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Eleanor Coffman

My family’s involvement with Camp Tawonga stated in about 1984 when Eva Newbrun asked my husband, Ralph to serve on the board when our son, David was starting camp. Our first weekend at Tawonga was Memorial Day Family camp 1984 and after that we spent many Memorial Days and Board weekends at Tawonga.

Ralph served as board president from 1986 to 1988. He died in November 1989 just as the new dining hall was completed and we were very touched that the board decided to dedicate the new structure in Ralph’s memory.

In 1990, I was asked to serve on the board and during my tenure Tawonga developed the Grief and Growing weekend and I served on the planning committee for that program for many years.

I have many memories of the years we were actively involved in Camp. The summer when David was about 9 when I unpacked his suitcase and found three neatly folded pillowcases that obviously had never touched a sleeping bag or bunk, I asked him why he didn’t use the cases. He said, “Oh, that’s what they were for.”

While Ralph was on the board, we treasured the summer board meetings at Camp when we were privileged to see David and his fellow campers at Tawonga, an activity that other non-board parents never experienced.

When Ralph was very ill, David went to Camp for three weeks and received extraordinary support from all the staff, for which David and I are still grateful.

David attended Camp each summer until he was old enough to join the counseling staff and more recently served on the board. My grandchildren now eagerly await Family Camp weekends, which I’ve attended with them, as they wait until they are old enough to be campers…and perhaps staff and even board members.

The Tawonga campsite holds so many special memories of joy and sorrow for all of us. As a Legacy Society member, I hope to contribute to the permanence of Tawonga lasting for many future generations to share in, learn strong Jewish values, leadership skills and develop lasting memories and friendships.