Staff Spotlight

The Staff Are Ready for the Campers: A Peek Into In-Service Training

Last week, Tawonga welcomed over 200 summer staff members, both new and returning (and all vaccinated), to participate in 10 days of “In Service” training! Many staff consider this to be the most highly anticipated summer at Camp ever, after a cancelled season due to the pandemic.  

To prepare for the 1,000 campers who will participate in a Tawonga program this summer, staff spent the week learning how to foster the Mission for campers – specifically how to build self esteem and to support campers’ connection to nature, to their Jewish identities and to Tawonga’s loving, inclusive community. Staff also honed their specific roles across departments to ultimately deliver transformative, safe and fun experiences for each and every camper. 

Trainings Snapshot
Over the past two years, Tawonga has worked to update and improve our trainings, policies and programming to better support the community. Through the training process, summer staff working directly with campers learned how to work with kids, how to create meaningful, creative and fun programs, how to guide and support cooperative community building and so much more to be successful in their work this summer.

The JEDI Fellows (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) presented on combating racism at Camp, and how staff can facilitate discussions and learning among campers. Other all-staff training topics, led by our highly experienced director team, included workshops on preventing bullying and COVID-19 safety practices.

Guided by our supervisor team, song leaders practiced Camp classics as well as new additions; kitchen staff honed their culinary skills; and the wilderness team practiced leading camper backpacking trips. The Garden staff planted five planter boxes of flowers which will be used on Shabbat tables throughout the summer. And Health Center staff administered COVID-19 tests for staff members and moved into their brand-new, expanded and modern building, with updated amenities, including an upstairs clinic, nurse’s office, three patient exam spaces and five patient recovery rooms (plus an isolation area). 

A Bonded, Loving Staff Team
Staff spent evenings at inspiring campfires, helping to bond together as a community, and participated in improvisation skits, as well as game and art nights. They will close out the week tonight with a beautiful Shabbat stroll and collaborative Kabbalat Shabbat service. 

This is an incredibly loving, supportive, talented and dedicated summer staff team, and they are prepared and ready to welcome the campers on Sunday. It’s hard to say who will be more excited for this Tawonga summer to officially begin – the staff or the campers – but we’ll call it a Tawonga Tie, and we can’t wait!!