Four Teams, One Tevya

  • It has been quite a week at Camp Tevya.

    Since I last wrote, our usual Shabbat morning service was transformed into “Shabbat-o-Rama” with Tsofs and Bogs choosing between yoga, traditional, music and meditation services. The Oles had their own special service. The yoga service was led by one of our alumni, and the rest by our staff. These services gave our campers an incredible opportunity to choose a form of prayer that they found most meaningful. Later in the day, Birya and Tel Chai did their own transformation of El Bess and gave us a rousing Four Square Tournament, foreshadowing events soon to come.

    Sunday morning, we welcomed 38 families to camp for our prospective camper day. We were a little challenged by the rain, but camp still happens in the rain, and so it was rainy day activities for all. Our guests went on tours, tried activities and then had a BBQ lunch. In the afternoon, our Jewish Arts Festival performers traveled to Camp Pembroke for the 37th Annual Jewish Arts Festival. I was so proud of our campers who performed 2 songs and 2 dances displaying their interpretation of this year’s festival theme, “We believe in the future.” Watching them definitely made me believe in the future as our campers sang and danced with passionate hearts and genuine smiles. So many people commented that they could tell our kids really had fun performing.  We are already looking forward to the 38th festival which will be held at Camp Tevya next summer.

    DSC_0377Monday was a typical sunny camp day with regular activities. Monday night, however, was a special night as it was trip night for our Oles and Tsofs. The Oles went miniature golfing at Max’s Country Golf in Tyngsboro and the Tsofs went to Chunky’s to see Secret Life of Pets. The Bogs greatly enjoyed having camp to themselves. After the rest of camp left, our oldest campers gathered in the pavilion for a coffee house style concert by singer/songwriter Michael McArthur. Michael was doing a New England tour which included concerts at a few camps, and Tevya was lucky enough to host him. On Monday night and Tuesday, we also had a visit by Harrell Wittenstein, the Executive Director of the Association of Independent Jewish Camps. Camp Tevya is a part of this association that brings camp professionals together to share ideas, connections and resources.

    DSC_0146Everyone “knew” that Color War was breaking on Tuesday (and Monday, and Wednesday), so we had to catch the camp off guard. At 6:30 am, “Eye of the Tiger” played over the PA system. Everyone jumped out of bed and followed the signs to the soccer field. The field was decorated for the Olympics, complete with rings and a torch. As captains and teams were announced, it was wonderful to watch the camp community come together to support their friends, at the same time they divided themselves into four different teams. The rainy weather postponed the activities but did not dampen the excitement. DSC_0196The captains dug for the heart as the rain subsided. In this opening event, team captains dig in the sand to find one piece of a wooden heart puzzle. The color of the piece they find is the color of their team. When placed together, all four pieces (red, yellow, blue and white) form a heart. Teams cheered as each team color was revealed. After rest hour the whole camp headed to the Key to Competition. This event includes the reading of clues followed by the running to different locations to look for the hidden key. This is the key that will hang on the Dining Hall wall with years and years of other Color War keys. This year the key was hidden in the refrigerator in the Science/Videography room. After the key was found, all teams met on the Soccer Field for a Tug of War tournament. Only at camp can Tug of War become a tournament! After a Western-themed dinner and a brief free play, it was time for Culture Bowl. Overall, a very busy and exciting day.

    DSC_0007Early Wednesday morning, camp was already teeming with our 14 and 15 year olds collecting wood. The wood is used for the rope burn, which is the ending event of color war. On any given day a 7:30 am wake-up can be a challenge for this age group, but the desire to succeed in the competition brought them into the woods before 7:00 am to prepare for Color War’s conclusion. After breakfast and clean up, we held our Maccabia Games. This covered everything from the softball throw to a shoe scramble, to wheelbarrow races, ultimately ending with the marathon; the camp Tevya marathon, that is – two times around camp for a 1 mile run. What impressed me the most about our campers who competed in these games was their determination to win complimented by their sportsmanship and support of others. I loved watching campers cheer on their teammates and also their friends on other teams. After lunch and rest hour, we did the All Camp Relay, a favorite camp activity. Every camper has a part in this race. Later, while teams were in their team meetings, we welcomed our 41 CITs back to camp. These campers entering 11th grade had just returned from 5 weeks in Israel as part of the Cohen Camps Dor L’Dor program. They had their first meeting as a Tevya CIT group before joining the whole camp for our Peace, Love and Tie Dye themed dinner. Our 2016 family is now complete and everyone is back home – back in the Tevya bubble for the last 2 weeks of camp.

    Wednesday night was Beat the Clock – a variety of fun races and competitions ranging from an egg toss and pass-the-orange (neck to neck) to the culminating event: the pie eating contest. I don’t think I will ever eat pie again.

    DSC_0285Teams met on Thursday morning to prepare for another day of Color War activities. Some campers participated in the Gordon Games which included newcomb, basketball and kick ball tournaments. Other campers participated in Aquatics Day, racing in events such as the 25-yard newspaper reading (while swimming) race and egg-on-a-spoon (while swimming) race and a Tevya style triathalon of swimming, kayaking and running. The Omen is an event that involves team members canoeing down the river to retrieve their team flag and then canoeing back only to capsize (deliberately) and swim the boat in. The DSC_0138morning ended with the greased watermelon tournament. Lunch led into an extended rest hour due to the fact that everyone was tired from the morning activities. The afternoon was spent with teams preparing for Songfest.  Songfest is one of my favorite events of the summer. In just two days, teams prepare and practice a Hebrew song, a team cheer, an alma mater and a fight song.  They also each present a banner which will hang on the Dining Hall wall next summer. The campers were so proud of their songs and banners!

    DSC_0903This morning was the Apache Relay. This race around camp includes 93 different events. Team members each perform events as part of this all-camp race. There are running events, water events, athletic events and miscellaneous events like eating a bowl of pudding, writing a postcard and drawing a picture. I can’t even describe the energy and spirit generated by the Apache. This event concludes with the team captains skipping across the Bog Field, ready to make a fire with the wood they have been collecting all week. As the fires burn, teams watch and cheer to see which fire burns the team rope first. Points from the week’s events are added up and winners announced. The winner of Color War 2016 was Negev! We spent the afternoon enjoying a beach day and Foam Fest brought to camp by Siagel Productions.

    Now that Color War has ended, we are happy to no longer be four teams and to go back to being one camp. I love that as Color War ends, we go right into Shabbat. I am looking forward to the peacefulness of the holiday followed by the regularity of next week.

    Shabbat Shalom.

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