Camp YavnehCamp Yavneh
May 18, 2020

Camp Yavneh Kayitz 2020 Parent Update – May 18th

Author - Camp Yavneh

May 18, 2020

Dear Yavneh Families,

For 76 summers Yavneh has been the second home to countless chanichim (campers) for two months every year. During these life-changing weeks in Northwood, chanichim connect with their best friends for life and engage in joyful and meaningful Jewish experiences. Singing in the Chadar Ochel, swimming in the Agam, relaxing on Shabbat afternoons, and exciting trips on Achla Yom days exemplify the ruach that chanichim experience at Yavneh year after year.

Now more than ever, chanichim and parents crave something familiar and fun because life as we knew it has changed so dramatically. Over the last two months, Yavneh staff and board members have tirelessly examined every possible scenario to open in 2020. We assembled a COVID-19 Task Force and brainstormed how to implement the recommended CDC guidelines. Throughout the process, we prioritized the safety of our extended camp community and the Yavneh camp experience above all else.

It is with deep sadness that the Board of Directors and Hanhallah (Camp Leadership) have unanimously decided to cancel all camp programs, including Na’aleh, for Kayitz 2020. This decision was not an easy one, but after exhausting every creative option, we feel that it is the one that best honors our commitment, above all, to keep campers, counselors, staff, families, and our Northwood community safe. The global pandemic challenges our ability to guarantee our community’s health, and also compromises our ability to offer an authentic Yavneh summer amid myriad restrictions.

We know that this announcement is heartbreaking for chanichim and parents alike. In particular we recognize the disappointment for Kerem 2020, who have been dreaming of this summer since Gurim. They have eagerly anticipated welcoming the younger chanichim on the first day of camp, taking charge of Shabbat zemirot, being role models for their campers and showing their leadership skills through five days of Maccabiah. We are all together in mourning the loss of a Yavneh summer and we are here for you as you process and share this news.

To that end, we have developed a Yavneh Support Guidebook to help you navigate those difficult conversations with your children. In addition, there will be two virtual Yavneh Kehilla Town Hall meetings on May 20th at 2:00 PM EDT and 8:00 PM EDT. This will be a time to be together, discuss our concerns, process the decision, and answer any questions. And while we will not be able to sing together at ReLiSh (Ruach Lifnei Shabbat) this summer or watch the Parsha players on Shabbat, we will be offering alternate camp activities to keep chanichim connected to each other, to their beloved counselors, and to the Yavneh community. Stay tuned to find out more about those offerings over the next few weeks.

We love being on Lucas Pond as much as you do, and we are grieving with you for a summer lost. We truly hold out hope, if the right conditions are present, that even late summer or into fall, we would consider bringing small groups of campers or families together for a memorable Yavneh experience. What that looks like remains unclear as guidelines continue to change daily, but we promise that we will share with our community any developments of possible alternate programming.

Next Steps

  • Video: Take a moment to watch Bil’s camp closing announcement video.

  • FAQ’s: Please check out the updated FAQ’s on our website regarding camp closure.

  • Yavneh Kehilla Town Hall: Join us for a virtual Yavneh Kehilla Town Hall for parents and guardians on Wednesday, May 20th. We will have 2 sessions to accommodate everyone’s schedules and the time difference for our Israeli families. Please choose the one that is most convenient for you and look in your inbox for the Zoom information. We invite you to submit any questions you have in advance of the Town Hall to so we can use our time in the Town Hall effectively and try to get through as many of your inquiries as possible.

  • Yavneh Support Guidebook: Take a moment to review the Yavneh Support Guidebook for Parents before talking to your children about the change of summer plans.

  • Connecting with Each Family: Yavneh staff will be reaching out to families to check in and see how you are doing. These calls will begin after the May 20th Kehilla Town Hall and we anticipate that these check-ins will take until June 1st. The Yavneh staff member that will call may not be equipped to have a tuition conversation, but we ensure that every family will be contacted separately about finances during the month of June.

  • Tuition Updates: After Memorial Day, look in your inbox for details on how to redirect tuition into a 1:1 matching donation from the All Together Now matching grant provided by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, rollover your tuition until Kayitz 2021, and/or receive a refund. We appreciate your patience as we try to ensure that families who are experiencing financial distress at this time are prioritized. If your family is in that category, please contact Tammy Schneider. For everyone else, we will be in touch by phone and intend to complete all tuition conversations by the end of June.

  • Community Support: We will be hosting meetings for chanichim this week so that they can share and process this news together with their roshes and friends. Zoom information will be emailed for all these virtual events.

    • Tuesday, May 19th

      • Kerem chanichim at 4:00 PM EDT

      • Na’aleh chanichim at 5:00 PM EDT

    • Friday, May 22, 2020

      • L’fi Ayda Hang Ins at 4:30 PM EDT

      • Everyone is invited  for a Yavneh community ReLiSh on at 5:00 PM EDT.

  • Additional Support: Be in touch if you need additional support or have any questions. Contact Bil Zarch, Camp Director or Miriam Loren, Director of Camper Care.

  • Alternate Camp Activities: Nothing will replace being together in Northwood but please stay tuned for updates for online camp activities and programs this summer. We anticipate sending out information in the first week of June.



Bil Zarch