Britain’s oldest Jewish Zionist youth movement has finished an alternative two-week summer of activities, with adaptation “the name of the game” after the coronavirus pandemic threw its original plans out of the window.
The 110-year old Federation of Zionist Youth (FZY) had been expecting to take more than 400 post-GCSE students on Israel Tour, with the highest number of chanichim (participants) signed up on its Ofek and Kesher UK camps for a decade.
Alongside those courses, for Years 7-8 and 9 respectively, FZY had a further group of Year 12 students due to travel to Ghana on the movement’s Netina programme.
With summer plans up in the air, FZY leaders had to work out “how best to offer our famous Maccabiah and Colour Wars with social distancing front of mind”, before deciding on a two-week London-based day camp for 11-15 year olds.
The day camp replaced the typical residential camp model and the use of ‘bubbles’ meant that the leaders had to “think on their feet and be creative”.
Social distancing quickly became the most repeated phrase in everyone’s ears and hand sanitizer five times a day was the norm. But it was a necessary norm in return for a ‘different’ camp experience.
“I’m so proud we managed to give the community something this summer,” said FZY Mazkira Ima Wise. “After months spent at screens, getting more than 200 young people out doing some good old-fashioned youth movement activities was something I did not think would be possible in March.”
FZY are already thinking about how summer 2021 looks and are excited to welcome all those who were hoping to go on FZY summer programmes this year, back, for a summer they won’t forget next year.”