All about Teva (Nature Chug)
One thing that makes camp so great is that our camp is in the woods, surrounded by nature! At Ramah, the hanichim have the opportunity to explore nature through our teva chug, led by our fabulous teva educators from Ifshin Gardens. In teva, the hanichim learn how to identify certain plants like Poison Ivy, Wood Sorrel, Wineberries, Sassafras and Perilla, as well as learn about the plants around us that are edible. The hanichim often go on nature hikes around camp to look for the plants they are learning about!
In addition to learning about plants, the hanichim learned about throwing sticks and how they were an important survival tool to our ancestors. They set up a throwing range with beanie babies of local animals including White-tailed Deer, Cardinal, Blue Jay, Canadian Goose, Squirrel, and practiced throwing the sticks! The Nitzanim hanichim were taught knife safety and got to carve the bark off of their throwing sticks.
The hanichim also practiced the ancient art of Fox Walking, a way of walking that is healthier for your feet, helps you walk silently in the woods, and creates greater awareness of how you are moving. Often times, when we walk regularly, we push our body weight forward and catch ourselves with each footfall. In contrast, with Fox Walking (and hanichim tested this out) you are able to stop at any moment because you decide when to shift your weight to the other foot. It forces you to engage muscles you do not normally use, in order to move with such precision. Afterwards the hanichim played a game called Fire Keeper where one person is blindfolded in the middle of a circle. There are objects placed nearby like jingly keys, water bottles, backpacks, small logs, etc. The goal is to walk up to the blindfolded person using fox walking, take an item, and sneak back out of the circle without getting pointed at!
At camp, we also offer teva as one of our bechirot on Fridays, where the hanichim are able to see what the teva chug is like! Last Friday, we had a fire demonstration where we learned how to build a fire! We learned the 3 elements of a fire: fuel, oxygen, and heat. The hanichim gathered dry grass from the field for the fire, and gathered wood to be broken down into distinct piles based on thickness. We learned how to hold a match in a safe way (heat always rises no matter how you hold it) and we lit the fire and all of the hanichim got to add a few sticks themselves. We then thanked the fire and all added a bit of water from our bottles. We stirred the soupy mixture with a large stick demonstrating how to make sure a fire is out. The hanichim are having so much fun learning about nature and our surrounding in a hands-on way!