Yavneh is such a special place where campers create memories and experiences that last a lifetime. While some things at camp have changed, the masoret and ruach of Yavneh remains the same.
We recently spoke with an alumni, Carrie Budd (K ‘84), who not only met her husband (also K’84) as a Kfirim camper but whose two daughters went to Yavneh (K’12 and K’16). One of her daughters will be a first time counselor this summer – Julie – and her oldest daughter – Mandy – was Rosh Gurim last summer. We reached out to Carrie and asked her to share with us some of her memories of Yavneh, what is different and how things have stayed the same.
How Yavneh has impacted your life? Your kid’s lifes?
“Yavneh had a huge influence on my life. I looked forward to returning every summer to see my camp friends, and immerse myself in the activities that made camp so special, such as trip day, Zimriyah, Rikudiah, Maccabiah, and Yavneh Shabbat. It was at Yavneh that I also met my husband in the summer of 1979 as a wee Kfirim camper. We still reminisce about our camp days and compare them to what our daughters experienced when they were campers.”
What are some of the differences between when you went to camp and when your kids went to camp?
“When I see the development and the offerings that camp has now versus when I went, I get a tad jealous. Granted some of these things didn’t exist in the ’80s, or maybe there wasn’t the ability to invest in some of the offerings that are there now. Camp is much more modern now with some nice creature comforts ( i.e. showers in the bunks versus trekking across the girls area to a shower house) and some stunning new buildings to house more activities. I’d say the whole YFS (Yavneh Food Service) overhaul and branding is really amazing. Food was never as good as it is now… Additional offerings of the climbing wall, huge Amanut building/program, are just even better now. Still, when I went it never really bothered me because that’s what we knew. I still love that the roads are gravel. After all, it’s a camp!”
What things that have stayed the same?
“Despite all the visual changes, listening to my kids talk about their camp experiences it is very clear that the heart and soul and ruach of Yavneh is still the same. It is what made us decide to send our kids to camp 1000 miles away from our Atlanta home, wanting them to experience the love of Judaism, Hebrew language, and Israel that Yavneh represents. Shabbat that I remember is the Shabbat my girls experienced. Prepping for Zimriyah and the excitement around that night holds the same excitement for them as it did for me ( and I can still drop a verse to many of my Zimriyah songs). And then there is bunk time…time to spend with your friends, or time just to relax from the camp schedule.”
How did you help your kids prepare for camp?
“My kids were 9 when they began their Yavneh experience. My oldest daughter was K’12 and returned to staff with achieving a Rosh position last summer. My younger daughter was K’16 and will be a first year counselor this summer so preparing them for camp was so long ago I’m not sure I even remember. Aside from the purchasing of clothing, accessories, and even airline tickets, I’d say we shared with them our experiences and wished them a great summer. They had already done some overnights with girl scouts, and trips to see grandparents, so there was never a problem with any fears of being away from home. We likely missed them more than they missed us.”
What is still exciting at Yavneh?
“I still love coming to camp and just being there. (Funny memory- my favorite smell is of fresh cut grass and I attribute that to trip day at camp when we would return to camp after a day at the beach and the sports field would be freshly mowed). My visits are short as they are usually task oriented but I really enjoy walking around the grounds, walking to the Agam, and for a brief moment daydream about when I walked those paths as a camper myself. My husband Jeff and I ( K’84 both of us FYI) hold Yavneh in high esteem and reflect on our days with great happiness. Based on what we see now, we are just so happy for Yavneh as the future seems very bright. We wish the camp and the staff all the success it works so hard to achieve.”