Camp Newman and the True Meaning of the Word “Avodah”

11th graders engage in “Avodah” – personal growth, service to the camp community, and service to the world

Our 11th grade program is described as the first step in our camp leadership programs.  The three pillars of the program include personal growth, service to the community, and service to the world.  These full summer campers participate in service blocks helping around camp by sorting mail, picking up trash, finding lost & found articles, and helping in the dining hall.  As service to the community, they worked on a project to benefit camp building a mud oven and organic garden at our sustainable village, Kibbutz Yarok.  They also built a mosaic floor that will be part of a gazebo in the middle of our vineyard.  Servicing the world, Avodah did a variety of work regarding HIV/AIDS.

After learning about HIV/AIDS, the Avodahniks march in the Pride Parade in San Francisco.  Dancing the “Turkish Kiss” while walking, the Avodahniks demonstrate advocacy for personal pride.  Several fundraising projects, over the summer, also teach them the fundamentals of raising money for a good cause:

  • Telling your compelling story and educating people to your cause,
  • Asking people to give in a way that is meaningful
  • Thanking donors for their generosity

Their efforts raised over $11,400 for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation this year alone.  In the last 10 years, Avodah has raised over $80,000 for the fight against HIV/AIDS.  The campers present their gift every year while participating in the San Francisco AIDS Walk.

Telling their story and raising money included creating this video and:

  • Asking parents to give during camper drop-off.
  • Calling people in their own circle of influence and asking for their support (Rabbis, parents, friends).
  • Setting up a facebook presence in order to raise awareness.
  • Events for the camp staff are the most fun.  “AvoSpa” is a spa night where camp staff is treated to massage, pedicure, manicure, facials and of course, snacks.  “Avodauction” is a live and silent auction which raises several thousand dollars.  Staff bid on items like: Director for a day, personal sunset tower climb, In N Out dinner, special parking spot, etc.

Finally, all the Avodahniks spent time writing special thank you notes to their contributors.  Amazing kids all the way around – and we are so proud of them!!


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