Thought of the Week: 3 September – Sam Brunner

Written by Writings & Sermons by others — 3 September 2015

Summer Madness is over for another year. Next year will be the 25th anniversary of Summer Madness and it is still continuing to grow. I battled with how to portray the importance of Summer Madness to the wider community and then I thought that the people who can express their love for this epic summer camp the most, is Alyth’s wonderful, dedicated and committed madrichim. 31 teenagers gave a week of their summer to volunteer on Summer Madness, writing and leading peulot and activities, leading chants and songs, writing and leading services and looking after all the children in the most caring way.  35 chanachim (participants) aged 8-13 attended many of whom had not been away from home before.  They experienced Judaism and community life as never before and have returned eager to join in Alyth’s year round youth provision.


I asked the madrachim ’Why does madness mean so much to you?’


The responses I received cemented the reasoning for continuing Summer Madness. One of our Rosh Toran’s, head of resources, said ‘Summer Madness is the pinnacle of being part of the Alyth community. You spend an amazing week with not only people in your year but of varying years, all sharing Alyth in common, bringing them together and creating lifelong Friendships.’


The second Rosh Toran said ‘The energy on Summer Madness is so unique to Alyth – it’s crazy, chaotic and kef!’


Other responses were:

‘I love Summer Madness because it’s about giving back to your community in a really fun way. After leading on camp I feel like I have a better connection with the community’

‘I love being part of Madness because I can have fun with my friends while still leading and doing something really rewarding.’

‘Summer Madness has such an assuming vive where you get to have crazy fun, gain experience and get to know amazing people.’

‘The relationships we build with the chanichim (children) really means we can have an effect as they find out who they are – I’ll be back next year’.


Hearing these statements from our invested madrichim solidifies the reason why so much effort, planning and energy goes into Summer Madness. It is the most positive way to emphasise the importance of the youth and education department.


We are extremely grateful the Jewish Youth Fund for supporting this programme; it enabled us to enhance the Shabbat experience and include additional participants and Madrachim.