Camp YavnehCamp Yavneh
May 23, 2017

Machaneh Musings – Packing for Camp

Author - Camp Yavneh

What am I packing for camp this summer? Parents, I’d love for you to share this with your campers.

With each passing day, the emotions that go along with the starting of kayitz, ‘17 are getting more intense. I am truly awestruck (ok, maybe a touch overwhelmed) by the amount of details that go into creating a world-class summer experience for our chanichim (campers). This summer will be no exception… I have started thinking about what I am going to pack for camp.

Excitement. First, I am elated beyond comprehension. It’s been a long process to arrive to June 18, 2017 (that’s the day the roshes (unit heads) arrive at camp.) There are times that I felt this day would never come. Now it is  a month away and becoming a colorful explosion of plans, ideas and programs.

Second, I am starting to get those “first day of camp” butterflies. Yes, even adults get them and bring them to camp. Loads of questions are running through my head from the lofty (will the campers like trying the new Sadna workshops?) to the silly ( how can I show the campers that I like to have fun?) to the creative (what is one way to ensure that campers do something that they have never tried before?). As these questions (and many more) float into my head, I jot them down. Trying not to overwhelm myself, I remember that this is my first summer of many to come. Which leads me to my next thought.

I want to learn all I can about Yavneh. Even though, I have been director since September –  the real show is about to start on June 18 (when I officially move to camp). I remind myself, it has been 19 summers since I spent an entire summer at Yavneh and a lot has changed! I plan on bringing a mindset of learning and growth. If not careful, it can sometime be translated into judgment, so I am going to try my hardest to model a growth mindset for everyone.

I have so many questions and won’t know all the answers (nor should I) but for all of us at camp, we bring our vulnerability. First time campers (and many veteran campers as well) truly test themselves when they leave home. Many of us lead comfortable lives. I count my blessings every day how fortunate I am. When we get to camp, we are thrown into communal living with all its advantages and its foibles. It’s OK to let your guard down a little.

I am packing friendship. Coming into the summer, I have had so many friends cheer me on from the sidelines and offer me support – no one has been a greater cheerleader than Debbie Sussman. She has offered words of advice, a listening ear, and a lot of really good chicken soup. Debbie has left me some big shoes to fill. I am also grateful to the rest of the returning staff for their support and guidance in helping me shape my first summer as director of Yavneh! I can’t wait to work with such a great group of vatikim (veterans)

Finally, I am stuffing community in my luggage. I love talking to and getting to know people and I can’t wait to get to know each camper, counselor and staff member at Yavneh this summer. It is so heartening that I already consider many people friends who will be there this summer and now I get to make more friends – I get giddy thinking that I will have a chance to interact with close to 500 campers. (by the way, did you know we are FULL again for kayitz 17!?!)

What are you packing? Let me know how I can help you with your packing (no, I am not volunteering to come to your house…)

Summer is almost here and I can’t wait for Yavneh 2017!!