About Yavneh - אודות יבנה

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Greetings from the Director

Shalom! For those of you who are meeting me for the first time, my name is Debbie Sussman and I have been the director of Camp Yavneh since 1991. I also attended Yavneh as a camper and counselor for four years, and was in Kerem '68!

After graduating Boston University (many moons ago) I was a physical therapist for a number of years before becoming the Director of Yavneh. During this time I also taught Hebrew School, ran children's services at our synagogue and along with my husband Joel raised three kids. (They all attended Yavneh.)

I have a deep love for Camp Yavneh, it's traditions, it's campers and staff. I have seen our camp transformed from a small camp in disrepair, to a vibrant and rejuvenated one with new and modern facilities! From our Hebrew classes to our Zimriya (song festival), to our sports fields and our love of Shabbat and singing, Yavneh is a warm, welcoming and exciting place for all denominations of Judaism. I’m sure you will feel the same way after visiting our website.


In the foothills...
Camp Yavneh is situated on 65 acres of woodlands and waterfront in southern New Hampshire, a short 90 minute drive from Boston. Our largest draw is in the New England states. We have quite a number from the New York/New Jersey area and the Baltimore/Washington area. In addition to those locations, we attract campers from many other states in the U.S. and some foreign countries.

Steeped in tradition...
Now in its seventh decade Yavneh integrates the traditional camp setting with a strong Judaic component. Many of our current Yavneh campers are 2nd and 3rd generation offspring whose parents or grandparents met at Yavneh.

On the playing fields...
...and beyond. Camp Yavneh offers extensive sports activities for all age groups.

  • Horseshoes
  • Volleyball
  • Tetherball
  • Hiking
  • Fitness / Weight Room
  • Football
  • Softball
  • Ga-Ga
  • Low Ropes Course
  • Basketball
  • Archery
  • Ping Pong
  • Soccer
  • Frisbee
  • Nucomb
  • Floor hockey
  • Climbing Tower
  • Tennis

We participate in intercamp competitions at the pee wee, junior varsity, and varsity levels in softball, and JV & Varsity in volleyball and soccer. Intercamp tournaments in tennis, basketball and swimming are also a part of our program.

On the waterfront...
We offer fully accredited, highly supervised Red Cross programs where campers may qualify for all levels of certification, including CPR, first aid & lifeguarding. Our water trampoline with slide, logroll and launcher are very popular.

In the boats...
Windsurfing, funyaking, sailing, rowing, canoeing and sailboarding led by our certified boating staff.

In other settings...
Well stocked library, radio station, video, Israeli dancing, movies, music, creative writing, drama (English & Hebrew productions), photography, nature, low ropes course, overnight hiking and canoe trips.

Omanut (Art Center)
At Camp Yavneh you can choose from a wide variety of Omanut (Art) projects. Our art directors work with the campers on art projects that are offered as a morning class, for those that really love art and that meets for approximately 8 intensive sessions. Then there are more simple projects that campers work on when they come in for 1 session at a time with their bunk. In addition, the bunks work on chesed projects which have included designing, building and finishing a Bima, Aron or a Torah cover. Campers can choose from 3 areas of concentration; woodworking, general art (see below) or ceramics. We often have visiting artsits from Israel.

Some of our many projects to choose from include:

  • Glass fusing (incuding jewelry, wall hangings, bowls, mezzuzot, to name a few).
  • Mosaics (cutting glass), individual projects and large camp wide projects.
  • Batik (making pillows, sewing, wall hangings and backpacks), tie dye silk painting (challah covers, wall hangings) enameling (jewelry, mezzuzot).
  • Creating jewelry with PMC (precious metal clay) which is fine silver in clay form, then fired and then finished (polish and patina). Campers have made earrings, pendants, pins in this medium.
  • Pottery (including using the wheel)
  • Wordworking
  • Scrapbooking
  • Polymer clay (Sculpey or Fimo). Creating jewelry, wall hangings, figures.
  • Set design and costume design for the camp plays.

Kaytana... (for younger campers)
First time, 12 or 14 day, camp experience... Yavneh's specially designed overnight camping adventure for youngsters entering 3rd through 5th grades. Kaytana offers a warm, nurturing, environment for the novice camper.

Kerem... (counselors in training)
For many decades, Camp Yavneh's staff has been enriched by counselors who are graduates of the camp's highly regarded, selective Kerem program, Counselor in Training (CIT). This leadership program offers dramatic performances, Maccabiah, special trips and overnights, a day of group dynamics on a high and low ropes course, and other special events that will enhance and foster a sense of spirit and friendship. The Kerem experience helps participants define the meaning of their own Jewishness. It also teaches them how to care for young campers and transmit Jewish values in a summer camp setting. Kerem at Yavneh is a fun-filled summer experience — intellectually challenging, socially rewarding, and Jewishly fulfilling. Yavneh's Kerem graduates who are selected as counselors serve as the embodiment of the Yavneh experience for others. They are role models who shape the future of Yavneh! There is an opportunity for this group to travel to Israel in their post Kerem year on a Summer in Israel Program called Na'aleh.

Bunks at Camp
Bunks at camp hold between 14-22 campers with 3-5 staff members per bunk. Bunks are divided into sections by the following grades:

Current Grade
Gurim: (grade 2-4)
Kfirim: (grade 5-6)
Arayot: (grade 7)
Leviim (grade 8)
Maalot: (grade 9)
Kerem: (grade 10)

Within the staff...
Bunk counselors for each age level are selected for their sensitivity and "ruach" (spirit). Yavneh prides itself on its outstanding camper to counselor ratio of 5:1. Aydot (units) are supervised by leaders who are chosen for their experience in camping, Jewish background and problem solving skills. In addition our Boys & Girls Head counselors are professional trained with years of combined camp experience. Specialty counselors are selected for their expertise in drama, waterfront, arts and crafts, tennis, basketball, and dozens of other activity options. Jewish educators including Rabbis are invited to camp to serve as role models, to teach an array of Hebrew and Judaic classes and, to lead informal discussion groups. Licensed physicians and nurses staff our well-equipped infirmary.

In The Jewish Experience...
Camp Yavneh has a strong interest in fostering Jewish identity in the youth of today. This goal is accomplished through the daily camping program, which includes exposure to all aspects of Jewish culture and ritual. Prozdor students learning at Hebrew College who attend Yavneh achieve special recognition upon graduation.

In the commonality of being Jews!...
Whatever branch of Judaism a camper adheres to, Yavneh youngsters quickly realize the many aspects of Judaism that are common to all Jews. This is what Yavneh is all about, K'lal Yisrael (all Jews are one!). Whether at a Havdallah service or a Jewish songfest, Judaism and Hebrew permeate the program in such a way that all camp activities can ultimately be placed in a more meaningful context and the camper soon realizes that living Jewishly can be fun.

When Friday afternoon approaches, the entire camp enters into the joy of preparing for Shabbat. The camp is Shomer Shabbat. As a family, dressed in our finest, we greet Shabbat with candle lighting and prayers. After a special Shabbat dinner, the dining hall resounds with song and dance. We end Shabbat arm in arm with singing and a lively Havdalah service followed by Israeli dancing with our own camp band.

Dining hall...
Kashrut and dietary law observances are strictly adhered to at Yavneh. Well balanced, high quality meals are served from our kitchen. In addition, we offer a vegetarian alternative and a full salad bar. Fresh fruit and juice are available throughout the day. Campers with special food needs are always accommodated. Click here for more info on our food service.