Creating Camp Memories

  • As we complete our third week of camp, we also prepare to say goodbye to our first session friends.  It was just 3 weeks ago that I shared news on our first Shabbat together, and now tonight, I share news from our last Shabbat of first session.  As we look back on this session, we reflect on the memories that we have created: memories of friendship, memories of fun, memories of discovery and growth.

    Last Saturday after morning Shabbat services, Israel Day was introduced through an energetic breakout of Israeli songs. This fun and educational annual event is planned by our Israeli delegation.  The entire camp was divided into teams and competed in activities all around camp. The day ended with the wall of fortune in which teams received points for prizes.

    Sunday was a regular programming day and campers created memories all around camp. A group of 3rd and 4thgrade boys will remember how they walked across the traverse wall in ropes. A 5thgrade boy will remember standing up on the paddleboard for the first time. A 6thgrade girl will remember making a beautiful butterfly cupcake.  A 7thgrade girl will remember the chicken fashion show in the petting zoo and her 8thgrade friend will remember catching her first fish. A 9thgrade girl will remember how she ran around the entire camp circle for the first time in Couch to 5K, and a 10thgrade boy will remember hitting a bulls eye in archery.  They will all remember doing these activities with the support of their counselors and with their friends by their side.

    Sunday night our Olot and Olim traveled to Chunky’s to see Toy Story 4.  Seeing a movie at Chunky’s is a popular evening trip and the Oles loved getting out of camp for dinner and a movie. Our older Tsofim and Tsofot (campers entering 8thgrade) traveled to Monkey Trunks Adventure Park in Laconia, New Hampshire for their evening trip.  I loved hearing all about the memories created from zip-lining through trees, swinging on beams, walking on tight ropes and getting across rolling logs. It was definitely an adventure! While these campers were gone, our younger Tsofim and Tsofot (campers entering 7thgrade) made duct tape boats and Kinneret and Tel Yehuda (our campers entering 9thgrade) participated in their version of Shark Tank. Birya and Tel Chai took advantage of the quiet night at camp to work on the banquet that they are hosting tomorrow night.

    Monday included basketball tournaments all around New Hampshire.  Our Bog basketball team traveled to Camp Young Judaea for a tournament and our Tsof basketball team traveled to Camp Tel Noar.  We were happy to host 5 camps at Camp Tevya for the Ole basketball tournament.  More memories were created Monday night as the Oles enjoyed a lakeside bonfire with smores, stories and songs and the Tsofs enjoyed an evening of square dancing led by two of their counselors.  Our Bogs participated in Ghost Trials, an interesting evening activity in which campers are put on trial and then sentenced for being guilty of a variety of activities. For example, someone who has trouble waking up in the morning was sentenced to getting up early to make the morning wake up announcement for the whole camp.  Another camper who was found guilty of singing in the shower was sentenced to sing everything they said the following day.  It is all in good fun and don’t worry – we do approve the list before the activity!

    On Tuesday, we had a visit from Amy Bram from the Association of Independent Jewish Camps (AIJC).  We work closely with Amy all year long and we loved showing off the magic of Tevya as she visited us for the first time. As she left, she shared with us how impressed she was that she heard us reference our values multiple times as we made decisions and discussed plans throughout her visit. I will always remember her comments and feel proud about the community we have created at Tevya.

    Tuesday night was our Siagel Social. Please look at this week’s camp video on Facebook and you will be able to feel the energy created by this event. It was truly a night to remember!

    Wednesday morning was a beautiful morning of regular activities before our afternoon in rainy day locations.  As I sat on the girl’s porch Wednesday afternoon thinking about this newsletter, I asked a few of the counselors to share the little things they did to create memories for the girls in their bunks. One counselor talked about how all the counselors take turns reading a chapter of the book “Super Fudge” each night. She knows that it is now a favorite book of the girls in her bunk because of the memory of hearing it read in their bunk with their friends around them.  Another counselor shared how much her campers loved laying on the tennis courts to star gaze, and another talked about her bunk’s dance parties. I loved hearing about the little things that our counselors do to create the big memories, and I will remember the passion of our counselors as they thought about their campers.

    Wednesday night was Night of Tevya Arts, another night for our campers to shine on stage.  Our younger campers performed Mary Poppins and the whole camp sang along to “Just a Spoonful of Sugar.” There were performances from A Capella, Lids, dance, cheer and videography.  Campers were beaming as they showcased what they have accomplished during the first session.

    Although there was a threat of rain, Thursday ended up being a beautiful day for campers to engage in their activities.  I saw a group of campers shooting off the rockets that they made in their rocketry elective.  A 3rdgrade camper could not wait to tell me how his rocket sailed all the way to bunk 27! I saw another group of campers playing street hockey on the sport court and another group learning to take chances as they participated in an auction of wrapped surprise gifts. I sat in on BLT (Bog Leadership Training) as our oldest campers participated in an activity where they drew their “public face” with words describing how the world views them on one side of a plate, and their “inside face” with their feelings on the other side.  Our staff facilitated a great discussion which our campers will remember as they continue to grow as community leaders.

    Thursday night is our traditional BBQ night, but this week we were missing a few groups as our Bogrim and Bogrot (campers entering 9thand 10thgrade) traveled to Chunky’s to see Spiderman and our younger Tsofim and Tsofot (campers entering 7thgrade) enjoyed swimming, miniature golf and ice cream at Cederland.  The rest of camp enjoyed a variety of bunk activities. Our 8thgrade girls were having so much fun with karaoke night.  They were so excited that the kitchen staff joined in on karaoke night, singing a variety of songs.  These campers and staff will always remember the fun they had when everyone was included. When I went to dismiss this group, I walked into a very loud dance party with glow in the dark balloons.  While I knew it was time for them to go to bed, I had to let them stay up a little bit longer as I knew they were creating memories.

    This morning was a game day with Camp Tel Noar. While our teams competed in softball and volleyball, the rest of camp enjoyed their last morning of first session activities before heading into their bunks to pack and clean.  As first session comes to a close, I have to admit I am a little overwhelmed by the fact that this is my last first session as Director. I promised myself (and everyone else) that I would try not to say “last” too many times this summer, but I think it is okay this weekend.  Each and every day memories are created for our campers as they experience so many milestones with their friends by their side. For me, what I will remember most is the smiles on their faces as they create these memories.

    Shabbat Shalom,


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