For the first time in three years, Fischer High School is finally back to having our retreat at Camp Kulaqua. On Tuesday morning, September 13, students arrived with overnight bags and a lot of snacks for the six-hour drive to the Camp Kulaqua campgrounds in High Springs, Florida.
After a bag search, Tefillah and a six-hour bus ride, students arrived at Camp Kulaqua and flooded into the various lodges to locate their rooms for the next two nights. Settling into the rooms, freshman Liad Cohen recounts, “I thought the rooms were going to be more like cabins, and it was so much nicer than I expected.”
As everyone started familiarizing themselves with the camp, students took to the fields and waterpark, complete with a wave pool, lazy river and slide. They then went to the lake, where there were options of a rope swing, diving board and a water blob. After, there was time to shower and rest before dinner.
Fischer High School faculty members grilled and served hot dogs and hamburgers. Once everyone was full, students headed to the field for a game of girl’s powderpuff football game. The freshmen faced the sophomores, while juniors and seniors competed for the ultimate bragging rights: Powderpuff Champions! After a lot of screaming and silliness, the freshmen and juniors won, proving age isn’t everything.
The day ended with a game of trivia. Friends answered questions about each other. Then we all went back to the rooms for the night.
Wednesday started strong with early morning davening and a breakfast of bagels, cereal, and scrambled eggs. Then, students had time to enjoy the waterpark, field, gym, go-karts and the Tower of Faith. The Tower has rock climbing, a zipline and bungee jumping and was one of the most popular activities.
Later, students had dinner and then gathered for a talent show. The acts consisted of singing, dancing, rapping Dr. Seuss books, blindfolded piano playing and a skit by the teachers. At the end of the night, students had ice cream, sundaes, and waffles for dessert.
On Thursday morning, students woke up at 5:30 am, davened, and had breakfast. Despite the early wake-up, they were given plenty of rest on the six-hour bus ride back to school.
Reflecting on the trip, junior Oz Alon said, “I thought it would be fun beforehand, and once I was there, I realized there was so much more to do than I expected. I made new friends, and I’m excited to go back next year.”
Freshman Shai Goldman also reported having a great time and told us, “The blob, the canoes, and the school unity were great! It was an experience I will never forget.”
Fischer High School Student Activities Coordinator, Mr. Michael Chanan, helped with the planning. “Our trip to Camp Kulaqua was a huge success,” Chanan remarked. “The goal of the trip is to start off the school year with a chance for students and faculty to develop a special bond. It was easy to see that our goal was accomplished. Students made friends they may not have otherwise made. Students got to know faculty members they may not have otherwise gotten to know. And faculty were able to form relationships with each other.”
Chanan believes in the importance of the trip and thinks it should remain an annual tradition. “I know we will be going to Camp Kulaqua for years to come; the experience is just too valuable for us not to go,” Chanan stated. “Whenever I ask our alumni what one of their fondest school memories was, a large percentage say the Retreat at Camp Kulaqua. That alone is reason enough to make sure we always go to Camp Kulaqua every year.”