Camp Stone

Camp Stone is an Orthodox Jewish summer camp located in Sugar Grove, Pennsylvania. It is owned by Young Israel of Cleveland and operated by the Bnei Akiva youth movement. Their vision is to cultivate a lifelong commitment to Am Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael, and Torat Yisrael. They encourage children to develop their own individual leadership potential, enable them to become self-reliant, and encourage them to become a contributing and functional member of the group or "kvutza."

The camp is the only one of Bnei Akiva of the United States and Canada's summer camps that is not simply named Camp Moshava. Rather, it is named after noted Jewish philanthropist, Irving I. Stone, who purchased the old campus of Camp Deer Run in order to allow Young Israel to set up a new summer camp and replace its old one. Until Camp Stone was opened, members of Bnei Akiva from the Midwest United States were typically sent to the Camp Moshava associated with Chicago, first in Rolling Prairie, Indiana and later in Wild Rose, Wisconsin. When Camp Stone opened, it primarily served campers from Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh and other Midwestern cities east of Chicago. In the early 1990s a large group also began coming from New Jersey.

Every month there is a camp theme around which all activities are based. The theme is always educational and teaches about either a portion of Jewish history, Zionism, or an important Jewish-traditional theme. Some past Biblical themes have consisted of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, and the time of Joshua and the Judges. Post-Biblical historical themes cover topics like the Return to Zion with Ezra, Judaism in the Middle Ages, and the period of the Mishna and Talmud. Other themes cover topics like Jewish leadership and American Judaism. Typically, campers learn about the topic through skits, special activities, formal classes and even special decorations and structures that are built in camp.

Like most of Bnei Akiva's camps, Camp Stone's day-to-day programming is largely run by young adults from age 17 to late twenties, although the administrative duties are handled by adults. The tzevet (staff) is headed by a Rosh Moshava, or head counselor, and one or two Sganei Rosh Moshava (assistant head counselors). The rest of the Tzevet Bachir (upper staff) is composed of Roshei Eidah (division heads) and Roshei Anaf (specialty heads). The rest of the staff is mainly divided into regular staff and Hadracha (counselors). Hadracha are responsible for their bunks at all times, while the regular staff have responsibilities based on their specialties during the day, and at night are called upon to perform whatever duties are necessary for either the everyday running of the camp or for special nighttime activities. The main specialties consists of hadracha (counselors), Plugah (maintenance), kitchen, sports, swim, arts and crafts. An additional specialty is the Kollel staff, who spend part of the day learning about Jewish topics related to the camp's monthly theme, part of the day teaching daily classes to each bunk, and in the evening they perform tasks like all members of the staff. Smaller specialties include drama, horseback riding, nature, pottery, and photography.

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    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)