Camp Gan Yisroel of the Netherlands used an incentivized card game to motivate the campers to memorize Chassidishe yedios klalios, with outstanding results.
Gan Yisrael Netherlands, a project of Chabad of Holland directed by Rabbi Akiva Cammisar, is a day camp for mostly frum kids, made up of about 30 campers.
Most years the camp takes bochurim from Yeshivas Tomchei Tmimim Brunoy to be counselors. This is mainly to give the kids a fun time, and most importantly inspire them to be Chassidim of the Rebbe, giving them in these two weeks what they don’t get in their regular school during the year.
This year, the counselors were Levi Slavaticki and Dovber Yarmove from Chicago, Mendel Bitton from Vancouver, Canada, Nochum Vorst from Rotterdam, Netherlands, and Yossi Lewis from New Jersey. They hit upon an idea never done before in the camp, a fun and easy way to teach the kids tremendous and important concepts about the Rebbe and dor hashvi’i.
They made five card sets, each set being one topic containing a certain amount of cards. Counselors would give out the cards for good davening, bentching nicely, and participating during learning class. The campers would have to collect cards, forming complete sets, by collecting and trading cards with other campers. Once a camper colllects all the cards belonging to one set, he can trade the set in for 10 camp dollars he could spend at the prize store at the end of camp. In order to receive the reward, the camper would have to memorize all the cards of the set and get tested on it.
Amazingly, there were tens of campers learning and memorizing the Rebbe’s ten Mivtzoim, the Rebbe’s 14 Niggunim, the Rebbe’s family, 7 important dates in dor hashvi’i and what happened on those days (Rosh Chodesh Kislev, 13 Kislev, 14 Kislev, 5 Teves, 10 Shevat, 11 Nissan, 28 Sivan), and the seven Rabbeim and their names.
Additionally, eight campers who learned all five sets of cards and were tested on all five sets in a row were tested on stage in front of the entire camp and then presented with a special award. Truly unbelievable to see the kids, in just one week, learn these important and things every Chossid should know.
Another wonderful accomplishment of camp was three campers memorized the first part of perek mem aleph of Tanya by heart, and were awarded a special certificate of achievement. It was an inspiring and educational summer for all.