This week is unseasonably cold in the Northeast. For many of us (including me), this weather makes me long for the warm days of summer and for our time together back at our beloved Machaneh Yavneh. When a larger than anticipated snow storm fell earlier this week, I was watching (and helping) neighbors dig each other out, I can’t help but equate how strong of a community that has been built because of Yavneh over the years.
Technology has made building community so easy. Many of our older campers are connected with each other from the hour they leave camp and stay in touch through Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Group Me, WhatsApp, and so many other platforms. One of my favorite stories is the Kerem ‘17 boys who virtually get together nightly at the same time to connect with each other (and maybe even share a maariv service together). While their final summer bonded them as a tight group, they have kept their connections going throughout the year. This is just one example of how our community maintains their connection to one another.
Given that our campers are so well-connected to one another, reunions are no longer the one time that camp friends are “seeing” each other over the year. We are taking the opportunity to re-shape our Reunion schedule having them be activity based. A few weeks ago, we sent out information to our 2017 campers with all the details. While we hope people will still travel to attend a Reunion, we are also being cognizant that it is difficult to travel long distances for a weekend. Campers are invited to go to multiple events as long as the event is for their aydah. 2017 campers and parents can click here to RSVP for any of our Reunion events.
Our Reunion ‘17 details are as follows:
- Saturday, January 27, 2018; 7-9 p.m. – Launch Trampoline Park in Watertown, MA; This event is for 2017 Arayot, Leviim, Maalot, Kerem and Naaleh ONLY.
- Sunday, January 28, 2018; 2-4 p.m. – Krocs Community Center Aqua Park in Boston, MA; This event is for 2017 Gurim and Kfirim ONLY
- Sunday, February 4, 2018; 1-3 p.m. A Game Sports in New Rochelle, NY; This event is for all aydot.
- Sunday, March 4, 2018; 1-3 p.m. – Sky Zone Trampoline Park in Gaithersburg, MD; This event is for all aydot.
At each event, we are having something called a parent shmooze. The shmooze will take place for an hour during the event. We often hear that it is hard for parents to connect with other Yavneh parents and this will create an opportunity for our parent community to get to know each other while their campers are reconnecting. In all cases except the Saturday evening, January 27 event, younger siblings are welcome to come to the parent shmooze.
Finally, we are always looking for suggestions on how to build community throughout the year in authentic ways that will feel meaningful and genuine for our campers.
I will leave with you one thing to look forward to as our campers grow older. Our post-college alumni community get-togethers have been flourishing. Groups of alumni in different cities are approaching us to find ways to organically connect with one another and our office is working with them to create inclusive opportunities centered around holiday and/or ritual moments. If you are an alum who is reading this article and want to get involved or have a great idea for an alumni get together, drop me a line with your suggestion, I’d love to hear from you.