Two Israeli counselors join Camp JCC staff this summer

by | Apr 3, 2015 | Other News

Two Israeli Scouts (Tzofim) will play an integral part of all eight weeks of Camp JCC this summer. These teenage girls, Hagar Sella and Shay Lopatner, are eager to join campers and counselors in Tidewater and are already working hard to be part of the Camp JCC staff.

As Israeli cultural specialists at Camp JCC, these girls will interact with campers of all ages and will play a large part of Jewish programming during camp, including the Friday Shabbat Celebration.

In Israel, these girls have been through a rigorous interview and orientation program to be a representative of Tzofim to the United States for summer camp. Training included eight weekends during the year spent learning how to be emissaries for their country. The Delegates learned to create activities for campers to introduce them to Israeli culture, arts, geography, history and more. The goal of the Delegate program is to forge a closer relationship between young Americans and Israelis, and encourage American children to plan visits and forge closer ties to Israel.

Hagar Sella is 17 years old and is from Givatyim, a city near to Tel Aviv. A Scout since fourth grade, she and her family have traveled abroad to Sri Lanka, Hong Kong and Africa. “I believe that traveling in a lot of places and experiencing different cultures widens your horizons and make you think differently,” she says. Interested in biology at school, Sella also enjoys working out and dancing, and is thinking about becoming a sports consultant.

“In about a year and a half I will join the IDF, Israel Defense Forces,” she says. “Serving in the army is extremely significant for me. I think it is a great privilege.” Until then, she is finishing school and looking forward to her summer at Camp JCC.

Shay Lopatner, also 17, lives in Or-Yehuda near Tel Aviv and has also been a Scout since the fourth grade. Like Sella, she has spent recent years in the Scouts in a supervisory position for younger members. She has danced since she was six years old and is interested in ballet, modern dance and choreography.

“I like to go out on hikes,” she says. “I like to see new views that I have never seen before…to visit cities, and see new cultures… I really want to know more about the American culture.”

Want to house an Israeli Delegate or Scout this summer? The Simon Family JCC needs host families beginning June 12. Families would ideally house a counselor for one or two weeks through August 14.

A group of 20 performing scouts in the “Caravan” will also visit camp June 28 and 29 and need housing for the nights of June 27 and 28. Contact Alicia Kraus or 321-2323 if interested in hosting Delegates or members of the Caravan.

by Leslie Shroyer