A week of celebrations

  • Each week on Shabbat we introduce Middah HaShavua, the value of the week, at our Friday night service.  Last week we gathered together for our first Shabbat of the summer, and “community” was introduced as our value of the week. Everything that happens at camp starts with being a strong community and so community was chosen as our first Middah HaShavua. Campers and staff were encouraged to notice acts of community building around camp in the coming week, which was easy for all to do! As we prepare for our second Shabbat of the summer, we reflect on being a community. We also celebrate a week of royalty and red, white and blue!

    Sunday morning was the kick off for our week of royalty. When we arrived in the dining hall for breakfast, Birya (our girls entering 10thgrade) was lined up and about to start singing clues to reveal their King.  For those of you new to the Tevya community, each year Birya chooses a King, a male staff member who provides additional support and mentorship to the campers. The King is typically a good listener, problem solver and role model to the campers who pick him.  Likewise, Tel Chai (our boys entering 10thgrade) choose a Queen. And you guessed it – Dalia (our youngest girls) and Yavneh (our youngest boys) choose a Prince and Princess respectively.  Just writing about it, I realize that this might sound a little strange to some of you, but it really is a meaningful tradition at Tevya.

    The royalty chosen is a surprise to everyone and is revealed at the end of a series of songs and chants that give clues about the person chosen.  We are pleased to announce the 2019 Royal Court: Birya King Alex Mindich, Tel Chai Queen Leah Shems, Dalia Prince Brett Silk and Yavneh Princess Sammy Karten.  Congratulations to all crowned!

    Throughout the week, I spend time enjoying walks around camp and seeing our community engaged in a variety of activities. As I loop around the circle, I see an energetic hip hop class, an intense basketball game, a fun 9-square competition and an engaging lesson preparing to make a paper mache pinata. I am also mesmerized by the beautiful voices in an A Capella class and entertained by our youngest campers who are discovering different sounds as they walk around camp drumming in a LIDS class.  I always enjoy watching Manu, our Head of Tennis for the past 13 years, share her enthusiasm of tennis with our campers.  This week I sat in on a class with Dalia and watched as she taught the basics of tennis to some first time campers. She later shared that her goal is get them interested in Tennis so that they will want to play at home!

    On Wednesday, a group of Olim and Olot (campers entering 3rdthrough 6thgrade) traveled to Camp Young Judea to participate in the Jr. Jr. Jamboree.  This event included games of gaga, dodgeball, kickball and Newcomb.  It is a great opportunity for our youngest campers to get out of camp, bond as a Tevya team, and have some fun! Although the Jr. Jr. Jamboree was a highlight of the day for our young campers, seeing a baby deer run through camp was a close second! Wednesday night was Spirit Night, an event planned by our oldest campers in anticipation of our first game day on Friday.  Tevya cheers were taught and athletic teams were introduced.

    A week into camp, we could see that our community had been working hard and playing hard and needed a little break.  The break came by means of a late wake up on Thursday morning, July 4th.  The cheers that we heard when it was announced that wake up would be at 8:00am instead of 7:30am made me think Color War had broken.  The late wake up was definitely appreciated!

    Although the Fourth of July is a regular programming day, the red, white and blue clothes, hats and other accessories worn by our campers and staff to breakfast made it clear Thursday was a special day.  Even I broke out my Star Spangled Banner onesie pajamas! It was another nice day to walk around camp, and I was lucky to enough to spend some time with some of the girls in Birya.  The girls had set up a hammock circle in the grove, an area with picnic tables right next to the pavilion.  They were all so happy hanging out, talking, and sharing stories as they relaxed together in their hammock community.  When the next period was announced, these girls were joined by the rest of Birya for Tarbut, Jewish Culture.  They continued experiencing the meaning of community through a variety of fun activities.  One activity included each camper holding a rope in a circle. One by one each girl climbed on the rope and walked around the raised circle while the rest of the age group held on tight to support their friend. As I walked up to the group, they encouraged me to try it.  With the help of the staff, I climbed up on the rope and carefully walked around the circle.  While I was worried that I would fall, I was comforted by the support of our oldest campers who cheered me on and promised to hold on tight.  It really was an inspirational moment for me, as I knew that my success, along with the success of each girl who walked on the rope, was dependent on the support of those around us.  It is amazing what we can learn with a rope and some friends.

    The Fourth of July celebration continued with a Patriotic song session after lunch. After an afternoon of regular activities, we gathered for our annual Red, White and Blue Social followed by fireworks on the beach. The town of Brookline, New Hampshire uses Camp Tevya’s Skunk Hollow (an area across the lake) to launch the town’s fireworks.  As a community, we sat on our beach with front row seats to the spectacular show. Our campers received glow sticks and red, white and blue popsicles to celebrate the holiday.

    Today was our first game day with Camp Young Judea. Our Ole Softball, Tsof Softball, Bog Volleyball and Archery teams traveled to Young Judea, and the Ole Newcomb, Tsof Volleyball and Bog Softball played at Tevya. The two camp communities showed great competitiveness and determination, as well as sportsmanship in game play. The warm weather didn’t slow them down!

    Which brings us to our second Shabbat of the summer.  Everyone just finished our traditional Friday afternoon pizza snack and is heading back to their cabins to put on their blue and white. Soon we will gather together in the pavilion as a community to reflect on the past week and to welcome the new week.

    Shabbat Shalom,


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