The Eastern Canada Region of United Synagogue Youth (USY), the middle and high school affiliate of the United Synagogues of Conservative Judaism, slept with the fishes last weekend at the brand new Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. 55 members and volunteer staff from ECRUSY chapters across the region attended the event for Kadima (grades 5-7) and USY (grades 8-12).
The event kicked off with a spirited Havdallah followed by some fish-themed icebreakers. After the Aquarium was cleared of its daytime patrons, ECRUSY had the opportunity to explore all the tanks and exhibits after-hours. After a nighttime snack, the teens listened to a fascinating talk by the Aquarium staff about Ripley’s commitment to conservancy.
After a long evening of fun in the Aquarium, we setup our sleeping bags in the underwater shark tunnel. ECRUSY literally slept with the fishes. We were all very brave, and even felt protected by the sharks swimming just above us.
In the morning we had a catered breakfast and watched closely as the Canadian Olympic Men’s Hockey Team shut out the Swedes in the gold medal game on the big screen TV. Those who didn’t want to watch the gamegot a behind-the-scenes tour of the Aquarium. The staff pointed out the pumps and pipes that kept the fish comfortable, where they prepared all of the meals for the fish and how they cared for our underwater friends.
Although we were all a bit tired the next morning, everyone went home raving about the amazing time they had at the Aquarium.
After ECRUSY joins other Toronto Jewish youth groups for JServe 2014 on April 6th, our next event will be our Spring Regional Convention at Mansfield Outdoor Centre from May 1-4. Spring Convention is arguably our most popular event that draws the largest crowd.