13 Things I Learned at TY

posted by on Sep 21, 2018

Thirteen things I learned in 4 weeks at Tel Yehudah

When our teens come home from a summer at Tel Yehudah, in many ways we can actually see their growth—from the clothes they’ve outgrown to the Jewish customs they’ve embraced. But there’s a lot they learn that we don’t see, at least not immediately. Many of these lessons are the kind that go so deep they just become part of who they are and who they’ll become. Here are some  universal lessons our teens took out of their Jewish experience this summer—in their words.

  • 1. Tel Yehudah has the best holidays

“I got such a bad brain freeze from Ice-Cream for Breakfast, AKA the best holiday ever!” — Shoshi Stern

  • 2. Sometimes what I don’t want to do ends up being what I love to do

My fellow Hadracha boys and I initially protested going to Gimmel*. We went so far as to create a petition that we handed in, but needless to say, we failed—and I’m glad we did.” —Asher Fitterman

*Gimmel is the overnight campground for Tel Yehudah.

  • 3. My voice is here for me to use

Both meetings [in Washington, D.C.] were very impactful for us and we also felt as though our presence made an impact on the staffers we met with. Overall this was an incredible trip and a life-changing experience. It opened my eyes to the possibility that we can make a difference by being politically active making sure our voices are heard. – Eitan Weinkle

“It’s an influential thing to stand face to face with a congressman and discuss something important to you. It drives home how important it is to be vocal about the things I care about.” — Elan Levine

  • 4. Leadership has many faces
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“Until Yachad, I never truly knew what leadership was or what being a good leader entailed. In our peulot, we learned that leaders can seem like lone nuts without the support of their followers. It was made clear that leaders need their followers and vice versa, and we learned more about what it means to fill both of those roles.” — Manni Burach

  • 5. Being prepared makes life more meaningful

“When the day of Maccabiah arrived, I knew everyone was completely prepared. Tasks had been delegated, cheers had been written cooperatively, and when I and my fellow captains stood in front of our teams, we felt a sense of accomplishment before the day even got underway.”  — Eitan Winkle

  • 6. The only thing better than rikkud after Shabbat is rikkud in the rain  

When the heat wave came to an end, it was marked by an amazing downpour. The vast majority of the campers in Aleph danced rikkud in the rain under the glow of a beautiful rainbow.” Allegra Wortheim

  • 7. The best part of tackling a tough challenge is the reward of learning I could do it

The journey started by biking out of camp and onto the very long and steep mail road. It was very challenging to make it to the top, but once we did, we got the feeling that we could accomplish anything else the trip had in store. Over the next few days our limits were pushed and we began to realize how strong of bikers we were.” — Julia Cooper and Anna Paul

  • 8. Friendships grow when and where we least expect it

The experiences [on the kayaking trip] that brought us together the most though were definitely the campfires and the 4-hour bus delays. I know that all my other Yachad friends had similar experiences with their trips: working hard to accomplish the day’s goals and bonding during those precious moments of downtime.” — Leo Sheftel

  • 9. Life is better with downtime

“Those hours I spent at the fire thinking to myself gave me so much insight to my life, both inside and outside of camp. While the intensity of our schedule and the tremendous amount of fun we have at camp makes camp go by in a flash, being able to process it all has allowed me to appreciate my time here that much more.” — Asher Fitterman

  • 10. Together we are invincible

“Not only did we come together as a community, but it showed us what we are capable of and how far we can push ourselves.” — Gabby Rub

  • 11. Positivity pays off

“Knowing that we had biked over 110 miles was amazing and we wouldn’t trade the experience for anything…This trip taught us how to power through tough situations and always stay positive because for every uphill, there’s a downhill.” — Julia Cooper & Anna Paul

  • 12. The best camp experiences don’t always happen at camp

“One of the most amazing camp experiences this year didn’t even take place at camp…This was trip week, bonding, laughing, and playing. When we arrived at Niagara Falls, and saw one of the seven natural wonders of the world, we couldn’t help having a collective feeling of awe.” — Avi Gordon

  • 13. When the days are long the weeks fly by

Although the days feel like ages, when it’s finally shabbat and we’re looking back on the week, it seems to have gone by in the blink of an eye.”  — Yarden Arofsky

There is no place in this world where time goes quicker than at Camp Tel Yehudah. Weeks go by in the blink of an eye, and all you can do is make some memories and enjoy the ride.” — Asher Fitterman