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Our campers are natives to social media technology and it is an integral part of their lives at home. Israel, on the other hand, may seem foreign to them -- certainly as a content piece related to social media. This program aims to bridge that gap and help campers understand the power of social media in helping them keep informed, share their views and engage in lively respectful discussion about difficult topics.
Opening Game: give each camper a piece of paper and ask them to write a list of words that describe what other people think of them when looking at their Facebook walls. Next, ask them to pick the one word from the list that makes them most uncomfortable, and write it on a label/sticker/nametag that they will affix to their forehead. Now, use a "cocktail party"-style activity in which the group must circulate and interact. Instruct campers to walk the way the word on their label would walk and interact based on the way the word on their label dictates. In essence, campers are asked to become their label for the duration of the exercise.
Debrief: Facilitate a conversation about this opening exercisem seeking to encourage campers to begin to think about how their Facbook wall -- much like the labels they were wearing at the cocktail party -- define them and shape how people interact with them. Ask questions such as
- What was your experience?
- In what ways does your Facebook wall define you?
After campers have reflected on the experience they just completed, introduce Israel into the conversation: Tell the group that they are gong to create a Facebook wall for Israel. Unlike the notes they may have placed in the Western Wall, if they have visited Israel, the messages on this wall are going to be public, just like so many social media posts.
Formulate a list with the group: What are situations that might prompt you to post about Israel? Possible aswers might include:
- I saw an Israeli movie
- I visited Israel, or want to visit Israel
- I heard about an Israeli invention
- Something about Israel was on the news
- It's an Israeli holiday, or the anniversary of something important in Israeli history
Create an actual Facebook wall for Israel using markers and butcher paper.
Give everyone a chance to think about their own relatinoship to Israel. Encourage them to come up with five ideas of things they might post -- and then to pursue the idea they think is least likely to be repeated by others. Campers can write their posts directly on the Facebook wall, or they can write on slips of paper and then tape them to the wall. As people post their own contributions to the wall, they should be encouraged to comment on other people's messages. You can create small "like" stickers and let campers affix them to any posts or comments that they particularly like.
After the conclusion of the activity, hang the paper wall in a public place at camp -- perhaps in the dining hall -- and encourage everyone to add comments and "like"s of their own, This wall can become a physical replica of the virtual world in which campers so frequently express themselves during the year; at camp, it takes on a physical presence, and it focuses primarily on Israel and the camp community's relationship to Israel.