Much to most people’s surprise, I have now come to understand that there is no “off-season” in the camping world! Of course, chanichim (campers) pine away for 10 months a year, waiting in anticipation for the next kayitz (summer) of fun and song, growth and identity-building. But there are also numerous opportunities for them to touch base with their camp sisters and brothers during the year. The need to be in each other’s lives is real and palpable and exciting.
We have just enjoyed two wonderful Shabbat dinners in Boston and New York, well-attended and freilich, yummy and nostalgic. Thank you to everyone who prepared activities, collaborated with the synagogues and caterers, delivered divrei Torah, led tefillot (prayers), drove supplies back and forth, set up the room, donated time and event decor, etc…It takes a village! We truly are a Kehillah (community): strong in numbers, shared values, and concern for each other. Families shared sacred time and space while davening (praying) and feasting, young alumni connected with their Yavneh peeps, and current campers were able to relive their incredible summer memories with their aydot (unit) bunkmates.
Indeed, the fall is a time to look back at the previous summer, take stock of all the amazing, immersive experiences lived and celebrated, and then it is also a time to begin to plan for next year. We are already talking with roshes (unit heads) and madrichim (counselors), tweaking schedules and activity offerings, communicating with our Israeli partners to ensure we have a super mishlachat (Israeli delegation), and on-boarding new programming to encourage connection and celebration for all those who have called or continue to call Camp Yavneh their “Home away from Home”. In honor of this 75th year, we are planning an older camper reunion re-modelled as a Shabbaton, set for frosty January. Alumni are busy restarting and reviving an alumni weekend at camp in late spring for all those who want to dip their toes in the agam (lake), taste the Friday night chocolate cake, and carve out the time and space for long-term friendships in our busy lives. We are also beginning to envision an all-out summertime extravaganza – Yom V’Laila B’Yavneh (Day and Night at Yavneh) – that will undoubtedly be a highlight for chanichim (campers) and tzevet (staff).
So stay tuned for more reveals and plans. Kayitz ’19…we’re coming…we just have to make it through the winter first!