A Partnership with Nature
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.” — John Muir, The Yosemite (1912), page 256.
One of the main tenets of our four-part mission is empowering campers to build a partnership with nature and Tikkun Olam — Hebrew for “repairing the world.” As we are located just a few miles from Yosemite National Park, we have the opportunity to take our campers into one of the most beautiful places in the world, giving them the chance to appreciate the natural world around them.
“It’s special for kids to be out in the woods with their bunk where they can form an amazing connection with nature and each other. The fact that we can take them into Yosemite is awesome — it is truly one of the most beautiful places in the world,” said Summertime Assistant Director, Kiyomi Gelber.
Every session, each bunk ventures out into the back-country with their counselors and our highly trained and enthusiastic backpacking leaders. Each bunk goes on a one-to-two-night trip into Yosemite National Park or Stanislaus National Forest (Believe it or not, Tawonga is Yosemite’s largest commercial user). While a large aspect of backpacking is appreciating nature, these trips are also one of the main ways in which bunks bond and become like family.
“I think backpacking trips are a unique opportunity for everyone’s strengths to show through. It also gives campers the opportunity to support one another through the physical and mental challenges of backpacking. Being in nature under the stars creates a great atmosphere for kids to dig deeper as people,” said Haifa Unit Head, Lauren Parker.
By hiking for two to eight miles (depending on the trip) and relying on the entire team to carry the food and other necessities, campers form connections, and learn about themselves and the amazing things they are capable of.
In addition to the social skills they develop on backpacking trips, campers learn outdoor skills such as “Leave No Trace,” how to purify water, and how to appreciate wildlife from afar.
Below, enjoy photos of several of our backpacking trips (with a few thrown in from Session III!). Stay tuned for many pics from throughout camp tomorrow, right here on The Pipeline!