Session 2

“The Gang’s All Here!”: Welcome Session 2 & 2a

“Hail, hail the gang’s all here!”

Yesterday, we welcomed Session 2 and Session 2a to their home away from home, Camp Tawonga! Our 2024 Summer Staff cheered as the buses came to a stop down these country roads and campers piled out to meet their counselors and counselors in training (CITs).

Many campers during our longer sessions, such as Session 2, are returning Tawongans and already know the ropes. They are great role models for new campers in the Camp T community and can help to share the many traditions that unfold throughout the session, from hand motions to songs to how campers pitch in during meals.

Speaking of knowing the ropes, our Specialists and Counselors-In-Training (SCITs) are here during Sessions 2 and 2a! These rising 12th graders spent the past week learning how to work with campers and their departments and can’t wait to dive in to support campers in experiencing the Tawonga Mission.

Regardless of how many summers each camper has spent at Tawonga, all campers learned about essential Camp spots in their Havurah (Friend) Hikes soon after arriving. By dinner, bunks were sharing laughs and smiles as if they had known each other forever. Song Session filled the Dining Hall with ruach (spirit). Voices boomed beautifully off the wooden, plaque-lined walls — a full circle moment of generations of Tawongans passing down the magic of musical connection to current campers.

The fun continued at the Opening Campfire, where Camp departments introduced themselves through funny skits and songs. Notable acts included a well-choreographed Director dance to “TEXAS HOLD ‘EM” by Beyoncé and a splash zone party with our Waterfront Staff.

Before bed, campers collaborated on their bunk’s 10 Commandments, which are 10 rules a bunk agrees to live by during their time at Camp. Central to our Mission of building cooperative community, these commandments aim to create a safe environment to set peers up for success with one another. Bunks are a sacred unit at Tawonga, since programming (and all eating and sleeping) operates under a bunk-centered approach. Therefore, it’s important to set expectations early so that campers can achieve their goals with support from those closest to them (peers and staff alike)!

After a good night’s rest, campers rose early for unit photos and “rotations” around our property to spots like the pool for swim assessments and the Rainbow Lounge to learn from our Tawonga therapists about taking care of themselves inside and out while at Camp.

Plenty of ice breakers later, our campers are adjusting to Camp life already, starting with Cabin Floats and Free Swim. Adjustment is well underway, which means campers can get right into Camp programming, beginning tomorrow with classic activity blocks, like archery, time at the Tuolumne River, tie-dye, and much, much more.

On deck for Session 2 and Session 2a are exciting Camp T specialties that come with longer sessions, including backpacking and car camping in and around Yosemite, spending the day at our extensive Challenge Course, Shabbats and plenty of Free Swim. Of course, lots and lots of s’mores, smiles and sweet mission moments are to come!




P.S. If you haven’t subscribed to Tawonga’s blog yet, you can do so here to catch a glimpse of the magic! We’ll be posting about twice a week to the blog this summer. Parents of campers, in addition, can see updates in their Campanion app. Learn more about how we share summer updates with the community here.