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Working Hard in the Southwest

Posted on 07/23/2010 @ 04:23 PM

Tags: Impact: Southwest 1 2010, Impact Southwest 1, Impact: Southwest 1, Impact Southwest 1 2010, Impact: Southwest, Impact Southwest, Impact: Southwest 2010, Impact Southwest 2010

Impact: Southwest 1

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We have certainly been accomplishing a lot on our trip and making the most of our days. We have helped and done much with the Hopi village of Hotevilla in many ways. Finishing preparation for the Homedance (which is Saturday), cleaning the spring, collecting trash, and working with the youth of the village on projects, just to name a few. There were even pick-up games of basketball that allowed us to get to know the Hopi kids better. Our participants and the Hopi kids mixed up into teams and shared a friendly competition that helped everyone understand that some things are just universal when it comes to being young. It was a fun time and all involved felt a connection when the games were over.

We have had many educational and meaningful interactions and lessons. Dan, our Judaic educator, has guided the participants in daily learning sessions called Limud. In Limud we have had discussions around the numerous names Judaism uses to describe God, the connection to the desert the Jewish people have and taking our time to appreciate the food we have to eat and where it comes from. All participants have been fully engaged and all have shared some incredible insight and understanding. It is enjoyable to see our group exchange their beliefs in this way and many are now thinking about things they had not thought of before.

Our host Kenny has had our group working hard. During water breaks and downtime Kenny is able to teach the participants about the Hopi culture and history of the village. The similarities between the Hopi and the Jews are many. A deep connection to their homeland and the sad facts that assimilation brings when it comes to preserving tradition. The Hopi are a fascinating group who have endured much throughout time. They struggle with keeping tradition alive in many of the same ways our Jewish communities do. Kenny also took us to the Hopi Cultural Museum where we learned even more and looked at art and studied the past.

In camp, the participants take turns preparing and cooking meals for the whole group. Watching our teens cook and bake is fun, and many are learning how to be more resourceful and independent through this process. We sit in circles and have great discussion, play games, laugh, sing, and just enjoy each other’s company. We have split into Shabbat preparation committees; everyone has a responsibility. The committees are: Shabbat Atmosphere and Decoration, Challah Making, Friday Night Services, Friday Night Shabbat Dinner, Saturday Morning Services, and an Eruv Setup Team . Shabbat in our camp is going to be a special time for much needed rest and reflection.

We can see results and we feel accomplished. There is still a lot to be done but we can see that we have made a difference. We leave the Hopi Sunday and head for the Mountains. We will be in Southern Colorado in the La Plata Mountains for two nights. There we will be hiking and trekking through the range; challenging ourselves in nature and doing things we thought we could not do before this trip. Then, it is back to Base Camp for showers, wrap ups and unfortunately goodbyes. Watching this group come together as community has been very rewarding for the staff . As well, we are extremely proud of how they handled themselves and impressed with the hard work they all are putting in. Their parents have much to be proud of too.

Sincerely, Steven

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