In my last blog post, I wrote about our need as a camp community to create both a powerful Jewish community learning to live together and a youth community wanting to support each other in new adventures.
Over the last several months I’ve been asking myself and others who work at Yavneh the following questions: How has Yavneh built up such a strong reputation in the camping world? What steps should Yavneh strive for to ensure that these two statements remain front and central in our thinking as we think of the camper of 2017? How do other camps thoughtfully intersect these two ideas and what can we learn from them? And most importantly, how will we get buy-in from our greater camp community when it comes to trying new activities?
During my travels this year, I’ve been reconnecting with alumni, chatting with new parents and meeting with colleagues who aren’t yet associated with Camp Yavneh but have heard extremely positive reviews about Yavneh. While this deep love for all things on Lucas Pond are not surprising at all, what strikes me is how diverse our community truly has become.
Yavneh remains committed to our mission of K’lal Yisrael – dedicated to the ideals of fostering a love for Israel and helping our campers find meaning in Judaism. This is not an easy task in 2017. Living a Jewishly rich life is challenged by the risk of assimilation in our multicultural society. Many families choose Yavneh to support their children exploring a rich Jewish lifestyle, but for others this is not a priority.
Our job as staff is to challenge campers to think about their place in the Jewish community and how they chart their own Jewish journey. With this in mind, the education staff has solidified the 2017 camp theme – “Al Tekra Baneech, Elah Bonach – Don’t call them your children, call them your builders.” We are now strategizing the various ways to engage campers to deeply understand the meaning of the 2017 theme, internalize it and put those words into action. This complements our other goal – a youth community wanting to support each other in new adventures. Learning new things isn’t always fun but having a supportive camp community that encourages campers to try new activities and explore new interests helps campers gain confidence and direction.
There are a wide variety of reasons campers attend Yavneh and our role as camp leadership, including madrichim, is to open our campers up to new adventures. Camp should be the place where you take risks and challenge yourself to do new things. How are we doing that this summer? During second session, we are experimenting with some new afternoon programming, called Sa’adna, which means workshop. Campers from older Kfirim through Ma’alot will have choice blocks to work with specialists from both in and out of camp. Our hope is that every camper utilize Sa’adna as a way to try something new for themselves. The new sa’adnot will be announced by May 1st – so stay tuned.
One of the things that drew me to Yavneh was the fact that the Hanhallah, roshei aydot and madrichim are always keeping the programming fresh and relevant – this summer will be no exception! In my next blog post, I will discuss more about our summer theme and how it will permeate many different aspects of our camp experience this summer.
85 days until opening day and no one is more excited than me!