Our Final Shabbat of the Summer

  • As we prepare for our final Shabbat of the 2019 season, I am finding it very difficult to write this newsletter, my last one as Director of Camp Tevya. I am currently sitting at my desk listening to our office staff planning for camper pick up day, watching our Bogrim and Bogrot do push ups as part of Army Day outside my window and getting ready to give a tour to a prospective family. As I sit here, I reflect on how this past week, and these past 10 years, have flown by, and how grateful I am to have shared each and every one of these summer days with your children.

    Last Friday night we celebrated as Alyson Grodsky and Jake Schwartz received the Aaron and Blanche Gordon Award. The Gordon Award is given to second-year counselors in honor of Aaron, a former Tevya director, and his wife, for their long-time dedication and contribution to both Tevya and the greater Jewish community.  Recipients are chosen based on their exceptional leadership and strong character during their summer as a first-year counselor. We also presented the David Minn Memorial Award to Jordan Kersh and Callum Bannister, returning international staff members. David, our friend and coworker, had a magnetic personality and was truly a connector of all people. His smile, passion and ability to embrace life to the fullest was, and will continue to be, an inspiration to all who knew him. We will remember him each year with this award.

    We continued to celebrate with our staff on Saturday morning as 4 of our staff members held their B’nai Mitzvah at camp and one staff member was honored with a double Bar Mitzvah.  Congratulations to Andy Bluestein, Jamie Marcus, Drew Steinberg and Seth Wulf on spending 13 summers at camp. They each shared their inspirational camp stories, their memories of camp and words of wisdom with the rest of our community.  A special shout out was given to Dan Wulf, who is currently celebrating his 26thsummer at Camp Tevya.

    Sunday was our prospective camper day, and we welcomed 40 families to try Tevya for a day.  The future campers traveled to a variety of camp activities with our older Olim and Olot (campers entering 6thgrade).  We were so proud of our young hosts who shared so much about camp with their new friends.  While the kids were enjoying canoeing, tie dying, making s’mores and climbing on the traverse wall, the parents were touring camp with our leadership team.  The energy of the day was so positive, and we can’t wait to welcome many of our guests into our Tevya community next summer.

    It was a week of engaging electives and bunk activities during the week days and fun evening activities each night.  There were duct tape boats, the all-camp four square tournament, bonfires, movie nights and the Dor L’Dor Carnival.

    Our Dor L’Dor participants (DLD) arrived back at camp last Friday after spending 4 incredible weeks in Israel.  While back at camp, these teens have been focusing on Tikkun Olam experiences.  On Tuesday, representatives from Jayme’s Fund for Social Justice shared information about the organization which inspires and supports human rights for children.  DLD worked with them to make stuffed bears that they delivered to the PAL Center during the week.  The PAL Center in Nashua is an after-school program for at-risk youth.  DLD helped clean up the center and engaged the youth in a variety of activities.  DLD also volunteered at the Nashua Soup Kitchen where they brought the food we collected during drop off day, organized the food shelves, helped with meal preparation and distributed food to community members. They also worked at the New Hampshire Food Bank Production Garden where they tended to the garden and picked vegetables. Each experience involved DLD giving back to the communities surrounding camp.

    Yesterday our Bogrim and Borgot went to Canobie Lake Park for their last trip of the summer.  Today, they had a late wake up and then enjoyed an omelet breakfast before Army Day. We are so grateful for our partnership with the Jewish Agency for Israel which allows us to bring Shlichim to camp each summer.  These young adults share their personal stories and lead educational and engaging programs like Army Day to help connect our campers and staff to Israel. Meanwhile, the rest of camp enjoyed their last trip of the summer at Water Country.

    Which brings us to our final Shabbat of summer 2019 and my final Shabbat as Director of Camp Tevya. During tonight’s Shabbat service gratitude will be introduced as Middah HaShavuah, the value of the week. As I reflect on the past week and on the past 10 years, I want to share a few things for which I am grateful.

    I am grateful that I am part of a community where best friends stand side by side to celebrate successes and side by side to provide support during challenging times.

    I am grateful that I am part of a community where one can make mistakes and is encouraged to grow and learn from them.

    I am grateful that I am part of a community where teamwork is valued, and team members focus on the individual strengths that we each bring to the team.

    I am grateful that I am part of a community where it is expected that when you bring a problem to the table, you also bring a solution.

    I am grateful that I am part of a community where we are never happy with “good enough,” and consistently ask how we can do it better.

    I am grateful that I am part of a community where everyone is encouraged to be their unique self and no one questions it when you wear a Care Bear onesie to flag.

    I am grateful that I am part of the Tevya community. I am grateful for each of you.

    Shabbat Shalom,

    Mindee

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