Week of Integrity

  • Last Shabbat we introduced integrity as the Middah HaShavuah, the value of the week. Tying the value into the D’var Torah, we discussed the idea that we don’t follow camp rules simply because we are afraid of consequences, or because we want praise, although everyone does benefit from positive feedback. We follow the rules of camp, even when no one is looking, because we are committed to doing the right thing for the right reasons. When we have integrity, we have a sense of moral standards and beliefs in which we hold ourselves accountable. 

    Camp is the perfect environment to develop integrity. Living in a close community helps us feel accountable to our friends and the whole camp community. Our actions impact so many other people. During services, we encouraged everyone to think about their own standards and to spend the coming week recognizing integrity in others.  It was the perfect value for the week; Color War was going to break. But for that, you still have to wait. 

    After Havdalah on Saturday, campers and staff participated in the all-time favorite evening activity, $1.98. Each age group picked a counselor to perform a song and dance with them on stage. They spent the afternoon practicing, and the results made everyone smile, and laugh a bit too!

    Tevya hosted the annual Tennis Invitationals on Sunday. This tennis tournament is always fun to watch and can get a little intense. Our community takes our tennis very seriously.  We welcomed guests from Camp Young Judaea, Camp Tel Noar, Camp Pembroke, Camp Bauercrest, Camp Yavneh and Camp Avoda, who all appreciated our recently restored courts. Four of Tevya’s campers made it to the final round, and Tevya ended up taking home (or keeping at home), the first place trophy.  Sunday was also the Bogrot basketball tournament at Camp Tel Noar and the Tsofot basketball tournament at Camp Young Judaea. 

    Campers who were not on one of these teams enjoyed a typical day at camp. The waterfront looked amazing, the photography class walked around camp taking pictures and the Great Outdoors nature class prepared for their upcoming overnight. Monday night our Olim and Olot, our youngest campers, traveled to Chunky’s movie theatre to see The Incredibles 2, while our older campers participated in a variety of evening activities at camp. 

    For most campers, Monday was another typical camp day filled with arts and crafts, athletics and tarbut. However, for the 18 campers participating in the Jewish Arts Festival, it was an exciting day as we traveled to Newbridge on the Charles to perform for Annebelle Cohen and the other residents at Newbridge.  Along with Camp Tel Noar and Camp Pembroke, our performers sang a repertoire of songs that they will be performing at next week’s festival. On the way back from Dedham, we met up at Chunky’s for the Bog trip to see The Incredibles 2. Also on Monday night, the older Tsofim and Tsofot experienced the ropes course and zipline at Monkey Trunks while our younger Tsofs swam and golfed at Cederland Family Fun Center. Having gone on their trip the night before, the Olim and Olot enjoyed having the beach to themselves for sand castle building. 

    Tuesday morning as our campers and staff left the dining hall after breakfast, they looked up to see an airplane flying low over camp. The airplane was clearly heading for Lake Potanipo, where red, yellow, white, and blue smoke was billowing off the docks. Everyone started running. Color War had broken!  

    With the entire camp gathered on the beach, we shared how Color War was a time to showcase Camp Tevya at its best. And by best, we didn’t mean the best at getting the greased watermelon on the dock, or the best at free shots. We meant being our best camp community. We are a community who steps outside our comfort zone, who listens to others, who works together as a team, who encourages everyone to lead, lose with dignity, celebrate with friends, and support friends. 

    In the morning, teams dug for pieces of the heart to determine the color of their team. After lunch, it was the key to competition. Team members were given clues and had to search all over camp for the hidden key.  It was hidden under a towel on the bunk 2 clothes line. Once we had the key, Color War was set to begin. The all camp relay was next, and it was so great to see every camper participating in this race. After dinner, campers competed in Culture Bowl, a trivia game, ending the first day of Color War.  

    On Wednesday, teams participated in Maccabiah games, a variety of fun competitions.  For the first time, we ran two sets of games simultaneously, one for the Tsofs and Bogs and one for the Oles.  This allowed for more campers to participate in Color War events.  Although most campers take Color War very seriously, it is hard not to laugh when trying to find your shoes amongst a pile of other shoes in the shoe scramble, try to run a straight line in the Dizzy Izzy race, or run with a friend in the three-legged and wheelbarrow races. The fun continued that night with Beat the Clock. I remember seeing this event for the first time in 2009. Campers definitely learn the value of being silly and being able to laugh at themselves as they race with a mummy wrap, an egg toss, and a pie eating contest.

    While Color War continued in the afternoon, I traveled back to Dedham to meet our CITs at the Rashi School.  After 5 weeks in Israel, our 50 CITs were back home and ready to return to camp.  We couldn’t wait to greet them at camp and complete our 2018 camp family!  

    On Thursday, our camp was alive with activity. From our athletic fields to Lake Potanipo, our campers engaged in athletic and aquatic competitions. Softball, volleyball, it really doesn’t matter – we all had a great time together! Following the end of triathlons, marathons, and sport games galore, the entire camp community gathered on the beach to watch a friendly game of greased watermelon. After lunch, teams divided up to practice the original songs written by the Bogs for Songfest. With high spirits and slightly hoarse voices, we enjoyed a barbecue dinner. But, fear not, the greased watermelon was not served for dessert. 

    Thursday night’s Songfest is my personal favorite activities.  As a judge, I get to look out and see the faces of the entire camp as they proudly sing their songs. It is a beautiful night. 

    Today was the final event of Color War, the Apache Relay.  I will do my best to describe it, but no written words could ever explain the feelings produced by this 94-step race around camp.  Each team assigns team members to one or more of the activities that happen throughout camp. Activities include braiding a challah, hitting a ball over the tennis court, drawing a picture of Dan Wulf, the Adrenaline Force obstacle course and cooking, eating a hot dog, and about 89 other activities! My favorite part of the day is watching teammates cheer each other on as they accomplish their assigned task. The relay ends with team captains skipping across the field to build a fire and burn the rope that hangs over the fire.  It is an incredible thing to experience. At the start of Color War, I shared how this was a week that showcased Tevya at its best, and we were not disappointed.  The courage, sportsmanship, teamwork, leadership and integrity that were displayed all week long, made me so proud of our camp.  I know you would be proud of your kids.  They were all winners this week, although Galil ended up on top.  

    The best thing about Color War is that as soon as it ends, it ends.  All of Birya and Tel Chai are now enjoying lunch on the beach together as one community.  Tonight our community will all come back together as we welcome Shabbat and prepare for a new week, our last full week together. 

    Shabbat Shalom,

    Mindee

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