As we roll into the last week of first session, this week’s Tochnit Tor (Tochnit Tour) is a compilation of trends I have seen, heard, or experienced in my first month at Machaneh Yavneh! That’s right: It has been my first month here! Although my history with Yavneh is short (my son Max spent his first summer at Machaneh Yavneh last year, and loved it), my feelings about summer camp match yours. I am a Yavneh parent and on the Yavneh tzevet (staff), but I am also a “camp kid” at heart. I spent my summers from age 8-20, at my home away from home, cut off from my family, my school friends, and all electronics…and I thrived. So too, are your children!
So, what have they been up too all week?
1) Your kids are learning to be independent and interdependent: They have packed their own lunches for trip days (and not forgotten them!). Aydat Gurim enjoyed their first outdoor overnight in camp. Sports teams have been coming together, competing and enjoying the fruits of their efforts in practice. All aydot banded together to make a most impressive Zimriyah night truly spectacular.
2) Your kids are learning how to have friendships that span different age groups. The weekly MaGuPu (Maalot/Gurim buddies peulot/activities) is a hit with both aydot. Leviim and our Gan/Parparim group bonded over baked goods. Madrichim (counselors) continue to be role models and friends to their chanichim (campers). So many aydot invite me and other members of the hanhallah (leadership) into their peulot or trips with open arms. I have so many new friends too!
3) Your kids are learning about self-care and how to deal with things when ideal conditions aren’t possible. Camp is busy and your kids are experiencing very full days. Resiliency is a huge predictor of being a successful adult. Chanichim and madrichim alike are showing us just how amazingly flexible and good-natured they can be, no matter what we throw their way, and especially in rehearsal times. (Granted, what we throw their way is fun…we are not in the habit of doing homework here!)
4) Your kids are practicing skills in chuggim (electives) and developing character all day long. The memories, the loyalty, the traditions, the growth, the Jewish neshamah (soul), the fun…all in a day’s or a week’s work…
5) Your kids are singing themselves hoarse in the Chadar Ochel (dining hall) almost every meal. They are dancing themselves silly on Motza’ei Shabbat (Saturday night). And they do not hold back for Shabbat zemirot (songs) or tefillot (prayers). They are joyful. They are enthusiastic. They are campy. They are perpetuating the ruach (spirit) and all the special events that create Yavneh’s magic and pride, the kind of magic that chanichim and tzevet come back for, year after year.
Oh, and rest assured: in between all this learning, playing, engaging, and identity building, your kids are actually eating a little and sleeping a little too!
With only a few days left of first session, I can honestly report that it has been a great month on Lucas Pond! Here’s to another one coming at us full speed!