For most former campers, the memories of sleepaway camp still sparkle vividly in their minds even as their hair slowly turns several shades of gray: the camaraderie of Color War, finding their first love, or the late-night bunk chatter.
Trybal Gatherings, which provides Jewish camp experiences for young adults and millennials across North America, launched its first Trybal South overnight gathering at Camp Ramah Darom during Memorial Day weekend.
Nearly 60 campers took to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains to enjoy traditional camp activities like arts and crafts, a ropes course and, of course, Color War. They also enjoyed activities tailored to millennial tastes, including themed dance parties, karaoke, trivia and an open bar at Bubbe’s Beer Garden.
Trybal Gatherings founder Carine Warsawski said camp participants typically fall into four categories: Those who never went to camp and want to try it; former campers hoping to recapture the experience of their youth; those who didn’t have a fulfilling or meaningful Jewish experience at camp and friends of friends and interfaith couples.
Lilli Jennison, who did not attend sleepaway camp when she was young, fell into the first category.
“When I heard about Trybal, I wanted to try,” Jennison said. “I went to their day camp last year and loved it and was very excited for the weekend this year.”
Jennison said her favorite part of the experience was the camp’s bittersweet ending, when the group performed a friendship circle.
“We all sat in a circle facing outward,” she said. “There were about five people at a time who would leave the circle and become ‘tappers.’”
The tappers would receive a direction, such as: “tap someone who you had a meaningful conversation with … or tap someone who made you smile.”
Jennison said the tappers would anonymously tap as many people as possible who fit that profile. This exercise seemed to make the campers’ newfound connections feel that much more real and permanent.
“It was so special to see how many lives we touched in such a short weekend,” Jennison said.
She would recommend the Trybal camp to anyone interested and would like to see more signup slots on the programming schedule. Jennison said that she and a friend wanted to take part in an improv class, but by the time they went to sign up, the slots had all been booked.
Jewish-themed activities at the camp consisted of a Shabbat Soiree and a Five-Senses Havdalah. Other activities included archery; human foosball; tie-dye; challah and babka baking; challah cover batiking; bubble soccer; slip’n’slide kickball; yoga; pickleball; latte art and mixology workshops and much more.
All in all, Jennison is eager to attend the next Trybal South gathering.
“I would also like to see a winter retreat,” Jennison said. “Once a year isn’t enough.”
For more information, visit Trybalgatherings.com or visit their pages on Facebook or Instagram.
- Sasha Heller
- trybal gatherings
- Sleepaway Camp
- Arts and Crafts
- ropes course
- Color War
- Blue Ridge Mountains
- Camp Ramah Darom
- Memorial Day weekend
- Bubbe’s Beer Garden
- Carine Warsawski
- Lilli Jennison
- habbat Soiree
- Five-Senses Havdalah
- mixology workshops
- human foosball
- challah and babka baking
- challah cover batiking
- bubble soccer
- slip’n’slide kickball
- latte art