The artwork on this note card was created by 5768 WRJ Art Calendar artist Césan d’Ornellas Levine.
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URJ Camp Coleman
To involve the CITs, camp staff led an intimate hour-long preparation program to introduce the CITs to Gilad Shalit and inspire them to educate the camp and plan the solidarity march. After the program, the CITs created four committees to be responsible for different parts of the march:
Other preparation for the event included:
The day of the march, the camp staff put the introductory index cards on every table. At lunch, counselors were given a schedule of the evening's events, with instructions to have their cabin dress in blue bottoms and white tops that night for dinner.
Ten minutes before the march started, the CITs went to their respective cabins and explained to their campers who Gilad Shalit is. Some of them read from the index cards, some explained in their own words. They explained everyone was dressed in blue and white to show solidarity for Gilad, and they distributed the bracelets and armbands.
The march started at one corner of camp and traveled to other corner, picking up the campers at their cabins along the way. Somber Israeli music was played over the PA system. As the march arrived at each cabin, camp staff distributed ballons, banners and Israeli flags. When the march arrived at its final destination (the dining hall), cabins sat down at their tables and a short ceremony commenced.
First, the CITs read the letter they wrote to Gilad's parents. Then, veteran members of the Israeli delegation spoke about how it feels to know that their peer, their fellow soldier, is in captivity. Next, in a display of American-Israeli solidarity, the American drama specialist in camp invited the Israeli delegation to the stage to read with him an original prayer he composed. Finally, camp leaders explained the run-a-thon fundraiser for Gilad, called "Exercise Your Freedom."
To contribute to "Exercise Your Freedom," camp staff pledged money per lap around the lake by other staff members over the rest of the summer. Staff members were able to log their laps on a giant ledger in the dining hall. At the end of the summer, the laps were tallied and pledges were collected. While they were running laps, staff were asked to wear their solidarity armbands, indicating that they were "Exercising Their Freedom" for Gilad. This visual reminder around camp kept Gilad fresh in people's mind, as did the growing number of tally marks on the ledger.
The camp staff ran a collective 294 laps, raising $44, which was seen as a success considering the diffiiculty of collecting sizable pledges in a camp environment. "Exercise Your Freedom" ended up being less about bringing in funds and more about raising awareness and keeping Gilad in the front of the camp's mind. Camp Coleman created a film documenting the march, and the film got much recognition in Jewish Agency for Israel's shlichim office.
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