The Parent Perspective
As many people have heard me say, “I was a Tevya parent before I was a Tevya Director.” As a parent, I was always the last to leave on opening day, not because my children needed me, but because I was having so much fun. The parents of my children’s friends quickly became my friends. The shared appreciation for the place that helped us raise our children brought us together and keeps us close to this day. When I was approached by Linda Hill suggesting a parent gathering at this year’s reunion, I was happy to provide the opportunity for our parents to connect to one another and to the greater Tevya community. The first parent connection program was a huge success! Thank you to Linda Hill, Ellen Silberman, and the Parent Connection Committee of the Tevya Alumni Group for making this happen. Enjoy this post written by our new Parent Connection Chair, Linda Hill.
At the Tevya parent orientation last spring, they told us to follow our child’s lead and to leave when she seemed ready. She seemed ready, but was I?
Over Thanksgiving weekend, Tevya held a reunion for the campers and counselors. While our children were reuniting, their parents were invited to participate in Tevya’s first Parent Community Gathering. There were about 80 parents in attendance. The only thing we knew we had in common was that, as Tevya parents, we had all said “bye” to our children last summer. Some parents have been saying “bye” for many years while others of us have only said it once so far…
This gathering was an amazing extension of Tevya Spirit. It was terrific to meet so many parents whose children spent the summer with mine. There was an immediate common denominator – we had all given our children the gift of an overnight camp that they loved. In fact, they loved it so much that they have been counting down to the first day of camp next summer since the day they came home.
The room got loud quickly and easily. Immediate connections were made and story telling began as parents got a preview of the camp yearbook, which was being handed out to our kids downstairs. Small world connections were made, Jewish geography uncovered, and laughter took over the room as we enjoyed the slideshows that had been shown at camp on the last night of each session last summer. A new community was forming and it was so much fun and felt so right!
Many of the Tevya parents have themselves gone to Tevya as campers. These alumni met at Tevya in the 70s and 80s and now they send their kids on this magical journey each summer. Many of these alumni came to this gathering. The friendships are clearly deep and meaningful, just like those that our children share with their camp friends. Some parent alumni reconnected over the summer when they learned that their children were in the same bunk or sat at the same table in the dining hall. Some reconnected at this gathering after not seen each other in 30 years, yet conversation flowed as though no time had passed. What an incredible gift to witness the magic of these Tevya friendships so many years later and seeing the joy that parents have in passing the Tevya tradition on to the next generation.
The Tevya administration recognizes that friendships are perhaps the most powerful and important take-away from the camp experience. I am impressed that they want to build the parent community in the spirit of friendship and are so supportive of parents making connections, such as at this gathering. They understand the emotion involved in the process of preparing for camp and dealing with the realities of being separated, not only for the campers, but for the parents too.
Growing our Tevya parent community can only make us stronger and give us access to the support we may want during the challenges and joys that lay ahead for our children. I trust Tevya completely with my child and feel more a part of my child’s summer community having connected with many of the other parents.
Look for more parent gatherings and opportunities to connect. For more information or to get involved with the Parent Connection Committee, please contact Linda at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See more pictures from the Parent Connection Gathering on the Camp Tevya Facebook page!