The Tevya Community Beyond the Bubble

  • I am finding it hard to wait until summer 2013, and so happy that in less than 250 days I will be back on Lake Potanipo with

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    all of our campers and staff. One thing that has made the wait easier is the excitement surrounding our Tevya Alumni Group, led by Chairs Joel and Ellen Silberman (who met at Camp Tevya). The passion and dedication of our former campers is humbling and gives true meaning to community. The group has evolved over the years into recently developed committees including Camper Recruitment and Retention (including Parent Connections), Alumni Engagement, Staff Support, Camp Advancement and the 75th Reunion (happening in 2014!). Ben Portnoy recently met with a subcommittee of the Alumni Engagement Committee – look what they have planned!


    The Young Alumni Committee
    (Left to Right): Ben Portnoy, Jeff Sarasohn, Rachel Ades, Elyse Horowitz, Emily Siagel, Jaime Wluka, Ilana Fishman, Ben Aronson

    Do you want to relive your Tevya memories by spending a night in the bunks with your best friends? Of course you do! How about participating in the Apache Relay with your family and Tevya friends from across multiple generations? Yes…the actual Apache Relay. I know I would! And I know you would too. Luckily, you and I are not the only people who feel this way.

    Since last spring, a group of dedicated “young alumni” have been meeting regularly to plan alumni events with the goal of bringing the Tevya community together year-round. Inspired by the success of last summer’s Legends vs. Staff Softball Game, they

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    are ramping up their efforts, increasing their numbers, and expanding their reach in order to plan, coordinate, and implement a series of Alumni events throughout the coming months in the Boston, New York City, and D.C. areas, as well as at Tevya this coming summer.

    Be on the lookout for an upcoming Young Alumni Events Calendar. In the meantime, here is a brief overview of what to expect:

    • An informal Boston Bar Night on Saturday, November 24th
    • A Bowling night in Boston in February
    • Social events in New York City and D.C., the dates of which are yet to be determined
    • The first annual Alumni Apache Relay (yes…we are having an Alumni Apache!) on Sunday, May 5th. All Alumni and their families will have the opportunity to register and participate in a modified Alumni Apache Relay, or to just attend the event to cheer on your friends and enjoy a BBQ. (To answer your question, yes, we will be burning those ropes.)
    • The first annual BTC B’nai Mitzvah on Friday, June 21st, with BTC 2000 as our inaugural, honored guests. Starting this summer with BTC 2000, Birya and Tel Chai groups will be invited to camp to celebrate their 13th reunions. They will have the opportunity to come up on Friday for Alumni Shabbat, spend the night at camp in bunks, then participate in Saturday morning services, followed by a special BTC B’nai Mitzvah activity.

    The motivation or driving force behind the work of the Young Alumni Committee is something fairly simple: community. Those of us involved in the committee each have a different “Tevya story,” but the one thing we all share is that we are, and forever will be a part of the Tevya community. I was away from Tevya for seven years prior to returning last summer. I learned a lot in my absence, but managed to learn one very important lesson upon returning: it’s the people that make the place, not the place itself. Tevya alums recall the actual physical space of Tevya so fondly because they remember all the laughs and the tears they shared there with their best friends. Sure, Tevya is a beautiful piece of land and a Potanipo sunset is so awe-inspiring that even Statler and Waldorf from The Muppets would be rendered speechless upon witnessing one, but without friends to share the splendor of Tevya and make it come alive, it becomes just another piece of land. I believe that happiness is only real when shared, and Tevya is nothing but the creating and sharing of happiness.

    At the heart of this shared happiness is one word: community. The notion of the “Tevya Community” has been around since 1939, and will still exist when we celebrate Tevya’s 75th reunion in 2014, as well as its 100th reunion in 2039. I was ensconced in the Tevya community for 9 years of my life, but it was only through leaving and returning years later for my 10th summer that I realized how tangible the feeling of community actually is. I do not want this to be the case for alumni. You should not have to leave then return to Tevya just to get that Tevya community feeling back. The feeling of being a part of the Tevya community should transcend our time at camp and forever be a part of our lives.


    Don’t miss out on the excitement of the Tevya Alumni Group – Register to receive information about alumni happenings or update your information here. To explore ways to get involved, contact Ellen or Joel Silberman, Chairs of the Tevya Alumni Group, at or We can’t wait to re-connect with you!

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