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Monday, October 21, 2019

A crisp, sunny day, a gorgeous lake and gleaming athletic fields created the perfect setting for Ma’ayanot’s Rapids Retreat, a day of school-wide activities and bonding on September 19, on the beautiful grounds of Camp Dina. Excitement and positivity reigned as students played kickball, basketball, hockey, volleyball and mini-golf, while connecting across grades and with Ma’ayanot faculty members. Swimming, arts and crafts, archery and boating—students and faculty enjoyed them all.

For ninth graders and the senior fellows who ease their acclimation to high school, the bonding began a day earlier, with a pre-retreat breakfast at Votee Park coordinated by Ninth Grade Dean Nina Bieler and Ma’ayanot’s guidance department. When asked about the best part of the retreat, “Being with my friends in a fun setting,” was definitely the number one answer among students. Juniors Talia Halstuch, Dina Baron and Molly Norman appreciated the opportunity to “bond within grades and across grades.” Sophomore Leah Freedman enjoyed cheering on the faculty vs. student kickball game, and junior Ellie Shron’s highlight was participating in that game.

Teachers appreciated “the opportunity to make a different kind of connection with students,” and being able to see them in a different light. Rabbi Zev Prince, assistant principal for student life, and Aliza Gottlieb, director of student activities, organized a well-thought-out program, which included time for physical activity, social connection and Torah learning. The retreat culminated with an “on location” session of Ma’ayanot’s acclaimed Bruce Ritholz z”l mishmar program, where students discussed this year’s theme Vision 20-20: V’ha’er eineinu. “In 2020 we focus our vision on seeing the good,” said Rabbi Prince. “Today we set our sights on what we’ll accomplish this year!” The energy, friendship and achdut of the Rapids Retreat offered a great jump-start to the school year!