Birthdays at Tawonga
Tradition is an important part of our camp culture, and the way we honor birthdays at Camp is one of our most celebrated traditions.
Every day at Tawonga is special, and for campers who have their birthday at Camp, we make their day extra special! In fact, many campers have expressed that they wish their birthday fell during the summer so they could have a “Tawonga birthday”!
Here’s what it looks like: Counselors and fellow bunkmates help the “birthday camper” have an extra special day – sometimes with decorations in the bunk or a special birthday hat. Then, after dinner and just before evening song session, our entire Camp community celebrates the birthdays of the day together.
One of the directors or unit heads comes onto the microphone and invites anyone in our community who’s having their birthday to the front of the Dining Hall/Pavillion where they will participate in a classic call-and-response schtick. As many Tawongans know by heart, the birthday schtick begins with: “What’s so special about today?” It continues as follows:
Camper: “It’s my birthday!”
All of Camp: “It’s _____’s birthday!”
Director: “Have you ever had a birthday at Camp Tawonga before?”
All of Camp: “_____’s never had a birthday at Camp Tawonga before!”
Director: “On this special day how old are you turning?”
Camper: “I’m 13!”
All of Camp: “13 years old!”
Director: “Well in just a moment this entire Dining Hall/Pavillion will be singing a rousing, raucous rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ but before that (All of Camp: Ahhh!) you will be blowing out the candles on your very own personal and private glittering glob of gooey glucose, but before that (All of Camp: Ahhh!) you will be making two wishes… One for yourself and for the whole world!”
After they blow out the candles, making two wishes, “one for yourself, and one for the WHOLE world!” – the entire Dining Hall/Pavillion sings “Happy Birthday”. Then, the birthday camper gets hoisted by staff in a chair (b’nai mitzvah-style), counting one hoist for each year up to the number of years they have just turned! They then head off to enjoy their delicious big birthday bowl of sweets with their bunkmates (which is not actually “personal and private” – it’s big enough for an entire bunk to share!).
If your child has a birthday during their session, you can give one wrapped package or present (no food please) to a director upon arrival that the camper can open on their birthday. Please label it clearly with your child’s name and birthday date. Feel free to include something that the entire bunk can enjoy together!
Birthdays Before or After Camp
We are only able to celebrate birthdays that occur during the session your child is attending. Thank you for understanding.