The bunk is at the very heart of the camp experience. This structure takes a handful of campers and staff and transforms them into a family. Kids sleep, eat, live, and breathe as a bunk, creating an unbreakable team and an everlasting bond. It’s the setting for countless childhood memories, and the birthplace of lifelong friendships.
As a microcosm of the camp, we make sure the bunk experience reflects our most important principles. Counselors are trained to nurture a caring environment, to resolve conflicts with fairness, and to set an example with patience and good character. Decisions and responsibilities that affect the bunk are often handled communally, teaching our campers the value of compromise and cooperation. There are labels around the bunk space in Hebrew, bringing the language of Israel into the living area.
Not to mention—it’s really fun! Playing games, telling jokes, sharing secrets… bunk life is like having a massive slumber party for three weeks!
Every cabin has bunk beds for 12 to 16 campers and 2 to 4 staff members. Before campers arrive, their beds and cubbies are chosen for them—this way, campers have a space waiting for them when they walk in and there’s no “advantage” for those who drive in earlier. Bunk assignments are made on the basis of school grade, gender, social and emotional maturity, and mutual requests
The bunks are roomy and air-conditioned. They have their own sinks, personal showers, and modern toilets. On laundry days, the campers’ clean, folded clothes will be delivered to cabins.
The Bunk Experience
Here are some of the activities a bunk shares on a daily basis:
Our prayer services, afternoon activities, and evening programs are all organized by age groups, i.e. including both genders. While we love for the whole grade to be together, we like our bunks to have some special activity time just for themselves.
That’s why we have the chaverut (“friendship”) period every morning. This is a chance for kids to pick their own activities, choosing programs with their counselors that they can enjoy just as a bunk. They could spend more time at the zip lines, doing craft projects, having a water fight, whatever—as long as the bunk is bonding, chaverut can be anything they dream of.
When you live in a communal space, cleanliness isn’t just about health—it’s about cooperation and teamwork. We emphasize this every day before lunch, when a bunk will get together to clean their cabin during “nikayon” (“cleaning time”).
The cleaning duties are listed on a wheel, which will rotate to indicate which job goes to which camper each day. Over the course of a session, every kid will manage every cabin responsibility, including sweeping the floors, making the beds, and wiping down the sinks. Nikayon brings bunkmates together by nurturing mutual respect and appreciation.
Refueling over delicious food is a wonderful setting for cabin-bonding, so our bunks share almost every meal together. We even forego the buffet line for family-style lunches, allowing kids to be even more present with their cabin-mates!
Menucha, or “rest hour” is a time after lunch each day when the campers and counselors go back to the cabin to have some quiet time. This is when campers receive letters and packages and write home. They have a chance to read a book, listen to music, or play quietly with their friends. Some even choose to take a nap.