SIT Experience

After countless years at CMC, we thought we knew everything. But as this year’s Staff-In-Training, we had the opportunity to really see behind the scenes at how the sausage gets made. The two-session-long SIT program prepared us to be staff during future sessions or years. While we spent Session 1 living in cabins with our fellow SITs, Session 2 allowed for a more authentic staff experience as we lived in cabins with campers and shadowed specialty areas. 

Session 1:

Session 1 encompassed many training opportunities that ensured our success as staff members. Firstly, we were trained in CPR and First Aid, learning proper procedures for handling medical emergencies. After both a written test and hands-on exam, all SITs became certified in CPR/First Aid. We also had the opportunity to be certified in teen mental health first aid. Through three, two-hour sessions, we learned how to respond to our peers with mental health challenges.

To further our learning, we played games such as Red Card, Green Card, Yellow Card, You’re Fired in which we learned guidelines about fireable offenses and Build-A-Staff in which we used notecards with personality traits to construct our “ideal” staff member. As a way to improve our programming skills, SITs were broken into small groups to put together an evening program in which the other SITs participated. For example, one group did a spy-themed maze activity and another did an Amazing Race-esq program. 

Although the session was full of learning, we still managed to have tons of fun with each other. As a group, we choreographed a dance to perform during Chai’dol and teach during Israeli dancing on Friday nights. Our SIT directors also put together an evening program for us fittingly titled Cookie Chaos. With our hands tied to each other, blindfolded, and only quacking, we attempted to make chocolate chip cookies. The results, on both the baking sheets and our clothing, was comical to say the least. Additionally, the SITs had a beautiful havdalah evening at Jenks Lake, canoeing at sunset and spending quality time together.

At the end of the session, the SITs put on a Jurassic Park-themed banquet for the whole camp to enjoy. But, this endeavor was not as simple as it may have seemed. Preparing for the banquet took weeks of sweat, tears, and time including about one hundred paper leaves, a massive cardboard volcano model, and posters to hang around the chader. Almost all of the decorations were completely handmade by the SITs and banquet committee. Seeing our hard work come to fruition encapsulated our time as SITs and was the perfect end to an amazing session together. 


During intercession, we made the most of our last days together, by traveling down the mountain to Big Bear to kayak at the lake and eating pizza together at a nearby park. After visiting the zoo and walking around Big Bear village, we ate dinner together at a Thai restaurant. Following our return to camp, we met our co’s, moved into our new cabins, and made cabin posters in preparation for the campers to arrive. For our final evening before Session 2, we went with the rest of the staff down to Big Bear once again to watch the Fourth of July fireworks.

Session 2:

The first day of Session 2 was eventful. All of the training during the prior session could have never prepared us for what was to come: meeting campers, getting situated in new cabins, and adjusting to a busy schedule. After the hectic first day, we slowly got into the routine of Session 2. We attended cabin activities with our campers, sat and ate meals together, helped run stations during evening programs, and took part in staff meetings. The experience of spending time with campers, no matter the age group, was impactful. To see the influence we were able to have was incredibly moving; they trusted us, confided in us, relied on us, and enjoyed the time they spent with us. 

In addition to shadowing a cabin, we were also assigned a specialty area or leadership member to shadow. Through this experience, we learned the job requirements for various positions at camp. We took photos, set up activities, worked on scheduling, programmed more evening programs, and even made shabboptions for campers. 

Finally, as the session neared its end, five SITs had the opportunity to get a backstage pass into one of camp’s most complicated programs: Maccabiah. As part of the logistics team, also known as Black Team, we set up events, coordinated clean-up, moved about a million chairs, and even got a chance to use walkie talkies to ensure everything ran smoothly, such as Apache Relay, and keep everyone safe, such as during Structure Building.

As we wrap up this session, we look back at what we have achieved and look ahead to what the future may hold for us as staff. Despite the hard days, crying campers, and stressful nights, we have learned a lot in these past four weeks and gotten an insider look into the magic of camp, as well as grown closer with each other. We are so excited to see what comes next for the SITs.