Thomas Troski shares his memories from Camp Ignite, 2016 - 5776

It was the last day. I watched YouTube for the final time, maybe or maybe not going four or five hours over my time limit. I said my goodbyes to my mum, dad, even my sisters. I made sure I gave my dog the biggest goodbye of all. I wouldn’t see a cute face such as this for a long time. Soon I’d found myself waiting for the bus stop. Beside me were my two friends; Bailey and Josh. Together we climbed onto the bus, and left unsure of what was ahead.

After a three hour drive later turned to a five hour drive, we arrived at Coonawarra camp. Or Chabad Camp in other words. There were 15 people camping with the 3 of us. 4 of which we shared a cabin with. We were sure we would never like these people. But we settled in, and I’d found myself one of the most comfortable sleeps I’d ever had.

For the next four days we woke up excited and ready for what was to come. In Coonawarra we had a schedule of activities from 8:00 in the morning ‘till 10:30 at night. We had everything there, so many activities, it is UNCOUNTABLE…unless you count them…But I can remember some of the great activities such as: Hiking, tubing, canoeing, Mezuzah making, archery, volleyball, 4D Movie cinema and much more. If you didn’t think it could get any better, we also learnt more stuff about religion every day. We would bench at least three times a day.

We learnt the most amazing things about the Jewish lifestyle; one of the things I can remember is how we eat. We are forbidden to eat meat unless the mammal we are eating from has cloven hooves and processed stomachs. Bad luck for religious cannibals. And if we have a type of meat we are allowed to eat, like beef. We can’t eat it with any source of milk. If we have milk, we must wait an hour for meat. If we have meat, we must wait six hours for milk.

Everything bad before was great there. It was nice not to watch YouTube. There was no one nagging me to do anything, sorry mum. There were no siblings to fight with. And later on we became friends with the other kids.

Fun fact: even though there were only seven kids in that one cabin, three of them were named Josh. How funny? Me, Bailey and Josh later renamed, Josh 2, were having one of the best times of our lives. But I still missed the dog. One day, at the flying fox, we noticed an adorable pippy. We had named her Ella. We were playing with her for ages, until suddenly, four more identical puppies came out of nowhere. It was the most adorable thing ever! Before we knew it we had nine identical puppies following us around. We saw those pups every day.

We gave each pup a special name. There was: Ella, Butters, Trevorette, Tails, Donald, Donald Jr., Billy, Jane and Bob.

Each one was loved as much as the other, but on Friday, it was time to leave. We walked onto the bus sadly, and left. We reached home and I smiled when my mum ran in to pick me up. I looked happy from the outside but from the inside, I wish I could still be there right now, at Chabad camp.