Camp YavnehCamp Yavneh
April 04, 2017

Creating Lifelong Friendships

Author - Camp Yavneh

Ella, a six-year Yavneh camp alumni, including Na’aleh, invited all her Kerem friends for a long weekend at her grandparent’s Catskills home. This home has special meaning for her and her family, so it was only fitting to invite a group of girls who felt like part of Ella’s family to her Catskills home. Joining Ella, her parents, sister, two brothers and a few of their friends, were 22 Kerem girls for the three-day weekend in November. Although two girls couldn’t make it, the rest travelled from New England, and as far away as Denver and Maryland, for the weekend. Despite no wifi, shops or restaurants, and only five working bathrooms, the girls had a fantastic weekend. They all slept together in one room, participated in a secret gift exchange, went for walks, did the mannequin challenge, sang Shabbat songs and, much more.

Maalot summer – entering 10th grade – Ella, feeling sick, sat on the sidelines during Havdallah. Singing and dancing, her friends would check on her trying to make her feel better and laugh. Ella quickly realized that Camp Yavneh is a place where she could truly be herself. That summer everything changed. Ella became more energetic and goofy. She made incredible friends who saw the real her. Every year after that, Camp Yavneh became more and more exciting and Ella also looked forward to seeing her friends during the school year. Inviting her camp friends to her family’s special house was a perfect setting to celebrate her Yavneh friendships. She recently wrote a poem about her Camp Yavneh Kerem family, highlighting how much they mean to her:

“…My lovely chickadees this poem is coming to a close
I will now pause to wiggle my toes
And I think this alumni reunion shows we will stay in touch through college and life and wherever we may go
I love you and am grateful for you all
I would not be who I am today without your candor and assistance when I fall (literal and metaphorical)
I wish you a hearty Shabbat Shalom
I am so unbelievably happy to have you all in my home.”