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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Running Smoothly at Running Springs

More than 100 campers and staffers enjoyed the ropes course, ceramics classes and white-water rafting at Camp Gan Israel's inaugural summer at Running Springs, a new Jewish overnight camp just west of Big Bear. The Chabad Lubavitch purchased the 70-acre facility near Big Bear last year, and 100 girls attended the first session in July. The same number of boys arrived late last week for the second session.

Camp Director Gershon Sandler was pleased with the way the staff -- mostly females from Chabad schools -- worked so well together, helping to integrate the campers who came from diverse backgrounds. Sandler says only about 10 percent of the campers came from Chabad homes. About half came from Los Angeles-area day schools, and the rest were recruited through Chabad's national network of Hebrew schools and synagogues.

Sandler said all the girls -- both from observant and non-observant homes --- looked forward to Shabbat, when the schedule was relaxed, wake-up was later, and the day was filled with walks, stories and singing.

"When you're busy with camp all week, you get to the point where you're tired and looking forward to some rest, and when part of the camp program is Shabbos, and you get all of that, the girls really enjoyed it," Sandler said.

For more information on Camp Gan Israel Running Springs, visit www.cgi.uphigh.com.

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