June 19, 2024
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Camp Kanfei Runs Three Amazing Summer Programs in Alaska and Hawaii

For 26 years, since 1994, Camp Kanfei has been taking teens to New Zealand, Australia and Hawaii for an amazing and growth-oriented summer adventure travel tour. However, the 26-year streak ended with the onset of COVID. For the second straight year, due to COVID-related travel shutdowns, Camp Kanfei was not able to run its usual program to the South Pacific. Last year, during the height of the pandemic, Kanfei was able to think creatively and introduce Kanfei ECAT (East Coast Adventure Trip). Kanfei ECAT ran a coed program and an all-girls program that traveled to Lake George, Lake Placid and the Finger Lakes. All the locations were in New York, as it had to abide by interstate COVID quarantine restrictions. Despite the relative “local” destinations of the program, the nature and adventure that Kanfei participants experienced echoed the beauty of a normal Kanfei year, and it was an amazing experience for all involved.

This summer New Zealand and Australia were again closed to visitors, but the interstate restrictions were no longer in place. So Kanfei was able to again think out of the box and introduce Kanfei Alaska-Hawaii and head to the most exotic locations within the USA. Kanfei traveled with 55 people, divided into three different programs and schedules, as it crisscrossed Alaska experiencing so much of what Alaska had to offer. In the two weeks spent in Alaska, participants climbed glaciers; took whale-watching and wildlife cruises; went salmon fishing; visited Danali, the highest mountain in North America; white-water rafted; wilderness kayaked; and experienced almost constant heart-opening and life-expanding beauty. According to Rabbi BZ Scheinfeld, the director and founder of Camp Kanfei, “Alaska is the most similar place to New Zealand in the USA” and “the beauty we experienced there rivaled that of New Zealand.”

The camps were also in Anchorage, Alaska, for Shabbos Nachamu for a historic Hachnasat Sefer Torah by Avie Nader for the Chabad of Anchorage, which added so much to the ruach of the summer. After two weeks of ambitiously covering so much ground in Alaska, the campers spent a relaxing and beautiful week in Hawaii that included ocean snorkeling with turtles, cliff diving and volcano hikes and an inspirational Shabbat with Chabad of Hawaii. Some participants remained for an additional two weeks and toured California, Utah, Nevada and Arizona. Overall, the beauty, adventure and inspiration that was experienced was truly amazing, and Kanfei Alaska-Hawaii was a truly amazing summer. As far as plans for next year, Rabbi Scheinfeld commented, “We all hope that by next summer the world will return to pre-pandemic normal and Kanfei New Zealand-Australia-Hawaii will be back. But if not, at least we know that there is comparable beauty and adventure to be experienced right here in the USA.”

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