First-Ever Training Kinus Held for Camp Head Staff

Nearly 45 bochurim representing 14 camps with a combined registration of 3,000 campers and 1,000 staff, attended the inaugural kinus at the Pocono Kosher retreat center in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania.

A first-of-its-kind event for Gan Yisrael head counselors and learning directors was held last week in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania. 

Nearly 45 bochurim representing 14 camps with a combined registration of 3,000 campers and 1,000 staff, attended the inaugural kinus at the Pocono Kosher retreat center in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania. 

Over the 3-day event the participants farbrenged together, attended lectures and learning sessions, and participated in discussions large and small, all to better their role as leaders of the Gan Yisrael camps they will be leading this summer. 

The group explored ways to rethink camper discipline; they learned new strategies how to motivate their own staff members, and heard from veteran camp directors and mashpiim how to embed the shlichus-mission of inspiring and uplifting a generation of future chassidim into every part of the camp experience. 

In addition to the valuable skills and techniques taught in these sessions, the group discussions yielded some powerful fruit as well. To name a few: WhatsApp groups were launched to streamline communication between camps, share ideas, and foster a feeling of community and unity. The head-staff also formed a cooperative agreement that will impact the hashkafa and atmosphere of each camp. They agreed on a communal standard for acceptable music, as well as smart phone policies for staff and campers.

They also launched “CGI-DRIVE” a new online resource with shared materials, publications, curriculum, learning competitions, games, stories and much more. 

The retreat was the brainchild of a few head staff members who wanted to take a more active role in their prospective camp positions and help incorporate new, positive strategies for discipline and camper motivation. This small group of chaveirim invited guest speakers and educators, arranged spacious accommodations with plentiful and delicious catered meals, and put together a comprehensive program with workshops, meetings, as well as social opportunities for the bochurim to get to know each other. 

Presenters included mashpia-in-residence, Rabbi Nochum Bukiet; mashpia and director of CGI London, Rabbi Folie Dubov; 14-year CGI head counselor and trainer of, Rabbi Zalmy Kudan; Oholei Torah guidance counselor Rabbi Yanky Raskin, LCSW; professional mechanech Rabbi Shmuel Wagner; chinuch professional and principal of ULY Ocean Parkway, Rabbi Yaakov Sebbag; lecturer and author Rabbi Shais Taub, and chozer and noted lecturer Rabbi Yossi Jacobson.

“It was an incredible experience,” says Moishy Serebryanski, who will be working as head counselor of SGP. “I have new skills to make camp an enjoyable and positive experience for all my staff and campers. It was great to meet so many like-minded bochurim and to know that they can be and will be my support system.”

“This is a must for every head staff member!” agrees Mendel Goldman, Head Counselor of Montreal. “The notes I took will be a great resource during this summer and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to learn from the many experienced mechanchim and mashpiim.”

No doubt, this new wave of attention to chinuch, the achdus and unprecedented coordination and uniformity between camps and head-staff members, and the renewed dedication to the Rebbe’s mossad of Gan Yisrael, will enhance the camp experience of every boy lucky enough to attend these camps.

Organizers are already working on plans to expand the staff training modules in various ways and are deeply grateful to their key sponsors who have helped make this kinus a huge success.

Accommodations were sponsored by Pocono Kosher l’ilui nishmas Leah Yehudis bas R’ Yehoshua. 

For more information contact [email protected].

Head Staff from the following programs participated:

  • BMD Detroit
  • CGI Detroit
  • CGI Florida
  • CGI Montreal
  • CGI Toronto
  • Chayolei Hamelech
  • CKids
  • Section C Montreal
  • SGP Chayolei Hamelech
  • Tzeirei Hashluchim Tzefas
  • Tzieri Hatemimim
  • YKP 8th Grade
  • YKP Mesivta
  • YSP
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