Transitioning Into Second Session with Courage

  • Dear Tevya community:

    There is a popular saying that a day at camp lasts forever and a week at camp goes by so fast.  On the one hand, so much happens each and every day at camp and at the end of the day it just seems impossible that we can accomplish so much in a 24-hour period. On the other hand, we love our summers on Lake Potanipo and with each passing week, we get closer and closer to the end of summer.  This sentiment was felt very deeply last Shabbat as it was our final Shabbat of first session and marked the ½ way point of our summer.

    As we prepared to say goodbye to our first session campers and welcome our second session campers, courage was introduced as the value of the week, the Middah HaShavuah. The Friday night service was led by our Big and Little Sisters and Brothers. It was so moving to see our older campers displaying courage as they took on the responsibility of being role models for our youngest campers.  It was also amazing to see the growth in the “littles” who just a few weeks ago were adjusting to their first days at camp and were now leading the Shabbat service with pride.

    We didn’t let the heat on Saturday interfere with our last day of first session, although we did make special accommodations to keep everyone hydrated and safe.  After morning services, we scheduled a free swim rotation so everyone could have a break from cleaning and packing to cool off.  We also surprised everyone with a visit from the Kona Ice Truck.  The shaved ice was the perfect afternoon snack before our first session awards banquet where many campers were honored for their positive attitude, hard work and courage in department areas.

    All session, Birya and Tel Chai (our campers entering 9thand 10thgrade) worked hard on a variety of committees preparing for the First Session Banquet.  Saturday night they showcased their hard work with the “Sponge Bob Square Pants” banquet. Now, everyone can say they ate at the Krusty Krab as kitchen became this popular restaurant and the dining hall was under the sea.  After dinner we went to ElBess (our indoor gym and gathering space) to celebrate first session with a slide show and shira (singing). The tears that flowed as campers said goodbye to their friends was a true testament of the success of first session.

    The Sunday between first and second session is always the hardest day of the summer as our emotions are on a continuous roller coaster.  Following the party atmosphere and celebration at the banquet and then the tears and hugs that follow as our 130 first session campers depart, we prepared to welcome the families of our full season campers for visiting day.  Many families enjoyed the waterfront activities, picnicking with friends, and touring camp before heading out to restock toiletries, get haircuts and enjoy family time. With all campers out of camp, our staff was very busy preparing for second session.  They made new welcome signs and job wheels, moved furniture and learned about the new campers joining our community.

    We were happy to welcome back our full season campers, who quickly readjusted to being back at camp following visiting day.  That night, our Olim and Olot spent an evening bowling at Leda Lanes in Nashua. Our Tsofim and Tsofot also went to Leda Lanes where they enjoyed glow bowling. Our Bogrim and Bogrot saw the Spiderman movie at Chunky’s Theatre.

    We all woke up early Monday morning to prepare to welcome our 90 second session campers. I still get those same butterflies in my stomach as I greet cars every drop-off day.  It doesn’t matter how many opening days I experience, I still get so excited for our campers as they enter or re-enter the Tevya bubble. I know the adventure that awaits them and I can’t wait to share it with them. It takes courage to be open to the camp adventure and I am so impressed by all who jump right in. After a morning of introductions and our traditional grilled cheese lunch, we went right into an afternoon of regular activities. It was raining, so some of our activities were held in rainy day locations.

    Monday night was our counselor talent show. Our staff were role models for courage as they got up on the stage in front of 450 people and displayed their talents with great emotion and pride. There were dancers, musicians, singers and the passing of traditions.  Just prior to the last act, the lights went dim, and some of our male counselors performed a “glow stick dance.”  We only saw the bright colored lights moving across the stage until “Eye of the Tiger” started playing, the lights came on, and the counselors were in Color War shirts. Yes, it was second session and the Color War fake breaks had begun. 1,2,3,4, you want Color War; 5,6,7,8, you will have to wait!

    After the weekend heat, I had to catch myself when I complained that I was chilly from Tuesday morning’s rain and I welcomed the rain as it did reduce the heat. We held our regular activities in rainy day locations in the morning and we were happy when the sun came out for afternoon activities. On Tuesday afternoon our Jewish Arts Festival singers, along with the singers from Camp Tel Noar and Camp Pembroke, traveled to Newbridge on the Charles in Dedham to perform for their residents, including Annebelle Cohen. Jewish Arts Festival is a celebration of Israeli music and dance that will be held next week at Camp Tel Noar.

    Tuesday night’s British Night was kicked off with a fish and chips dinner followed by an evening of activities that allowed our UK staff to educate our campers and staff about their home. The carnival-like stations included activities such as a football (soccer) kick, a hand print flag, biscuits, and a word matching game.  Did you know that an English bin is a trashcan, and crisps are potato chips?  It takes courage to travel so far from home and these staff were so appreciative that they had the opportunity to share their traditions with us.

    After the heat of the weekend and the rain that followed, Wednesday and Thursday were much-appreciated perfect weather days! I love walking around camp and seeing campers engaged in such a variety of activities.  There was a group of Olim boys making pillows in arts and crafts. They all showed me their projects with such pride. There was a softball game and a soccer game happening at the same time.  At both activities, I heard campers supporting their friends with “good try” and “you got this.” I witnessed courage as a bunk of Olot campers climbed to the top of the Minn Traverse Wall, and a few Tsofot went sailing for the first time. I laughed with campers who couldn’t find the rocket they made in rocketry until they found that it landed on the roof of the pavilion.  And I received and provided encouragement with campers in Couchto5K and a Boot Camp class.

    Wednesday night Olim and Olot got to connect and get to know each other with ice breaker games. Bogrim and Bogrot enjoyed a Luau and campfire on the beach and Tsofim and Tsofot participated in a dutch auction.

    Last night was a trip night for our Bogrim and Bogrot. Birya and Tel Chai traveled to Mel’s Funway and enjoyed go-carts, miniature golf and laser tag.  Kinneret and Tel Yehuda saw the New Hampshire Fisher Cats win their baseball game 9-0. I traveled with them to the game and have to admit I had as much fun as they did. Leave it to our kids to befriend the audience announcer, find out he is Jewish, and get to be on the big screen playing a trivia game!

    Friday morning was a game day with Camp Tel Noar.  Our Bog volleyball team, Tsof softball team, and Ole newcomb teams stayed to play at Camp Tevya and our Bog Softball, Tsof Volleyball, and Ole softball traveled to Camp Tel Noar for their games.  We kept to our regular schedule this afternoon including our pre-Shabbat pizza snack.

    And now, in just a blink of an eye, it is time to prepare for another Shabbat. As I watch our campers and staff dressed in their blue and white, I feel a little sentimental realizing that I will only see this twice more. However, I feel deeply inspired by the acts of courage I have seen during this first week of second session and I feel proud knowing that I am part of a community that includes courage as an important value. As a camper who tried out for (and didn’t make) the Bog softball team said to me this week, “If you don’t put yourself out there and at least try, you will never be successful at anything. I am proud of myself that I tried.”  I love when I can share a lesson that I learned from a camper. It is not about making the team, it is about having the courage to try.

    Shabbat Shalom,

    Mindee

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