What makes Camp Shomria so unique is our strong sense of community. All campers, from the youngest (7) to the oldest (16), have a chance to get to know each other and become friends. We emphasize the importance of appreciating and respecting every member of our Moshava (camp). Every Saturday night we close out the week with Havdalah, an event where all the campers have an opportunity to perform music, show off their talents, and tell stories around a beautiful bonfire. These events support inclusion so that even the shyest child can find a place among the performers.
Both chanichimot (campers) and madrichimot (counselors) have an astounding amount of ownership over the year-round activities and the summer camp. We give youth responsibility and trust them with decision-making, allowing them to form a deep sense of care for themselves and their community. Because campers start taking an ownership interest in Hashomer Hatzair from an early age, they learn leadership skills that serve them well throughout their lives. Hashomer Hatzair views democracy as not only a political means, but as a way of life. Democracy is interwoven into all of our structures. Not only is there respect between older and younger people, the youth at Camp Shomria have a say over the activities they participate in. Every summer we hold weekly Town Halls where campers can give feedback and suggestions for how to improve camp.
As American Jews who are part of the worldwide youth movement, Hashomer Hatzair, we are connected to Israel in a variety of ways including through our families, the movement partners there, and our collective history and shared culture. We have always taken care to focus our education on Israel through a nuanced, honest, experiential, and humanistic lens. We also build a strong cultural connection to Israeli society and Kibbutz values through our in-depth experiential education, activities like Rikudei Am (traditional folk dance) and Shira (singing), and by incorporating Hebrew into the everyday life of our activities. The values of Achvat Amim (Solidarity of Nations) and social justice are at the heart of Hashomer Hatzair and we work towards seeing those values reflected in our society, in the United States and in Israel. Our oldest campers (rising Juniors) spend 3 weeks at the camp and 4 weeks in Israel on a special training program called Yedid. They have a chance to enhance their leadership skills and knowledge of Israel and Jewish history. At the end of the program, they graduate and become counselors and leaders of our community.
For many of our campers, Hashomer Hatzair is the main expression of their Jewish identity; and because of this we aim to provide an open and accessible environment for alternative interpretations of Judaism. Hashomer Hatzair works to be involved in, and respectful of, other Jewish and non-Jewish communities. We try to develop a foundation of secular humanistic Judaism as well as an educational groundwork for Tikkun Adam, Tikkun Olam (“Repair thyself, Repair the world”). While we are grounded in secular Judaism, we believe that every individual should be provided with a pluralistic space to interpret Judaism in his or her own way. Our goal is to balance inclusivity while maintaining our Jewish heritage.
The education that takes place at Camp Shomria exists in many different forms. We believe that there is something to be learned all the time, and we are conscientious of how we run all of our activities--from sports in which all are encouraged to play, regardless of ability or skill, to discussions where a fundamental rule is to respect all points of view. To complement the healthy and active life we live at camp, we make sure that intellectual development is taking place as well. Our chanichimot (campers) tackle challenging issues and texts from an early age and become sophisticated thinkers over time--capable of independently planning activities as they eventually become counselors themselves.
We strive to create an ecologically conscious and ethical culture through a curriculum that emphasizes sustainability, experiential learning, and an exploration of the environmental issues affecting our Earth. We also have a functional farm that grows herbs and vegetables, and has eggs from our chickens. Through daily engagement with the farm and the surrounding area, our youth learn how to grow food and how we can work together to heal the Earth. Food from the farm is incorporated into the healthy meals served in our dining room. Energy from the solar panels on our dining hall supplies most of our electrical needs and contributes to the electrical grid during the off-season months.
At Camp Shomria, we believe in the importance of interacting with the natural environment – hiking, camping out, and spending time at lakes and rivers. We place an emphasis on learning and practicing tzofiut (scouting) with the goal of instilling resourcefulness and a love of nature in our chanichimot. Campers learn survival skills like starting campfires, building shelters, and plant identification. By the end of the summer, campers don't just appreciate nature, but feel comfortable in it.