Avi Matanky
Director, Moshava Alevy

Attending sleepaway camp is one of the most meaningful and important ways for a child to spend their summer. This is true both from a general overnight camp perspective and from a Jewish camping perspective . Camp is the most effective place where growth can be nurtured in our children.

At Moshava Alevy, we take this message to heart and realize that in order to cultivate growth and meaning in children’s lives, we need to do the same in our own. This, among other reasons, is why we spend our post-summer months connecting with camp families and having them complete summer surveys that reflect on their child’s or children’s experience at camp.

So, what have we learned, and how will we as a camp move forward? While these reports clearly tell us a beautiful story about the power and impact of Moshava Alevy, we know there is still much work to be done if we are to create more a meaningful and lasting impact. We would like to take this opportunity to share some of the lessons that we have learned from these interactions, and how we are responding to the feedback our parents have shared with us:

When it comes to programming, our chanichim and chanichot most enjoy the quality and diversity of our outdoor/nature activities, including archery, teva , the climbing wall, our ropes course, and zipline. They especially love the trips to Big Bear Lake for boating, Jet Skiing, and tubing. On a spiritual level, a sense of love for Israel throughout the camp was palpable, and our chanichim and chanichot responded that camp created an atmosphere where they felt proud to be Jewish. And, as camp should be, our families reported that camp was filled with ruach and energy. Finally, on an emotional and social level, our families reported that their children made new friends at camp, and developed warm and strong relationships with their madrichim and fellow chanichim/ot.

To continue to foster this atmosphere, we have added a new position to our staff team – Rosh Tochnit , Program Director. Returning staff member Aliza Zeff will focus on creating a seamless unity and a more structured camp program with greater attention to program curricula, more themed days, and infusing our program with aspirational arcs as our chanichim grow from year to year.

Our chinuch program is the foundation of our very purpose as a camp. As a Moshava camp we are proud to share and teach the values of the Bnei Akiva movement, fostering a culture of youth leadership and inspiring all at camp with a love for and commitment to Am Yisrael, B’Eretz Yisrael, Al Pi Torat Yisrael . And so we are asking ourselves, how we can better engage our campers while staying true to our ideals? How we can inspire our chanichim and chanichot to want to be involved year-round in Bnei Akiva? And how can we turn a 3.5 week summer experience into a lifelong connection to Am Yisrael? We are working together with our educational staff to think differently about the Moshava davening and daily ritual experience, about shabbat at camp, and about how to connect it all to the key Bnei Akiva values of Torah v’Avodah.

Staff Restructure
This summer, we are restructuring our staff. No longer will there be a separation between counselors and specialty staff. Instead, moving forward all staff members will have roles as counselors and will be assigned bunks and campers who they will join for mealtimes, for tefilla, and at night activities. This means that chanichim and chanichot will have even more opportunities to create lasting bonds with their madrichim and madrichot, and have even more role models to look up to in their daily camp lives. It will also improve overall camper supervision and camper/counselor ratio throughout the camp day.

Arts Program
We are updating our approach to our Art. Instead of viewing our arts programming – fine art, ceramics, dance, drama, and culinary arts – as individual activities, we have changed our approach and will be addressing these activities as a singular unit. Our Rosh Omanuyot (Arts) will focus on creating a unified curriculum for these programs, while the staff for Omanuyot will be young adults who are passionate about these activities and who will work to inspire and engage our chanichim/ot to express themselves through creativity and imagination.

Sports Program
We have been taking a closer look at our Sports program and have been in conversation with athletic consultants who are evaluating our sports program and making recommendations for curriculum, staff training, engagement of campers on all skill levels, and who will visit camp to work with our staff to execute these improvements.

But finally , none of this is possible without clear lines of communication from our families and campers. We rely on YOU to help us grow: we learn from your feedback, and we also ask for your partnership. Moshava Alevy is still a very young camp. As we are about to embark on our 7th summer, we ask YOU, the parents and campers of Moshava Alevy to be in touch with us, to share your thoughts, to join us in growing and building the camp.

The power and impact of camp is undeniable. Working together, we know that the children who walk through our gate will experience the summer of a lifetime – a meaningful, memorable, religious experience that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
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