As schools and summer camps throughout the South closed down on Tuesday under the threat of heavy rocket fire, the country pulled together in an effort to enable children in the South to enjoy their summer vacations.
The Education ministry announced on Tuesday it would expand its “digital camps” program, which includes camps in English, website building, animation, games and puzzles for children in the South. The camps aim to provide the students with fun-filled technological activities in a safe classroom environment.
The ministry also announced that the "School of Summer" program would continue to run according to the guidelines issued by Home Front Command. In communities located within a radius 0-7km the summer camp programs continued to operate in or in close proximity to protected areas, while the School of Summer program closed down until further notice in communities located within a radius of 7-40km.
The Psychological Counseling Service of the ministry issued several guidelines to educators in the South, calling on teachers and counselors to hold individual and group discussions with children regarding the current security situation. According to the ministry, the conversations are designed to “strengthen students' personal resilience” and identify needs and provide responses as required.
In Sderot, two young counselors from the AMIT School Network religious camps program, Halel Bareli and Rotem Timsit, launched an initiative of "relief centers" in cooperation with local community centers in the city. The two counselors recruited additional youth from the AMIT network throughout Sderot and ran informal camps with fun-filled activities for children, including making chocolate fondue, pita baking, and arts and crafts.
The activities at the relief centers will continue according to Home Front Command orders, and with the aid of youth and youth movements throughout the city.
"We believe that when teenagers go out and act, they get stronger and their sense of self strength grows. We believe in the resilience of the wonderful youth in our city of Sderot,” said Nurit Davidi, a teacher at the AMIT Educational Network and wife of Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi.
MK Eli Yishai (Shas) along with Yaron Hadar, CEO of Water Park Nashonit, also announced a new initiative to host children from the South in the water park every day throughout the coming week. In addition, the water park will host some 200 families from the South on Thursday for a fun filled afternoon of activities.
Universities throughout the South also cancelled classes on Tuesday following instructions from Home Front Command. Ben Gurion University of the Negev announced all studies, tests, examinations and cultural events were canceled until Sunday morning.
Sapir Academic College also announced classes and final exams would be canceled through Saturday night while Ashkelon Academic College decided to cancel studies and tests scheduled for tomorrow.