By: Laura Scheiner

Camp Gan Izzy has been a wonderful experience for my son, Alex, and our family. Alex has learned so much over the course of the three weeks he has been there and has had so much fun! What a joy to go into his room each morning, wake him up with the Modeh Ani, and see him jump out of bed when he hears that it is a camp day! As I got him ready in the morning, I let him know of all the wonderful activities that his amazing counselors had planned for the day. There was never a dull day, a dull moment, never a day without a theme, and/or field trip. 

Ask Alex what his favorite part of camp was and he’ll start to tell you about the marvelous trip to the Bloomington Children’s Museum, and tell you about getting to be on the radio. Maybe he’ll regale you with the Camp Gan Izzy cheer. It’s truly amazing to hear him singing throughout the day and trying to teach camp songs and baruchas to his younger brother. He might talk about the games or the pool or going to Jump Start Gymnastics, the bowling alley, or on a plane ride! Perhaps he will tell you about the cookie jar he made or the cereal bowl and pajama party, his special “Gan Izzy Kippah,” or the marvelous food he got to eat. No doubt he will mention his “bunk mates,” aka the Kosher Krocs, and his amazing counselors, Rochel Leah and Chayale. I loved hearing Alex talk about all of the mitzvahs he was learning at camp and seeing him put them into action at home.

As a parent, I could not have asked for a better camp experience. Each day was filled with exciting activities, fun-filled and enriched with learning and Judaism. The counselors were warm, caring, and engaging. There was definitely a family feeling within the camp. Watching the older kids playing and helping the younger kids was heart-warming. I knew that my child was in a safe and loving environment. If there were any questions or concerns, Sarah or one of Alex’s counselors would contact me, and they were never too busy to answer a question or concern that a parent had. 

Families were not forgotten either. A Camp Gan Izzy family Shabbas dinner entertained all with bunk presentations, fun, and games. It was a fun-filled evening for campers and parents alike. A closing family event is planned as well, promising more excitement and fun as well as another chance for families to see what their children have been learning and doing at camp, and a social opportunity as well.   Newsletters were sent home weekly with updates about camp happenings, pictures, and activity pages for the kids. Pictures were posted on the Gan Izzy blog regularly and many more were posted at the end of each week for all to see. 

I’m grateful for all of the hard work that Rabbi Langsam, Sarah, and the counselors put into bringing such a wonderful Jewish camp experience to Peoria each year. The “Mitzvah Marathon” of 2010 was incredible and we look forward to enjoying many more summers with Camp Gan Izzy.


BY Ryan Willard:

Gan Izzy has been something to look forward to every year for six summers. This camp is a blast for everyone, but it wouldn't be like this, if it weren't for the counselors that work unbelievably hard to make Gan Izzy so much fun. Every night, the counselors stay up late trying to think of new ideas for camp. They show spirit, and teach us what being a Jew is really all about. I like how the counselors always treat us like we are special, and that we really matter. I have learned so much from them.

Some of my favorite things about camp were the field trips, but we wouldn't have field trips without Rabbi and Morah Sorah. They spend lots of time planning field trips just to make the campers have fun.  Everyone goes out of their way for our enjoyment by doing mitzvos and nice things, because that's what being a Jew is all about.

There are so many things that I have learned from this camp. I have learned mitzvahs, stories and Hebrew, but mostly I just learned what it means to be a good person and a good Jew. I learned what it really means to love your fellow Jew as yourself. It means to treat everyone equal, even if they don't treat you equal. Treat them how you would treat yourself and then maybe they will do the same to you.

Part of what made camp so much fun, were the campers who were there with me. You guys have made my last year just as good as all of the rest, and I will miss you all. I can't believe that Gan Izzy is really almost over. It seems so short every year, but this is my last year at camp, and I can definitely say that I've had an amazing experience with Camp Gan Israel.