A Taste of Camp

2024 Staff Training Week

The secret sauce of Camp Tawonga is our amazing summer staff, and last Sunday, we welcomed the 2024 summer team for Staff Training week! We’re excited to give you a peek into this immersive, bonding week of preparation.

Eagerly anticipating the arrival of over 1,200 campers this summer, the staff have been hard at work learning their roles, how to live in community together and how to embody Tawonga’s mission. Specifically, our director and supervisor teams have been leading the staff to cultivate the four rungs of our mission: how to nurture campers’ self-esteem, how to intentionally create an inclusive and loving community and how to foster their connection to a positive Jewish identity and to nature.

Through the training process, summer staff working directly with campers have learned how to work with kids, create meaningful programs, and guide cooperative community building and so much more to be successful in their work this summer. Our entire staff have also joined a variety of trainings, ranging from safety and Camp values to racial justice and gender inclusion. 

While campers will spend most of their time interacting with our supportive counselors, the fun would not be possible without programmers, Arts & Crafts staff, songleaders, lifeguards, Jewish programmers, or Wild (a.ka. wilderness) staff, to name a few. In addition, our kitchen staff, health center, maintenance and office teams keep camp running behind the scenes. It takes a village! 

Approximately half the team this year is returning staff members; half of the staff is also comprised of camper alums, returning to their home away from home to give back to their community. This summer we also have quite the global team! As we do every summer, we have welcomed our Shlichim, Israeli staff to join our community. Most shlichim are bunk counselors, working directly with campers and fostering conversations around Judaism, culture and identity. We also have staff from the United Kingdom, Australia and Norway!

Staff have spent evenings at inspiring campfires, helping to bond together as a community, and participated in improvisation skits, as well as game and art nights. Tonight, they closed out the week with a beautiful community Shabbat celebration, including an energetic freilach, which is our song session on Shabbat.

As we approach the start of A Taste of Camp tomorrow, we feel more grateful than ever to have the chance to be part of such an inclusive, loving and supportive community. The staff is beyond excited to kick off the summer and start making mission moments for these campers. 

P.S. In case you missed it, check out our Meet the Directors video here.
P.P.S. Check out how to follow along with the magic this summer here