What Is A Leader? President’s Day Camp

We had an energizing and imaginative day on Monday at President’s Day School’s Out Camp! Our focus was leadership and community care. Our creative crew of learners, new and familiar, had so much to say and think about as we learned, built, played, danced and rested together.

We began by considering what a President should be like! Learners listed qualities a leader should have:

  • Caring
  • Sharing (two of our learners used a fidget to demonstrate what this looks like!)
  • A leader works hard to make the place they lead better.
  • Helps others
  • Welcoming

We learned about different types of leadership, using the directions “North, South, East and West”, learners placed themselves in the space depending on which leadership style best described them. So many of our learners didn’t feel like they only belonged in one place, so we had a lot of “South-East-facing” or other combination-type leaders, and many many kiddos who stood in the center of the room, seeing themselves in all styles of leadership! Here’s a kid-friendly list of qualities for each leadership style, which best applies to you?

  • East 
    • I have LOTS of ideas! 
    • I’m interested in the Big Picture instead of the little details. 
    • In a new situation? I wonder what ALL the possibilities here are! 
    • I like to experiment or play make-pretend!
  • South 
    • I like working together with other people to do the things I have to do!
    • I like to say YES to helping my friends!
    • I have really BIG feelings, and they help me make decisions!
    • I like to play with my friends, it doesn’t matter what game.
  • West
    • I LOVE learning and understanding new things!
    • I like to consider my choices very carefully.
    • People tell me I’m very thorough or careful when I do things.
    • Sometimes it’s hard to decide things because there are so many details to think about!
  • North
    • I don’t need a plan, I’m just gonna GO for it!
    • I’m a busy person with things to do and places to be!
    • I can take on any challenge life throws at me!
    • Sometimes I don’t want to have to explain what I’m doing to other people.

Because our learners saw themselves in more than one category, it was easy to see that communities thrive when they contain all sorts of leaders! 

Next, it was time to talk about money! We reflected on the way US bills and coins depict US leaders, and inventoried the other components of a piece of money. Learners brainstormed together the kinds of people and images they would want to see on currency, considered what money is worth (what if money were worth magical spells instead of dollars?), and pondered the kinds of amazing things they would want people to buy with their personalized money. Learners made their dreams a reality designing, coloring, and cutting out their own versions of bills, which we held together with “money clips” (paper clips). Our money featured:

  • A dog
  • Harry Potter
  • Makom Community educators
  • Many smiley faces

During our elective block, learners chose between US President Trivia and a Build Your Own Presidential House option. Learners could also choose to read one of our many chapter or picture books about US History. The trivia group all learned that President Calvin Coolidge was actually born on July 4th, which we didn’t know! Our presidential places were so colorful and creative! They included:

  • Sleeping quarters
  • Communication hubs with computers for zoom meetings
  • Swimming pools
  • Gardens

 

 

We ate our lunches, took a glorious walk to Greenfield to enjoy the sunshine and lovely weather, and then enjoyed some down time reading quietly or continuing to color and cut out detailed masks for Purim Katan (Little Purim) or more money.

After our afternoon snack, learners came together to discuss leaders in the Jewish community! Learners listed leaders they could think of from Jewish texts, history, and our communities:

  • Our rabbis, educational directors, and teachers
  • Moshe and all of B’nei Yisrael 
  • The Avot v’Imahot (Avraham, Yitzhak, Yisrael, Rachel, Rivka and Leah)
  • Hillel, Shammai, and Rashi
  • Golda Mier, David Ben Gurion
  • “My mom!”
  • “Us kids!”

We followed this by hearing a story about Jewish feminist and anarchist leader, Emma Goldman, who lived in Europe and America between 1869 and 1940. Emma Goldman is attributed with the quote “if I can’t dance I don’t want to be in your revolution”, in response to being told that dancing with her friends was too frivolous for someone working so hard to make meaningful change. Our learners reflected on the benefit of joyful dancing, even when you have serious work to do. Obviously the only thing to do at this point was have a silly dance party! We queued up some of our favorite songs (and you know we had to include some Encanto soundtrack) and danced around showing off our cool moves.

 

 

We capped the day with a rousing tefilah, again focusing on leadership by giving lots and lots of opportunities for our learners to be tefilah leaders! This was especially nice because some of our new friends haven’t done Makom Community tefilah very often, and looked to their new friends to guide them!

This was an exciting and creative day of making and being together. We can’t wait to come back together for Spring Break Camp: Earth Week in April!

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