The madrichim body’s reasons for why we can’t wait to get back to camp are endless. Some of the most pertinent reasons include:
“Maximum energy via photosynthesis.” – Jarryd P
“Building a canvas city. Also. Maximum chill times.” – Tomer S
“Hey, when will we be able to see some sort of schedule for planning seminar?” – Adi RB
“Wrong chat.” – Tomer S
“Sorry team.” – Adi RB
“But I’m most excited about frands and international [madrichim].” – Adi RB
“Jandal tan.” – Daniel J

All of these are great reasons to head to camp. It’s an awesome 22 degrees in Auckland right now, and if the whole Machane Simcha stays is like this, it will literally be the happiest camp ever. We can’t wait for the fresh air, the sun, the chance to escape the city, and the opportunity to be part of something important. That is, raising awesome young adults into awesome actual adults.

This week, we spoke to a few of you guys to hear your thoughts on camp. We heard from someone from Nitzanim, Amelim and Bonim and you all had some great thoughts about camp, and we can’t wait to spend those ten days with you.


Carmel has been to two camps already, and is becoming quite the expert on all things Habo. She still has one year left of being part of the youngest people on the campsite (aside from Shtillim), but she’s excited to be moving into Amelim for Machane 2018 and taking on a bit of responsibility around the place! (Although, she isn’t too keen on being far away from everything or up a huge hill, like the big kids were last year.)

When asked what her favourite part of camp is, Carmel is pretty sure it’s the wide game. She admits that she’s only participated in one wide-game so far, “the one that everyone dressed up as characters; it was really messy,” but she loved the challenge of finding clues, and playing against the madrichim in a sloppy battle of creamed corn and adrenaline.

Her madrichim last year were Phoebe, Jordan, Perry, “and a guy from Australia…” That’d be Idan! However, despite this cool collection of caretakers, the best madrichim were on Bonim Takeover, where Toby, Noah, Aner and Sophie woke them up with Noah’s chill ukulele skills. “That was a really cool way to start the day,” and the rest of the BTO weekend was just as awesome, apparently. Except for the part where she thought she broke her nose because she did a handstand and fell on her face. But that was pretty memorable…

Carmel is most looking forward to meeting new people this summer. Every year, more Jewish youth from around New Zealand join our machane giving us the chance to grow our community and make new friends, so we’re also excited to meet new people! Mizdar is also an awesome time; Carmel enjoys being in the thick of it with Sivan, saying “we were always in the middle doing the spread the hummus one.” When asked if she has a favourite chant, of course it’s “all of them!”

Meg has been to every summer camp and every winter camp since second year Shtillim, so you can say she’s pretty much an expert on all things machane. She doesn’t remember all of them, but when asked which camp her favourite one was, Meg recalls Machane Haganat Hateva (Defenders of Nature) in 2015. That camp was headed by our fearless now-mazkira Avigal Kazula and Barak Abitbol; when we asked Meg why it was her favourite camp, she noted that everything just felt like it fit together. “I feel like things were done well, like the wide game was good, the site was good, the camp parents were a good place to go to if we needed anything… Everything just felt like a really good community.” Which is awesome; community is important when you’re three hours out of Auckland!

There are always zillions of peulot run every day at camp. We try to balance out the pensive ones with the active ones, but Meg mostly enjoys the peulot that are discussion-based. She recalls one particular peulah where the group was split into two, and facilitated by a mad, were encouraged to discuss a whole range of issues including the environment and social problems, and how to fix them. Meg and I chatted for a bit about how this differs to school; we feel like at school during the year, you’re told to write about facts and ideas, but there’s little room for discussing “different viewpoints, and getting to hear things that make you think a little different.” That’s what we’re here for! We love facilitating discussions with you guys, and encouraging you all to think critically, outside the box!

When asked what she’s most looking forward to this summer, there’s obviously “quite a couple” of things. Meg is looking forward to getting away from the city. The forecast is looking amazing, so she’s eager to spend some time outside, get some fresh air, wash in the river and reconnect with friends who live in different cities. Meg reflected on the Amelim group for a bit, saying that they kind of feel like there’s a split between the older half and the younger half. We reckon that’s pretty natural at this point, but she’s looking forward to Chotrim, which seems to be a major bonding year for a lot of shichvot!

Ariella joins us on live Instagram video as I write this; she’s most looking forward to going in the river, “even though the leaders make us go in the river when it’s freezing cold…” #sorrynotsorry.
Ariella continues, “I dunno, this sounds really weird, but I also really like it when we get fruit.” (pause for giggle.) “Cos everyone’s really sick of everything, it feels good to eat healthy and get something fresh…” We feel ya, Ariella; we love fighting off scurvy too.


Noah has been join a Habo-nik since Amelim, and although he’s about the head into second year bonim, his Habo career definitely isn’t nearing its end! He’s planning to head on shnat in 2018, and would love to take on an active madrich role around Welly Ken, and whatever Ken in the city where he ends up studying.

(At this point, Noah’s sister Maya jumps on the phone to say hi – she’s also super keen for camp!)

Noah’s favourite camp so far would have to be second year Chotrim; “that’s when the group started getting really close, it felt like the first time we had a family…” We’ve seen huge leaps and bounds in terms of Chotrim bonding over the years, and we love seeing the chanichim form close, life-lasting connections at such a crucial part of their teenage years. Part of the reason Noah feels that was such a transformative year was partly because a lot of chanichim opted not to join them that year, leaving only a very small group behind. From this, a strong, cohesive bond was formed, due to their reliance and the need for trust in one another that summer.

When asked what his favourite peulah has been so far, Noah recalls one that involved just their small group of Bonim, sitting in a room writing letters to one another. The madrichim delivered the letters that evening, and everyone sent and received warm, positive vibes that carried them for weeks after. Noah believes this warm, positive, supportive environment is definitely representative of what Habo offers him, as at Habo he always feels “so loved and supported.”

(No, I’m not crying, my eyes are just sweating… With emotion…)

This will be Noah’s final summer camp as a chanich! The fun is far from over, though; once he’s a madrich, he’ll have a full three weeks over set up, leading and packdown to enjoy all the things he loves about Habo! He can’t settle on any one thing he’s most looking forward to (a recurring theme!) but definitely can’t wait to see everyone. He’s looking forward to the food, the environment, the beits, everything that’s great about summer camp!

The madrichim also can’t wait to see you guys! The chanichim are what makes Habo what it is, and without you guys, we’d just be a group of crazy millenials digging holes in a field. We have so much in store for you guys this summer, so we’ll see you there!