise the entire camp by announcing the beginning of Color War. It was so much fun brainstorming with all of the Generals, trying to create the best way to announce this long-known camp tradition. Then the two teams divided to create our songs and cheers which we would begin to teach all of the campers the very next day.
The next morning at camp, we had to keep Maccabiah a complete secret among both the campers and the counselors so Break Out would truly be a surprise. Even though some campers were disappointed that the Rick Recht was just a cover for Break Out, they were all so excited for the start of Maccabiah! Before the weekly Shabbatones Concert, all of the camp divided into Gold Fire and Blue Ice, and we began teaching our teams the songs and cheers we worked so hard on the previous night.
Monday morning, every camper eagerly got off their bus proudly sporting different shades of blue or gold. Opening Session was a beautiful ceremony highlighting the core values of Maccabiah: teamwork, good sportsmanship and having fun! The next two days consisted of many different activities and competitions; some by group, by unit, or even the entire camp coming together to support their team. Some of the highlights include Gold Fire winning Anagrams and the Mostest, while Blue Ice won Tug-o-War and Yacht or Not. By the end of Day Two, the judges announced that the two teams were completely tied!
The only events left for Wednesday were the all camp Apache Relay, the Song and Cheer competition, and the Generals presentations of the team banners. The Apache Relay is one huge relay race in which every single camp group does a different event all leading up to the General’s event. We had to wrap up one General like a mummy in toilet paper and whichever team finished three whole rolls won first. After a neck and neck Apache Relay, Blue Ice finished the Mummy Wrap first, winning 500 points for Blue Ice! Next, both teams sung their hearts out while performing their song and cheers for the judges. Then, the Generals brought in our team banners in which we spent hours upon hours working on after camp ended Monday night in the art studio. The Gold Team crafted a bonfire that lit up and was made of real wooden logs with real marshmallows being roasted in the fire. The Blue Team created a sparkly winter wonderland with a huge foam igloo with snowmen inside to represent the Generals, and snowflakes in the sky to represent each group and camper on Blue Ice.
After a long judging session and a lot more cheering from both teams, the judges presented the results. Gold Fire won both the song and cheer events, but Blue Ice won the banner competition. The overall results made Blue Ice the victors of Maccabiah 2014! Then all the Generals ran to the outdoor pool, took off our sneakers, and as per tradition, we all jumped into the pool after what was an extremely close, hardworking, and successful Maccabiah!