Today as I walked around camp, I did it a little slower than usual. Knowing that this was our last Friday of the summer, I did not want to miss a thing. I wanted to make sure that the joyful feeling I get from seeing the smiles of our campers was strong enough to get me through until next summer.
Today, I sat in on KTY planning their banquet and listened as members of the entertainment committee practiced the song that they would perform the last night of camp. Next door in the Seth Feldman Fitness Center was a Tsof fitness class. And I thought, a year from now those older Tsofim and Tsofot would be in the Girls Rec Hall preparing for their banquet. I watched on the waterfront as a CIT worked with a camper on his swim strokes. And I thought, 6 years from now that camper will be a CIT helping a child who today isn’t even old enough to think about overnight camp. Then I watched as a camper launched a rocket that he made in his rocketry elective. And I thought, 15 years from now that camper may be part of a NASA team who sends a rocket into space.
As we moved from afternoon activities to Shabbat prep, I knew that Tel Chai (our oldest male campers) will be exchanging their usual Shabbat attire of polo shirts for more formal button down shirts and ties. As I watched them come to flag, I didn’t picture them 1, 6 or 15 years from now, but instead flashbacked to years of them walking through the Boys Area to come to flag. I feel like these boys have gone from Yavneh to Tel Chai in the time it took for them to walk down the path and gather at the flagpole. And I didn’t want to picture the future, instead I wanted to stop time from moving and extend our final Shabbat. However, I know we can’t stop time from moving and must just enjoy these last 5 days of camp.
Before we start our preparations for the end of this summer, I want to share some of last week’s fun with you. Last Saturday we celebrated the Bar Mitzvah of one of this year’s Dor L’Dor/CIT counselors, Sloan Silberman. A camp Bar Mitzvah is celebrated when someone has been at Camp Tevya for 13 summers. When I started working at camp, Sloan was already in his 6th summer at Tevya and was a part of Tel Chai 2011 and Dor L‘Dor 2012. He was a counselor for 3 years and participated in Onward Israel last summer. It was a special day for Sloan, and also for the entire community.
On Sunday we hosted the Tevya Tennis Invitationals. We always look forward to this event, as we welcome guests from other camps into our camp for this annual competition. The combination of Manu’s (our Head of Tennis) love of tennis, strength as a coach, and touch of competitiveness led to a successful outcome for the Tevya team, as we received the first place trophy.
The inter-camp competitions continued with a group of campers traveling to Camp Pembroke on Monday for the annual Pembroke Swim Meet. On Tuesday, our Bog basketball team traveled to Camp Yavneh and our Tsof basketball team traveled to Camp Tel Noar for tournaments. Tuesday evening our Bogs shared their own talents at an open mic coffee house. Tsofs enjoyed a traditional campfire on Lake Potanipo. And our Oles had a visit from alumna Liz Berman, The Sleepy Baker, who led a cupcake decorating activity.
We woke up early on Wednesday morning ready for our trip to Canobie Lake Park that was announced the night before. However, with rain in the forecast, we decided to postpone the trip to the amusement park for a day. By the end of breakfast, we knew that we had made the right decision as the sky opened up to give us some much needed rain. Typically, we try to keep our campers in their regular scheduled activities as much as possible on rainy days. However, on Wednesday morning, everyone was very happy to stay inside and enjoy bunk time. The sun came out after lunch and we were happy to get back to a full schedule of activities.
Wednesday night, our CITs were decorating El Bess for what they thought was going to be the night of their CIT carnival. Instead they were surprised by their Dor L’Dor friends from Camps Pembroke and Tel Noar. I loved hearing the screams of excitement and the hugs of friendship as they realized that they would be spending an evening of reuniting with their friends at a social and camp fire. The rainy day was a good excuse for an all camp movie. The whole camp, minus Kinneret and Tel Yehuda who wanted to work on Banquet, filled the pavilion to watch the original Ice Age movie.
Yesterday was a very busy camp day. The Oles and Tsofs spent the day at the New Hampshire amusement park, Canobie Lake Park. The water rides were definitely a favorite on the hot day. Meanwhile back at camp, the Bogs enjoyed a late wakeup followed by everyone’s favorite breakfast – omelet bar. After this special morning treat, our oldest campers gathered with our Israeli staff for Army Day, getting a taste of what it is like to be a part of the IDF. As the Oles and Tsofs were heading back from their day at Canobie Lake Park, the Bogs were leaving for their evening trip to Canobie. Upon their return, our Oles and Tsofs had a special evening activity – the CIT carnival. The CITs worked so hard preparing and hosting this fun annual event. The energy in Elbess was amazing and it was all because of the positive spirit of our CITs as they led our campers through games and activities. Although I was disappointed that I could not win an arm wrestling contest, even after 6 weeks of Barre class, the oreo truffle snack definitely made me feel better.
After a long day, all of our campers were happy to get in bed as the last Thursday at camp came to a close. However, it was not the end of the day for some of our staff who greeted counselors from Camp Young Judea for our annual inter-camp staff basketball game. It was a fun game with our staff modeling great sportsmanship and drive. Congratulations to our staff who won the game.
And that brings us back to today, our last Shabbat of the summer. As I stand at flag, I look straight ahead and see Birya and Tel Chai all dressed up ready to lead tonight’s services. And then I look to my right and left and see the campers in Dalia and Yavneh. And I just can’t help thinking about the future. In just 6 years our youngest campers will be at the other end of the flagpole circle. I know, STOP! And I look straight ahead again at Birya and Tel Chai and I notice their confidence, their maturity and their forever friendships. And then I look down the flagpole line and I notice the spirit and smiles of our younger campers. There is so much time to think about the future. Tonight, I am going to enjoy this Shabbat, our final Shabbat of summer 2016.