Camp Rising Sun alumni associations around the world are busy selecting campers for the 2017 season. As to be expected, each selection region has its own culture which flavors the approach to identifying the best and brightest. Whether through interviews, group activities, personal videos, sample Instructions or portfolios, Camper selection is a fun way to stay locally engaged. Just this weekend I had the pleasure of joining 30 New York alumni to meet 50 applicants. This week the Israeli Alumni Association describes their rigorous method lasting three rounds to identify the next lucky teenagers.
By: Klil Karmon and the entire Israeli selections team of 2017
In the last few years we have improved and developed our method of selection to the the final formula as it stands today.
Each year we focus on a different region in Israel, where we address the schools and request each to recommend boys and girls that may fit at Camp Rising Sun. Each candidate receives an invitation by us that tells him/ her about camp. The first step is filling out a nomination form that includes general information but also long answer questions about diverse topics such as community service, ethical dilemmas, world affairs, etc. Also, each of them is requested to answer a few question about a short story we send him/her. In addition, each candidate is to send reference forms from two different people that know him/ her well.
The candidate kits (forms, references) are sent back to us and then reviewed by the selection team for this year. Each year, we ask our alumni to take part in the process and whoever is willing to is welcomed. The selection team reads the candidate application and decides who will continue with us to the first selection day (Semi- finals).
Selection in 2017
This year we had one semi-final with about 20 participants from both genders. Throughout the day we organized different activities, discussions and other methods that help the selections team to get to know the candidates better. At the end of the day, we have an interview with each candidate for last minute impression, questions that arose during the day etc. From each one of the semi- finals we picked 4 girls and 4 boys that we wish to know better through the last and final selection day.
The 8 candidates that are invited to the final selection day are asked to prepare a 15-minute long instruction on a topic of their choice, advised to chose something personal they have special interest with. As guidance, each is assigned with an alumnus to be in touch with - for planning and developing the instruction (to consult with, get feedback from, etc. and also for us alumni to get to know the candidate better).
Finally, at the final selection day, most of the day is dedicated to the candidates' instructions, in which everyone (even the selection team) is participating. Between the instructions, a few activities are run by the selection team. At last, all candidates go through another interview with the team. Then, comes the most difficult part of the process - deciding which two of these amazing candidates will be the ones to go to camp...
Creating a welcoming atmosphere for all
Throughout the selection days and the entire selection, we try to have a welcoming and supportive atmosphere, that will allow the candidates to be themselves and feel comfortable - Just like at camp. Moreover, the wide range of activities and the possibility of choices for the instructions gives each one of the candidates the opportunity to show her/ his strengths, which makes it a very diverse and interesting process. Another reason for this selection process is that we want to make this a learning opportunity for everyone involved, not just the two selected candidates. Therefore, we encourage everyone to continue being a leader in their community, take initiative and effect his environment.