This is the place where they can depend on each other to gain strength; where they can be themselves – because of each other.
300 children from One Family’s Youth Division gathered recently for a major highlight of their year – the William Goldberg OneFamily Passover camp. Throughout the three days of camp the children thrived in this unique social, and therapeutic retreat program, together with their OneFamily friends who understand them so well.
The three-day experience was carefully engineered, to achieve a delicate balance between fun, release, therapy, and sharing. And through it all, the participants were able to return, if only briefly, to the carefree childhood that was cruelly stolen from them by a vicious and murderous moment of terror. These few days enabled the children to be revitalized by being there together, to embrace each other, to talk, to hike, to share, and to be – connected by their common experience, trauma, loss, and pain. This bond is in itself healing and strengthening.
As in previous years, OneFamily invested tremendous thought and expertise in crafting this Passover camp. The uplifting social activities laid the groundwork for other, deeper meetings and therapeutic activities within the camp. Workshops included sessions on “life journey”, “memory and memorial”, “going free”, and psychotherapy.
“Last night,” related one boy, “we stayed up after our activities until 1:45 talking. The whole group with our counselor. We talked about memorialization and remembrance, and how hard it is sometimes to carry this pain around constantly. It wasn’t anything formal, just a chance to talk and open up. And at the end, we all went to bed much lighter in the heart.”
And as in every camp, there was a special session where some of the children shared memories of the person they have lost with the other participants.
One theme that was repeated by many of the campers is that at OneFamily, they have an increased sense of safety. They feel they can talk about their deepest feelings with anyone.
“I owe a lot to OneFamily,” one girl said. “It is an integral part of my growing up. I wouldn’t be the same person I am today without OneFamily. Because of OneFamily, I understand that there is a legitimate place for my feelings. ”
The campers also enjoyed teambuilding activities, such as a group paintball competition, sailing and challenge sports in the grottos of Rosh Hanikra, swimming, chocolate workshops, sandcastles, and hikes through the Spring flowers in the Western Galilee.
To have the Goldberg family as OneFamily’s special friends overseas who share our pain and create our joy is a privilege and a necessity for OneFamily. They have ensured that Passover 2012 will be yet another memorable experiential celebration for every one of the bereaved and maimed young campers, and that they were able to return home to their everyday lives prepared and equipped to face the challenges of yet another Seder and another holiday fraught with the difficulties and emptiness of the ever-present loss of their loved one to terrorism.