• There are so many things that make Tevya special, and the Cornerstone Fellows are one of them. Each year Mindee and Ben select 4 – 6 returning counselors that are the “cornerstones” of Camp Tevya.  Cornerstone, an incredible program sponsored by the Foundation for Jewish Camp, gives these fortunate young professionals the opportunity to join hundreds of the best camp counselors from Jewish camps across North America to participate in a transformative leadership experience. Camp Tevya has been honored to participate in this program for the past 4 years. 

    Being a part of the Cornerstone Fellowship included attending a 4-day seminar in the spring at Capital Camps in Pennsylvania.  At the Cornerstone Seminar, fellows from over 300 camps came together for 4 days of workshops, trainings, song sessions, and campfires, learning from seasoned faculty and from each other. Fellows connected with others who are passionate about Jewish camp, and they share the “magic” and ideas among their camps. Fellows are given the time to interact with prominent experts across a wide variety of fields by selecting their own track to follow while at the Cornerstone Seminar. 

    Our fellows generated creative new ideas and program initiatives to integrate the new Jewish value of the week into the daily happenings at Camp Tevya. 

    Cornerstone is so proud to have brought the Middah Ha’Shavuah, the value of the week, to camp in such a strong, consistent and effective manner this summer.  It begins during our Friday night service with a now very popular new song that two of our Cornerstone Fellows wrote before camp. The song introduces the new value of the week both in Hebrew and in English.  The whole camp joins in with this catchy new value jingle and at the end of the song we all sing, “Next Week They’ll Be Another One.” During Saturday morning services, Mindee gives the D’Var Torah and eloquently describes how the Torah teaches us how to model these Jewish Values.  Mindee highlights examples of what she sees around camp as both campers and counselors lead by example demonstrating the value of the week. Throughout the week campers learn more about these important Jewish values in their Tarbut, Jewish culture, classes. Each night during free play the value boxes are set up around camp and both campers and counselors fill out nomination slips to recognize campers and counselors that have exemplified that value of the week and site their example.  On Friday, we award each of the campers, counselors and leadership staff that have been nominated with a special value of the week bracelet. Each week’s bracelet has the value of the week in Hebrew, English and Transliteration and is a special color. Everyone wears their value bracelets around camp with pride. 

    Along with the Cornerstone initiative back at Camp we also have made a concerted effort this summer to increase the awareness of Cornerstone by highlighting the amazing personal growth and benefits to being a Cornerstone Fellow. We hope that  more counselors will seek out this incredible opportunity in the future.  Fellows are given the opportunity to develop skills to make a positive and innovative impact on their camp community. Cornerstone offers an important professional development opportunity for senior camp staff, throughout the Cornerstone program. The Fellows are supported by their Camp Liaison, who provides coaching throughout the summer so their goals, visions, and action plans can be implemented successfully.  Counselors can add this prestigious fellowship on their resume and they join a network of more than 3,600 Cornerstone alumni from across North America and Israel. 

    We are grateful to Mindee for inviting us to participate in Cornerstone and for her support of the programs we have implemented at Camp this summer.  And we are appreciative to Cornerstone Fellowship, sponsored by the Foundation for Jewish Camp for providing such an important professional development opportunity for senior camp staff.

    With Tevya Spirit – Gayle Seletz

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