Dear Tevya families,
Before campers arrive for Opening Day, there is a tremendous amount of anticipation and build up. It’s like watching a pot of water waiting for it to boil. As you’re staring at it, you lift up the lid to see if there’s been any progress, and it looks like nothing’s happening. You watch it for a bit longer, and still nothing. Then you move away from it and focus on other things. Before you know it, steam is pushing through the lid and the water is boiling over. At camp, things move slowly at first. You’re taking it all in and focusing on every little thing as it happens. But then, without realizing it, you stop thinking about camp and you just “do” camp. Camp has a flow and rhythm that moves calmly yet swiftly all at the same time. Daily activities blend together, late nights laughing in the bunks turn into morning breakfasts on the beach, walks up to the Dining Hall with friends talking about everything and nothing flow into lounging on the water trampoline at the Water Park. Before you realize it, it’s the last Shabbat of First Session and campers are packing to go home on Sunday. I talked with two campers outside the Dining Hall last night who summed it up pretty well. I saw them pacing closely together, so I approached and asked if everything was ok.
“It happened so fast,” one of them said.
“What did?” I asked.
“Camp!” they said in unison. “The days went by so slowly, but the weeks went by so fast!”
Though they went by fast, the days and weeks of First Session have been phenomenal, and we can’t thank our First Session families enough for sharing your children with us. Your children will be excited to see you Sunday morning, but don’t be surprised if they also shed some tears and seem a bit different than when you first dropped them off. Yes, they’ll be more tired and likely a bit dirtier, but also more confident and filled with memories to carry them until next summer.
Community Health Update
We’ve managed to beat the heat so far this week. From extra free swims and time at the Water Park to playing tag and dodge ball in the sprinklers, we found fun ways to stay cool. Up to this point, we have successfully managed COVID-19 with our layered approach. For our Season campers, we will return to our beginning of session protocol for Second Session with testing and masking indoors until we receive results of our Day +3 tests. All staff will continue to test twice per week, and campers and staff who visit the health center with symptoms will be tested.
This past Monday, we participated in three Basketball tournaments. Our Bog team played at YJ, our Tsof team visited Tel Noar, and our Ole team competed at Tevya. It was great to be back to the competition with nearby camps. On Tuesday, Party Excitement visited for a really fun all camp social. The music was pumping in Elbess and campers had a lot of fun dancing and taking pictures in the photo booth.
On Wednesday, we had our accreditation visit with the American Camp Association (ACA). As an ACA accredited camp, we are held accountable to a set of standards and best practices for summer camps across the country. We submit annual reviews each off-season, and we undergo a more through review and site visit every five years. We are happy to report that we received a renewal of our accreditation! On Wednesday night we had a trip night for our Oles at Max’s Country Golf and our Tsofs at Chunky’s Movie Theater for a showing of Minions. The Bogs had camp to themselves and they played Outlaws, a marriage of capture the flag and manhunt.
On Thursday, after an exciting adventure in Israel, our Kadima teens landed safely in Boston. We are excited to welcome them to camp soon! Our last regular evening activity of the session was Night of Tevya Arts (Tarts). It was a great showcase of all of our performing arts electives including dance, cheer, acapella, and scenes from musical theater.
The value of this past week, which was introduced last Shabbat, was Wisdom. Campers and counselors were asked to keep their eyes open throughout the week and nominate people around camp who were demonstrating the value of Wisdom. Counselors read the nomination sheets aloud with their bunks during Shabbat Prep and rewarded individuals or groups with a bracelet that states the week’s value in English and Hebrew. Nominations included examples of friends offering supportive advice, campers showing the new skills they’ve learned, and counselors supporting campers during challenges.
This afternoon, after our final Shabbat, and more packing time, we will gather in Elbess for our First Session Department Award Ceremony. All session long, campers have been learning new skills in their daily bunk activities and electives. Campers will be recognized for their efforts in these areas. This evening, we will all attend our First Session Banquet prepared by Birya and Tel Chai. They have been hard at work for the past few weeks planning this special themed dinner. After dinner, we will have our last Havdalah followed by the First Session Slideshow and a Shira session in Elbess. It is sure to be an emotional evening as we prepare to say goodbye to our First Session campers tomorrow morning. We are looking forward to welcoming Season families on Sunday for Visiting Day, followed by our Second Session campers on Monday morning.