Honoring a Friend

  • As opening day quickly approaches, we are busy painting buildings, planning staff orientation and ordering supplies. We are also preparing for The Tevya Trot, Camp Tevya’s first annual 5K road race and 1 mile walk/run being held on Sunday, June 9th benefiting the Seth Feldman Fitness Center. The planning of this event has been inspirational as I have watched Seth’s friends and family come together to honor Seth. Jennifer Goodman, the voice you hear when you call camp in the summer and a good friend of Seth’s, shares the meaning and importance of creating the Seth Feldman Fitness Center.

    I spent 11 summers of my youth on the shores of Lake Potanipo, learning independence, creating friendships that I still cherish today, and experiencing adventures like waterskiing and sailing for the first time. One of my most significant, life-changing camp experiences was what I learned from my friend and fellow camper Seth Feldman during his 3½ year battle with a brain tumor.

    Picture this: It was the mid 80’s amid verdant woodlands when big hair and big muscles were all the rage. My group of friendsFlex were so excited because this was our BTC summer, our last summer as campers. Seth and his friend Michael set up the weights that they had received permission to bring to camp on the stage of El Bess. The first Camp Tevya weight room was born! The boys of Tel Chai and Tel Yehuda spent their summer getting pumped up and walking around camp all summer flexing their muscles and asking others to flex as well. Their bunk song that summer was “Muscles”. Whole pages in the Kolainu were dedicated to campers and counselors flexing muscles of all shapes and sizes. We were typical teenagers and we thought we were invincible. That was the summer before the diagnosis.

    It was only a short time after that remarkable summer that Seth was hospitalized and the brain tumor was discovered. At that time news didn’t travel like it does now. There was no email, only snail mail. Facebook and twitter were decades away from existing. Long distance phone calls were expensive, and you paid per minute versus unlimited calling. As you can imagine, communication during the 10 long months away from our precious 03033 was difficult. This was especially true if you were growing up in Maine, which may have well been another country. However, the news about Seth did make it to me, although I don’t remember how or from whom. What I do remember is learning that my friend was told he only had a few months to live and I remember how upset I was.

    FootballSeth defied the odds as he and his family faced their battle head-on with caring, strength and perseverance. Despite (or perhaps in spite of) his diagnosis, Seth had goals he wanted to achieve. First, heGraduation was determined to return to Camp Tevya for his CIT summer, which he did. Second, he wanted to play varsity football on his high school’s team. His senior year he was a place kicker. Finally, he wanted to go to college. He was accepted early decision into Dartmouth College’s graduating class of 1992 and attended the first semester of his freshman year prior to his death on Dec. 22, 1988, at 17-years-old, just days before his 18th birthday.

    Seth’s battle touched all of us that were close to him. At a time when he could have easily given up, he dug in deeper and showed his true character. It is that character that I remember…dedicated, strong, and courageous. Twenty-five years after his death, I still think about Seth and remember my friend who brought his own weights to camp and set them up on the stage in El Bess so that the boys of Tevya could stay in shape, and flex their muscles.

    As health and fitness were so important to him, I can’t think of a better way to honor Seth than to create and name a fitness center at Camp Tevya after him. He would be honored to know that generations of Tevya campers and staff would be able to commit to fitness and health through the Seth Feldman Fitness Center.Lifting

    Please help us honor Seth’s life – and enhance the lives of current and future campers – by supporting Camp Tevya’s first annual Tevya Trot 5K road race and 1 mile walk/run. Whether you’re a runner, walker, volunteer and/or sponsor please help to carry on this legacy and share in this commitment. We’ll see you on Sunday, June 9, 2013 at Camp Tevya; get full details and register at www.tevyatrot.com. Thank you for your support.

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