Our Garin kids get a real taste of basic training…mud, sweat and push ups…

Written by: Jackie Sharpe — September 27, 2012

“Ken Hamefaked. Esrim schniot!!!” (Yes Captain. Twenty seconds!!”)

I think I may have heard the first part of that command 200 times during the 2 1/2 hour “hakpatza” (jumpstart) secret training mission of our Garin kids!

At two minutes to nine, as the kids were hanging out in their rooms, recovering from their day in Tel Aviv and minding their own business, a siren, flashing red lights and a loud voice over a speaker could be seen and heard. No one knew exactly what to do, except me…because I had been sworn to secrecy for the last 3 weeks, and invited by Ela and Ilan to take photos.

Loving the excitement and the mysterious nature of the evening, suddenly all 32 kids were lined up in front of the club house and being addressed by Segen Alon. (Captain in the IDF and with us to conduct this special mission…”Hamefaked”) His voice was so loud and authoritative that even I was afraid to step out of line. But if one did (and they all did in the first 10 mins,) they were to ‘drop and do five’…push ups, that is!

After a few minutes of orders being SHOUTED at them, they had 2 minutes to change into sports shoes and return to the line, two minutes to grab an appropriate size khaki army pants, run to their rooms to get a belt to hold the pants up and return to the line and 2 seconds to stop laughing and talking or…drop and do five!

They were then split into teams. Had to change into their team colored t shirt…same drill as above and stand together.

Next the real fun and games begun. An aerial map of the kibbutz and 15 minutes to find their way, in their teams to the target point; then 3 of them at a time, walking on “skis” with the leader guiding then and in sync “left, right, left right”; a tug of war; crawling thru wet sand under ropes with barely a few inches to clear your head and not eat sand; and a 3 kilometer hike with stretchers carrying one of their “injured.”

It was pitch black, except for a few flashlights (and the headlights of my jeep…you didnt think I hiked with them did you??) and they marched in silence except for the sound of their shoes in the sand. At the front of the line was one of the kids carrying the Israeli flag. I could see them marching to safety and solidarity of what they all believed in and why they were here as lone soldiers. I don’t know if they were given ‘permission’ or they all just did it anyway…but suddenly they broke out in song. Marching together and singing in hebrew, at the top of their lungs. The kind of songs we used to sing. the songs that make you proud to be a Jew and an Israeli. I had goosebumps.

I had this vision of Paul Newman and the Exodus and leading the kids through the kibbutz to safety…then I had a few tears!!

As they hiked to the end of the trail…a door of fire was waiting for them to run thru as well as members of the kibbutz and many of their kibbutz families. The ‘piece de resistance’ were the words, ‘Garin Tzabar Nir Yitzhak’ lit with fire.

They all hugged and danced in a circle celebrating together the survival of the last 2 1/2 hours and I think that fact that they actually could do this and although parts may have been scary and horrible…just maybe, ‘It’s not going to be so bad!’

Photos are on the gallery.

Written and posted by:
Jackie Sharpe
Proud parent of all our Garin kids and mother of Alexi
September 27, 2012