Orientation week at Seeds of Peace summer camp

Trip Start Jun 13, 2012
Trip End Jun 14, 2013

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Where I stayed
Seeds of Peace Internation summer camp

Flag of United States  , Maine
Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Orientation week at Seeds of Peace camp:
After a 5 hour
drive from NYC to Boston I arrived at the CBS( Central bus station) and
was picked up by one of the women from Seeds Of Peace. We got dropped of
at the Hilton hotel and met up with some of the other counselors.

We all spend two hours in the lobby of the hotel getting to know each
other and regroup before descending on our additional 3 hour drive to
Otisfield, Maine.
Now I know you all can imagine what it is like to mingle with new people, but for me and for some other counselors I am
sure this wasn't that easy. There was some special vibe in the air,
which made everything uncomfortable. Maybe the fact that we all were
chosen to be counselors thus meaning that we should all be easy going
people and that we should be able to go with the flow prevented us from
actually being these easy going people.
For me this was the first time officially that I introduced myself as KODA and I felt very pleased about it.

On the bus to camp (Otisfield, Maine, USA) we played music, and got to
know each other. Many of the counselors were returning ones, and the
remaining counselors were mostly ex-campers. So for me, this experience peeked as we entered the gates of camp. 12 Flags, blowing in the wind, strong and proud, were raised high in the air. Seeing the Israeli, Palestinian, Afghani, Pakistani, Jordanian, Egyptian, Indian, Albanian,
Bosnian, UK, Greek, etc. was the welcome that I had expected and hoped for. To me it was very powerful, seeing so many flags all uniting as one around the green SOP( Seeds of Peace ) flag. As we advanced into camp there was a big gathering of all the other counselors and staff. They were all playing percussion instruments and making lots of noise.

Just getting off the bus was hard for me. The feelings going through my body were feelings i haven't felt in years. I WAS ANXIOUS, VERY UNCOMFORTABLE, AND INTIMIDATED by this mass of people that all knew each other. Or at least that is what it seemed like at the time. There was a big bonfire and we all had S'mores

I didn't want to speak to anyone. All I wanted is to become a fly, and
to be able to watch what was going on without needing to be part of this
massive gathering.
Together with Leith (My Palestinian Team mate
from the International cup in Australia in 2008) , Moose (Mustafa) my new
Egyptian friend whom I met at the Hilton, & Sarah B (SOP coordinator) we played some music,smoked Nargila, and relaxed, which to me was very important after such an intense day.
I would like to point out that never in my 22 years have I met such a bunch of lively,
flamboyant and vibrant people like this great bunch of counselors in SOP. The vibe that was going on made me feel like a celebrity. everyone wanted to get to know each other (Obviously not only me), asking questions, and offering another marshmallow, or a glass of water. I was surprised at myself, that even for ME, it was tough to handle such an intense social assembly.

I knew that there was such a thing called "The Bell" at camp, but i didn't expect to be woken up by a real Bell at 7:00Am.
When I opened my eyes i realized i didn't know ANYONE in my bunk.

The combination of being tired, and not wanting to shmooz with people
made me a very anti-social person. Nevertheless, I could not fight it,
and very quickly, people started to talk to me and ask me a billion
We had a tour of our beautiful camp which had every bunk
facing Pleasant Lake which was so tranquil, that the combination of the
thin clouds and the greenery made everything as blissful as it could
During the tour I went to the "Muzik shaq", and was very pleasantly surprised to see a drum set.
So much greenery, so much grass, and so many great people. "THIS IS GOING TO BE A GREAT EXPERIENCE!"

The next step was making our name buttons. The girls were at it big time! Nice and colorful name buttons.I felt helpless. I hate art! So I asked Emma if she could just draw a bear and write Koda with bubbly letters. Not to shabby if I may say so myself.

As one would expect, Orientation week included orientation.

After learning about sexual harassment in the state of Maine, I was
given the most exciting assignment I have been given. It was to paint the grounds of the soccer field. I was given a paint sprayer machine and together with Jake LaChance ( My co- counselor for the bunk) and Mujib (The coolest Afghani counselor on camp grounds- There was only one
Afghan counselor) we out lined and painted the ground. To me, the amount of responsibility that was given to me was very unusual. I was so glad to have finally been given responsibility and a free hand to do what I think is right or wrong in my job. I was in the army for 3 years, and
even when I was qualified for a specific job, never did I have a free hand to do what I thought was right. It was such a big deal for me, and for the first time in many years, I felt appreciated for who I am, and the skills that i have. To top off the day, I was on water duty
with a couple of guys on our own golf cart. just cruising around camp filling up water coolers and stacking up cups. Was great to just be free and fulfilled in this beautiful place with these great people.

Lots of many things happened, but none would really interest you guys in my opinion. So I am not gonna waste your time on those ones.

At the talent show I drummed for Yotam Manor "Knocking on heavens door - SOP cover) and for Matthew Turner "The Seed 2.0 - SOP cover). In between the songs, I played the didgeridoo, and by that presenting my Australian "talent".

The big news of the day were that the USAFL decided they would send us 6 Footies for the duration of the camp. I was very happy that my hopes came into play. YEAH AUSSIE RULES.

Bunk assignments:
Was very pleased to be assigned with Jake LaChance, and Aaron Greene. I would describe Jake as a very funny, sarcastic, smart, athletic guy, and Aaron as a down to earth, sensitive, worldly, musical and smart guy. so the combination of the two seemed to me as a great combo, and got me excited about our upcoming communal 3 weeks.

The list of our campers arrived, and Jake and , who both lacked 100% of any
artistic abbilty let aaron do his thing. Due to the fact, that our bunks name is the Beach House, Aaron did a great job drawing a beautiful beach poster, whilst Jake and I made the name tags for the campers beds.
I was in charge of drawing beach balls.. I did a fine job. We had a planned evening for all the staff. Bowling night!
Very cheap alcohol, the whole alley was ours, and we had our own DJ.

The bowling was actually Candle Pin bowling. Which means that they were small balls which one would grasp, and the pins where smaller then the usual ones, and candle shaped.
Had a great time drinking with all counselors. We all sang karaoke, and danced together.. I remember us all singing We are Family at the end of the night. On the way home, driving
in a yellow school bus, we all sang out loudly all different songs.

Night off for the staff!

The counselors from Maine took their cars and we drove to Portland. Portland is the nearest biggest city to Otisfield (Our town which we are based in) This drive was "Only" 50 minutes.
We reserved 2 tables at the Fuji restaurant. While waiting for our tables we drank a huge
bowl of Scorpion Cocktail. This bowl set the mood for a great night.

All around us were bridal showers. So as you would expect from me, I had to help the brides with some of their tasks on their "To do " list. I was so into it that I took their lists and added a few tasks of my own.

The Chefs cooked up a "Hibachi" for us on our table. we were 30 counselors that are used to dothings only on camp, and are not acquainted which each other out of camp. So for us, this gathering was a great way to get to know each other in a casual way. GREAT SUCCESS.


A great start to my day was reading an email I received from the USAFL saying that they have packaged and sent 6 Aussie footballs to camp for my special activity with Leith Jaber - Aussie Rules.
At line up (On the lake there are about 40 benches lined up in front of our beautiful Pleasant Lake. Before every meal all camp meets at line up for debriefing and announcements), we were split up into two teams. Greens and Blues. These were not just any teams. These were Color Game teams. At the end of camp, camp gets split into two groups and they have
a long and very intense competition that lasts for 3 days ending camp at a very big climax.
I was hoping to be blue, and so I was. My team was made up of most of my favorite people. I was very pleased.

We had "Hajime" competition, which is compressed of around 50 different games and competitions; Basketball, soccer, rally racing, quizzes, putting on 5 SOP shirts etc.
I had to do 30 push-ups as fast as I could, and also run from the ping pong courts to the Baseball field.
Blue team won! BTW the prize is that the winning team gets to go into the lake first... Huge adrenaline rush!
After a Cookout BBQ style, we had our last rehearsal for our welcoming show.

I played the drums both for "I gotta a feeling" and "Waving flag" - Which was re-written especially for seeds of peace by Orlando and myself.

Jake , Aaron and myself went to sleep for the last time in a quite room in the Beach House...
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