Hurricane Sandy caused an electrical outage across many neighborhoods. Here in the Five Towns, many of us dealt with a sustained outage spanning more than 2 weeks. It has been interesting to hear how people express their frustration, using verbalizations such as “I have no power”, or “I miss my power” vs. language specifically referring to electricity, “My home has no electricity”. We often don’t realize how the way we think and talk can affect how we experience our roles in a disaster. Aside from the loss of possessions, cars, homes, and time, many have experienced a loss of control. We have been left believing we are helpless as our lives have been turned upside down by circumstances we seem unable to influence. However, when we learn to recognize the power within ourselves, we may find the external powerlessness easier to tolerate. Continue reading “I Want My Power Back”
In the wake of the hurricane that left our neighborhoods devastated, we may look around at our homes, our neighbors’ homes, and feel like the world has irrevocably changed. A natural disaster of this magnitude may trigger a range of emotional reactions in people of all ages. While some of us may be annoyed because we can’t get a wifi connection, others may be losing hope that there will be any kind of normalcy in the future. Why do some people seem to coast along throughout the aftermath of the hurricane while others feel shattered and unable to start over? There is a range of normal reactions to stress, and many factors that influence our ability to cope. Continue reading “Understanding the Emotional Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy”
Last week, a tragedy occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The tragedy is unspeakable. The knowledge that evil exists in an extreme form is very difficult to swallow. What causes someone to commit an act of violence toward innocent children? There is no way to explain the senseless violence. There are no good answers or reasons for what happened. Continue reading “Finding the Light Within”
“Ezra, would you lend Elisha one of your extra pencils for today?” The teacher looks expectantly at her fourth grade student. Ezra frowns. He doesn’t feel like loaning his pencil to anyone, especially not to Elisha, and especially not after Elisha did not include him in the basketball game last recess. Why should he do a favor for Elisha, when all Elisha has done today is made him feel excluded? Ezra shrugs. He feels his hand tighten around the extra, freshly sharpened pencils on his desk. There is no way that Elisha will get anything from him, he decides. Even if it means that he won’t get to play with the popular kids at all. Continue reading “Changing our Minds; Torah Style”
- Go with someone you know
The beginning of camp can be hard, so having someone familiar in camp with you might help you keep calm.
● Going with your best friend might not be necessary, but having someone familiar who you can check in with and say ”Hi” to on occasion can make the beginning easier.
● If you are going with an older sibling and not a friend your age, ask your parents if they know of anyone that you can meet beforehand so you have a familiar face in your division.
- Ask questions!
Just because you are going with your friend Moshe who has been going to Camp Yaakov for three summers, it’s okay to still have questions about things you aren’t so sure about. If you don’t know how something during the summer is going to work, ask your parents or someone who has gone before how it works. You don’t need to worry about the “What if’s” alone, there’s likely is an answer!
- Don’t let Mom pack by herself
Once you are in camp, Mom’s not picking out your clothing in the morning, so you gotta know what you are packing!
– In camp things are going to get dirty! If you’re afraid to get something dirty, don’t pack it.
– Don’t over pack! Just because you really like all your hockey jerseys – you don’t need to bring all 20 of them. Especially because you don’t want to get anything lost.
– Bring your favorite toothpaste flavor (and soap, and shampoo!). Making sure to use your toiletries in camp is very important, even though that can be hard to do. Be sure that you actually like the products you bring with you. It’s silly to bring bubble gum toothpaste when you only like the watermelon flavor.
- Be prepared to try something new
Even if you don’t think you’ll like an activity, give it a chance at camp. You never know what you might end up enjoying. You might really like Zumba, but if you sit on the side you’ll never know 🙂
● Even if you are coming into camp with friends from school, become friendly with new kids!
● You might have been used to different chores than the ones assigned to you in camp. Maybe you aren’t the only kid who has never cleaned the sinks or set up your own sheets before! Just because it is new to you, doesn’t mean that you aren’t able to do it.
- Ask for help if you need it
Camp is filled with staff members and adults that are able to help you when you need help Some ideas of who to ask for help:
1. Your counselors
2. Infirmary staff
3. Your division head
4. Camp Parent
- Just because you are nervous, doesn’t mean you can’t be excited
Beginnings can be hard, but it really does get better. Don’t worry if you are homesick the first few days, because a lot of people feel that way. The reason why no one tells you that is because by the end of the summer you are camp-sick, and you don’t remember those hard beginning days as much!See if you can come up with two possible solutions to each of these camp situations. Ask your parents, siblings, or friends if you need help coming up with ideas.★ You made a new friend, Shana, in camp. Your friend from home, Chani, isn’t friends with Shana. How can you be friends with both of them while you are in camp?
★ Camp sometimes serves fish sticks for lunch. You really don’t like eating fish sticks. What should you do?
★ Yesterday the laundry went out and you forgot to put your clothing in the bag. The bunk’s laundry doesn’t go out for another three days, but you already ran out of clean undershirts. What should you do now?
★ During canteen time you see someone from your bunk making fun of a kid you don’t know. What should you do?
★ You never ever wet the bed at home. But last night you wet the bed in camp. You are so embarrassed and you don’t want anyone to know. What should you do?
★ Your parents just sent you the newest Archie comic in the mail. Your friend Baruch saw that you just got it and wants to borrow it. It is brand new so you don’t really want to share it. What are you supposed to do?
★ You are given a job for clean up that you are having a hard time doing since you have never done it before and you don’t know how to do it. What should you do?
★ Dina was so nice and let you borrow her towel. You left it on the line to dry and now when you went to return it, it isn’t there anymore. What should you do? Congratulations on thinking about all of these questions! You are one step closer to camp readiness! Wishing you an awesome summer!
Batsheva Feldman is a senior completing her undergraduate degree at Queens College and is a student intern at the Five Towns Wellness Center in Cedarhurst, NY for Dr. Sara Schwartz-Gluck.