Counting Down the Memories

  • Math was my least favorite subject in school. It just never totally clicked. Social Studies, English, History, Science, Gym – no problem. I loved learning in those subjects, especially Gym. The material was accessible for me. It was relatable and fascinating and malleable. Math was cold and rigid numbers and equations. Math and numbers may as well have been a foreign language to me, like Spanish… which was a lot like math because it actually was a foreign language to me.

    Today, I have a much more positive relationship with math and numbers.  Camp Tevya, believe it or not, is the reason for this. One of the best lessons I have learned at Tevya is the importance of having a positive perspective. Math doesn’t need me, but I certainly need it, so I have learned to appreciate how much it helps with providing the best possible experience for our campers and staff. Without math, for example, how would we know how much s’mores supplies to get for a campfire? Or how many busses to order for a Water Country trip? Or how many bunk beds we need in each cabin? Or how to outline “Tevya” to scale on the Bog Field to take an aerial picture of the entire camp filling in the letters? Or, most importantly, how many days are left until camp?

    DSC_0270The “days until camp” countdown is a crucial piece of every offseason. It starts the day camp ends and stops the day camp begins, only to start again once the summer is over. It takes intangible feelings of excitement, sadness, anxiety, and hope and turns them into something tangible and quantifiable. “Why I am so sad? Oh, because there’s 300 days until camp…” “Why I am so excited? Oh, because there’s 15 days until camp!” The camp countdown gives definition to the full range of emotions we experience about camp during the offseason. As one Tevya parent recently said about her son, “As happy as it makes me that he loves Tevya as much as he does, I am just as sad for him that he has a long while until it’s time to return!”

    As we come into the final stretch of another important countdown, the countdown to 2016, it’s impossible not to become nostalgic and think about all the wonderful events and memories we shared at Camp Tevya in Summer 2015. Friendships and bonds were strengthened through laughter and tears, unforgettable memories were made, and personal growth took place on so many levels. How could we ever hope to define or categorize the magic that takes place there?

    In an attempt to sum up Summer 2015, I want to share this poem written by Tevya counselor, Lili Kadets. Lili read this poem to our 2015 Staff on the final day of camp after all the campers had left. It brings structure and meaning to two months of magic and memories simply by counting to ten.

    1 wouch.
    three and a half week sessions.
    different age groups on both the boys and girls side.
    4 colorful, competitive Color War teams.
    5 kinds of milk from the freezer in the corner of the dining hall.
    6 enthusiastic, loving, patient, wacky, onesie-wearing, radio-carrying, night-dismissing head counselors.
    and a half weeks of hugs, Birkat Hamazons, CSC, Chortles, sunshine, announcements, line ups, clean ups, ODs, staff shirts, sandy bunks and sunsets.
    8 sophisticated methods for attempting to quiet the dining hall after breakfast, lunch and dinner.
    9 million reasons to love Tevya.
    10 months until we are back in our Tevya bubble.

    As we head into the new year with all the hope, anxiety, and excitement of heading into a new Tevya summer, here’s some math-inspired Tevya facts to put the moment into perspective:

    22 weeks until Bunk Assignments are mailed.
    182 sunrises until we can share our first Potanipo sunset.
    6 months until the first grilled cheese Monday.
    209 days until Color War will break…or is it 223??
    4,536 hours until the first jump on the Water Trampoline.
    184 evenings until our first Shabbat together.
    435 campers and 120 staff excitedly counting down every moment until we can be 1 Tevya Community!

    Happy New Year and we’ll see you in 2016!


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