Kol HaTnua - Voice of the Movement Exhaustion and Exhilaration: Hadracha Plus – Halley Gerber
By Sharon Schoenfeld
Hadracha Plus (H+) was one of the most influential and unique Young Judaea experiences of my life. Going into the program this summer, I had no idea what to expect, but was very hopeful and open-minded. I went to Camp Young Judaea Sprout Lake both sessions for six years, and vividly remember having an H+ counselor stay in my bunk for second session almost every summer. I remember treating them the same as I would any other counselor that I’ve had. They were always very passionate about camp and really enjoyed being around the campers. As a camper, I couldn’t wait to be in Hadracha Plus when I was older. When my final summer as a camper at Tel Yehudah finally rolled around, I was exceptionally excited to make this summer the best one yet.
After having an amazing first session at TY in the Hadracha program, I was anxious to start the H+ program. My peers in the program were many people from my previous summers at camp and it made me feel both excited and nervous to become closer to them and to share in this unique experience of Hadracha Plus together. One of the head staff members at Sprout Lake assigned me to the kesher girls, who are 12 years old. I felt really happy to be assigned to this age group because they’re at such a transitional stage in their lives and I felt could make a lasting positive impression on them..
The H+ program was both exhausting and exhilarating. I loved being able to have mature and interesting discussions with all of my friends in the program and also get the opportunity to help lead activities for my kesher girls’ bunk. During H+, you’re constantly being critiqued by your peers and by your madrichim (counselors) in order to help condition you to become a better madrich/madricha (counselor). This process helped me identify my strengths and weaknesses and use them to my advantage in life in addition to becoming a better counselor. I am so thankful that my co-counselors were not only helpful, but that I got along with them very well. I was also very grateful to have had a well-behaved, sweet, and fun-loving group of campers.
Towards the end of the summer, I’d come to the realization that I knew myself better than at the beginning of the session. I knew it was going to be difficult to leave a place that had taught me so much and had given me a lot of amazing memories that will never be forgotten. We had all become so close with each other during H+ and it was amazing to have been in this program with some of the most incredible people I have ever met in my life. Hadracha Plus made me so excited to become a camp counselor!
Halley is from Poughkeepsie, New York and is excited to be part of the new Young Judaea group forming at her synagogue, Temple Beth El.