Apple Picking, Crafts and Connecting

  • On September 22, friends from all three Cohen Camps (Tevya, Tel Noar and Pembroke) gathered for an afternoon of apple picking, crafts and connecting. While the apples were tasty and the crafts were fun, it was watching the hugs and smiles from campers reuniting that gave me the greatest joy. I couldn’t help but smile myself, as I thought (for the millionth time), “We do good things at camp.” Just three months earlier these kids did not even know each other, and today they count the days down until they see each other again. As I was kvelling over what camp does for children, Rachel Fadlon, a mother of one of our campers, echoed my thoughts with words.

    Thank you Rachel for sharing those words in this blog post.

    When Natalie heard that that Cohen Camps were going apple picking, she was delighted! She put it on her calendar and counted the days. She also made sure that I reached out to her friends’ parents to make sure that they would be there too.

    This was Natalie’s first summer at Tevya, and I have a sneaking suspicion that it will be the first of many. While I spent the months before she left nervously anticipating her first time away from home, she was nonchalantly

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    waiting for the elective list to come out and helping me pick out supplies that she would need for camp. I kept waiting for her to break down and be nervous, but it never happened. The closest she came was the night before she left when, at bedtime, she gave me a bigger than usual hug and told me that she was really going to miss me.

    Even though I was super excited for her and loved everything I had seen and heard about the camp, leaving her there was really difficult. I had already prepared my husband that he would have to drive home and keep our younger son occupied, so I could quietly cry to myself in the passenger seat.

    Thankfully, we didn’t have to wait long to get a text message (with a photo!) from Natalie’s Head Counselor, Beth Mintz, confirmingapple picking2 that Natalie was doing great. Then her first letter followed, going on

    and on about how she LOVED camp. After that, I sat back, heaved a huge sigh of relief and looked forward to her letters and Tevya’s posts on Facebook (ok, obsessively checked for posts on Facebook…)

    Having her home again after her first independent summer adventure was wonderful. She returned confident and happy (and exhausted!). Seeing firsthand all the new things she did independently was fantastic (especially when she offered to make dinner), and listening to her talk about her new friends and experiences made me so glad that we chose to send her to Tevya.

    Less than a month after she returned home, she missed everyone so much that we invited a group of her friends from Dalia (the name for Camp Tevya’s group of youngest girls) to our house for a mini-reunion. Then she had apple picking to look forward to. When I told her that Tevya has an annual reunion Thanksgiving weekend, her response was: “AWESOME!”

    When she talks about next summer, her only question about going back to Tevya is which session (she worked that out). Apparently, she has already decided with her pals which elective she is going to take. My only question is: when will she ask to stay all summer?

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