June 2013 Archives

Dancing in CPLV Dining Hall.jpg
Photo courtesy Camp Poyntelle Lewis Village

For this project, I'm headquartered at the amazing Camp Poyntelle Lewis Village in Pennsylvania. After growing up at Camp Tawonga for 15 years, including the last 8 summers on staff, this is my first time seeing another summer camp in action. It's been a growth experience already, as I get to know the staff, familiarize myself with the programming, and adjust to a new daily schedule. CPLV is definitely distinct from Tawonga, and their program is strong in many ways, so it's been exciting to learn about something new. 

My most fascinating observation so far is that some things are exactly the same between the two camps, and some are completely different. The counselors here play with their campers using the exact same joy and enthusiasm that I've become used to at Tawonga. The specialty areas are exciting, the staff meetings are long, and the campers get excited about the meals. It's comforting that these elements of camp feel so similar to my previous experiences. But there are also major differences - the entire camp goes on a major trip about once a week, to a baseball game and a waterpark (so far), while Tawonga primarily stays in camp. Specialists here live in bunks with campers, acting as bunk counselors at night and specialists during the day, while Tawonga's specialists work only in their specialty area. The campers here have far more opportunity to choose their activities than at Tawonga, where bunks stay together for almost the entire day. 

Ultimately, it's exciting to see another angle on the American Jewish camping experience, and I can't wait to observe nine more camps over the course of this summer. And I'll never get tired of the spontaneous mealtime line dancing (pictured above) that seems deeply embedded in CPLV's culture! 
Noah at CPLV.jpg
Photo credit: Total selfshot!

As I sit here at Camp Poyntelle Lewis Village, my home base for the summer, the visit schedule is firming up, and numerous camps are sharing their excitement about the project. Check back frequently for updates and photos as I accompany the project participants on their explorations!