Camp YavnehCamp Yavneh
December 26, 2018

Machaneh Musings – Thickening Our Values

Author - Bil Zarch

Values. We all have them. Our lives are filled with personal choices that we make around our own philosophy. Many of the institutions that we associate with are also filled with mission statements, philosophy and vision statements. Yavneh is no exception and has been taking a look once again to articulate what we stand for, what is important to us as a community. We are exploring this on many levels.

It is with great coincidence that Yavneh was asked to be part of the first group of the Camp Educators Cohort, led by the M²: Institute for Experiential Jewish Education. When we were offered this opportunity to both study with leading educational and marketing thinkers both in and out of the Jewish community AND be in a cohort of other camp professionals AND be required to work in a team of two from Yavneh, I knew that this was too good of an opportunity.

Michi Rosenhek Zelermyer (programming) and I just left our first four-day seminar exhilarated about the possibility of defining values that are important to us as a camp community. Not knowing what to expect, both of us started the seminar a bit in the dark. We each were asked to pick a camp value that we wanted to explore deeper. I chose generosity. Our facilitators asked us to work together and to “thicken” what this means to us. We spent hours talking about examples of how it looks at camp, brainstorming ways that we could give greater focus to the value and finally tangible steps that we would take to make sure that we were ensuring its viability at Yavneh.

At the end of day 3 of our work together and after looking at a number of texts that spoke to generosity – I changed course and realized that generosity really wasn’t the proper definition, rather openness of spirit. The community at Yavneh is an incredibly generous one, it is the idea of being truly open to what it means to be a klal yisrael community is what we strive for.

Over the coming months as we work with our colleagues from other camp communities, we are going to go through the exercise of identifying what values are truly important to Yavneh and are going to “thicken” them so that these goals are universally understood to be inherent pieces of the Yavneh culture. We will be seeking our communities help and advice as we capture the essence of Yavneh.

kul tov,