16 min read

February Kingswood News

By AllyCKW February 13, 2024

Dear families and friends,

Last month, after our Boston reunion, our team headed to camp for our 2024 Training Planning Retreat. This (picture above) was what camp looked like, and with the exception of small animal tracks, the blanket of snow covering camp was sparkly white perfection. It was the ideal backdrop for us to be dreaming about Summer 2024.

While campers don’t arrive until June 23, we open camp Memorial Day Weekend, and spend most of June training our staff. While it could be a lot simpler to just take out last year’s training schedule and change some details, our intentionality and commitment to growth means that we start our planning process every year with a blank schedule. First we talk about our annual goals, and where we need to uniquely focus this year’s training based on last year’s feedback from our parents, staff, and campers, realities of the world, and where we want to improve.

Were you to have walked into Mitch’s cabin that week (the only camp building that’s winterized!) – you would have seen the wall covered in brightly colored post-it notes, each one representing an idea or skill we want the staff to know by the time campers arrive. It’s not an easy feat – balancing time for the team to bond, have fun, and get to know each other while covering all the critical content. Taking into account that some of our staff haven’t been in a classroom in a few years, much less in English, much less sitting on our camp benches in the Old Rec! But, each year we put together three weeks of meaningful and fun training and this year, after the work our team started together last month, I can’t wait for June! Know that if you’re a camp parent, your kids will be in very well-trained hands this summer. 🙂

I’m also excited by the buzz around our new Mini-Camp launched this month! A revival of Kingswood’s old starter program, “K’Tzat,” you can read about this two-night program for rising 1st-5th graders below. We appreciate that since COVID, some campers are less experienced with overnights and could benefit from dipping their toe in the water before committing to a longer session, and we can’t wait to see some younger siblings and kids of alumni not quite old enough for Olim!

We’ve received such great feedback already from some of the exciting additions we shared in last week’s newsletter, but Skateboarding has definitely taken the lead as the announcement generating the most hype! Is your camper/are you a skateboarder? Let us know! We’d love their ideas to inform our plans. Also new for 2024, Flag Football! Check back next month, we’ll have more exciting additions to share.

Sadly, we were informed this week that our Kingswood Israel trip, run by our partners at BBYO, has been canceled due to low enrollment. A reflection of teen Israel trips around the country, BBYO said that all the camp trips they lead like ours have been canceled, as have most of their other summer Israel teen trips. We are encouraging our 12th graders to join the remaining BBYO trip with dates that align with camp, or to wait until Summer 2025 to join our 11th graders for their Israel program and stay at camp for Session II.

While the war’s impact on our ability to send teens to Israel was out of our control, we are looking forward to warmly welcoming a large delegation of Israeli campers and staff this summer, as we always do at Kingswood. Also, as long as the spring training in Israel for Israeli staff happens as scheduled, we will be there, showing support of our Israeli Kingswood community. If you’re in Israel, stay posted for details about an in-person Kingswood event in April!




Our New Family Nights are strongly encouraged as part of our onboarding process for new families. There are three options this year – in-person in Boston, Florida, or our Virtual New Family Night. We’ll cover topics like drop-off and pick up, the first 24-48 hours, communication, health and safety, and tips for a great first camp experience. Both in-person and at the virtual meeting, we’ll separate the campers and send them with staff to get to know each other and have their own Camper Q&A session, while the parents stay with our directors.  You can RSVP to any of our New Family Nights here.


Wrapping up Winter Reunion Fun

We rounded out our winter reunions this season at Launch in Framingham, and it was such a great time! It was so fun to celebrate January birthdays in person, and skipping around the room was almost as fun at Launch as it is in the Dining Hall at camp! We want to wish a big Mazel Tov to our Reunion Raffle Winners, with all prizes to cash in at camp this summer. Congratulations to Jeremy G. for winning a campfire with s’mores for his cabin, Liam C. for winning a late wake-up for his cabin, Ellah A. for winning a free swag item at Canteen, Yuval A. for winning a special ropes course adventure for her cabin, and Rylee G. for winning a sunset boat ride for her cabin!

Campers take a break from jumping with Jodi and Joelle.
Mitch hyping up Eli R. and Kai B. before they play laser tag!

A special shoutout to campers and staff who traveled long and far to be with us, like Olim camper Phillip F. who came in from Texas, Olim Unit Head Becca Soifer who flew in from Washington, and Tsofim Unit Head Rachel Huggett who joined us from New Orleans!

Jordan S. and Ally playing arcade games!
From left to right, Danielle M., Mia E., Emma H., Frankie N., and Sloane R. having some sweet treats!

New for 2024: August Mini-Camp!

Just launched for this summer, Mini-Camp is a 2-night taste of camp for young campers ready to try overnight camp, but not quite ready for a longer session. This fun and jam-packed introduction to Kingswood is a great starter experience for any future camper! Perfect for younger siblings of current campers, Mini-Camp is also a fabulous intro to camp for kids of alumni, and alumni are invited to send their campers to Mini-Camp, and then join them on Friday for the Alumni Weekend that follows.

Transportation will be provided round-trip to Boston, with an option to pick-up at camp and tour Kingswood.

Have questions about Mini-Camp? Don’t hesitate to reach out, or register today.

Returning Staff Announcements

In last month’s edition of The Kingswood News, we started featuring some awesome returning staff, and we can’t wait to keep introducing more as we get closer to the summer! Let’s meet some more returners for Summer 2024…

Excited as ever to be back at camp for Summer 15 is Becca Soifer! Becca had so much fun as the Olim Unit Head in Summer 2023, that she’s back to do it again! Becca recently graduated from Smith College in Massachusetts where she studied Dance and Psychology. This summer, Becca is so excited to be back at camp spending her days with the mighty village of Olim. “I’m excited to be back as the Olim Unit Head because I know what it’s like to be a camper,” said Becca. “I’ve seen camp magic happen since my first summer in 2007, and I know how to make sure my campers have that same experience.” Becca says one of her favorite times at camp is when you feel like one community at all-camp programs like Color War, 4th of July, or Banquet. “There’s just something I love about all of camp coming together,” says Becca.

If you were on the boats last summer, you’ll be stoked to know that Zach Federman is coming back to camp for lucky year number 13 at Kingswood! When he’s not at camp, you can find Zach in Boston working at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals – and he is an active-duty soldier for the U.S. Army! After camp, Zach will be headed to Macedonia to train for a NATO mission, and he’s so pumped. Zach is one of those long-time Kingswood-lovers who brings the ruach to every possible moment at camp. “The energy in a room at camp is the same now as it was when I was eight years old,” said Zach. “The only difference now is that I am the one bringing the energy for the campers!” Whether he’s teaching kids how to wakeboard, shouting cheers from the top of his lungs during Color War, or being silly in front of the whole unit for evening programs, we know Zach is spreading that camp magic each day at Kingswood. ”This summer at camp, I’m all-in. Everything I do is for the kids, and I want to make sure every camper is having the best time,” added Zach. We’re so happy to have him back this summer!

Returning staff keep camp traditions alive and carry the spirit and culture of Kingswood. Between just Becca and Zach, they have nearly 30 summers at Kingswood under their belts! We highlight just returners here in The Kingswood News, but you can read introductions for all our amazing 2024 summer staff on Instagram and Facebook.

Know someone who’d make a great Kingswood staff member?! From our counselors to specialists, from chefs to nurses, our staff members are all problem-solvers, team players, and hard workers who love playing with kids! Share this link with great camp people so they can apply today.

Alumni Spotlight: Hallie Boviard

One of the best parts of camp is the ability to grow with friends you’ve known since childhood in a place that feels like home. Alumni like Hallie Boviard can’t imagine her life without her Kingswood community. “I’m still so involved and close with so many people in the camp community, it’s hard to think that I’m an alumni!” says Hallie, who spent almost 20 years at camp on and off since 2000. Most recently she worked in the Summer of ‘22 as a Camper Care Specialist. She says she’s grown so much each year in different ways, so let’s hear some of the highlights!

Hallie started as an Olim camper following her older brother Jeremy to camp in 2000. “My brother is five years older than me, so I always wanted to be just like him,” she shared. “Getting to be at camp with him was something I was really excited about.” She came to camp not knowing anyone else, and it turned out to be a great decision. She loved being in an environment different from school, and loved meeting new people. She remembers learning about different cultures through friends and staff she met at Kingswood, and how cool that was to her.

Hallie is excited for first-time campers to experience Kingswood, and offers this advice, “When I was a camper, I realized there were so many new things to try, and there would always be people here supporting me and cheering me on,” she added. “Camp was a safe space to do anything I wanted to try!”  Like many alumni have shared, Hallie says, “when I think about camp, the first thing that comes to mind is sitting in the Old Rec on a rainy day doing a performance like MTV night, or talent shows.” She smiles as she adds, “There’s something about all-camp programs on rainy days that feels so nostalgic to me.”

Becoming staff, Hallie wanted to have the impact her staff had on her. “I remember my first year looking at my friends and saying how much more work goes into being a counselor than I thought,” she laughed. “But with the encouragement from my friends, by second session I had turned everything around and was determined to make it the best time possible.”

Her determination to make camp magic didn’t stop after those first years on staff. Hallie went on to be a Theater Specialist, Assistant Unit Head for Tsofim and CITs, a CIT Director, and most recently serving on the Camper Care Team.

“As a counselor at an elementary school, I felt prepared for the work because of what I learned during my time at camp. I’m navigating difficult conversations, being an empathic person, building relationships and those are all skills I mastered while working at Kingswood.” It’s through her current work as a school counselor that she’s been able to return as a member of the Kingswood Camper Care team.

“I feel so lucky and fortunate to be a part of this community,” Hallie reflects. “Camp brings together different generations of people from different countries and cultures. We’re all connected thanks to Kingswood.”

Hallie can’t wait to be back at camp for Alumni Weekend 2024, if not before!

Stacy Yanofsky, Hallie Boviard, Alina Robbiano, and Emily Schnitt head to Banquet in 2007.
Sophia Mosner-Koor, Sophie Rubin, Melanie Gragg, Liza Sherman, and Hallie hanging out on the Waterfront during Alumni Weekend 2023.

We love sharing stories from alumni whose lives were impacted by their time at Camp Kingswood. Know an awesome alum like Hallie who has a story to share? Reach out to us! We can’t wait to see all our amazing alumni this August 16-18th for Alumni Weekend 2024.

Tapping into Traditions: Ruach

The feeling of running to the Old Rec after Shabbat dinner on a Friday night is something that anyone who’s spent a summer at Kingswood will understand. ‘Ruach,’ Hebrew for ‘spirit,’ isn’t just one of our four core values, it’s also the name of our Friday night camp-wide evening program.

At camp, we begin Shabbat by gathering at the Waterfront, and then we’re led by our song leaders along our Shabbat Walk up to the Chapel. From there we head to Shabbat dinner, and then Ruach, one of our longest-standing traditions at camp, where you can witness the most powerful spirit and energy you’ve ever seen.

This past summer, for our 110th Anniversary, we had alumni sharing old cheers and songs that were part of Ruachs past. It got us thinking – what else can we discover about Ruach from years past at Camp Kingswood?

As far back as we can tell, the Old Rec has been the official home of Ruach. In Summers ‘21 and ‘22 we had to take the program outside because of COVID-19, and you would have thought we were destroying the most sacred experience that ever existed at camp! While Kingswood die-hards could not imagine how the power of the moment could translate to being outside, it led to what is commonly referred to now as The Greatest Ruach of All Time, 2022’s Ruach in the rain!

Ruach in the rain, Summer 2022.

If you were to walk into the Old Rec on a Friday night in 2024, you’ll now see three stages, with the whole camp turning around to follow dances led from the front, songs led from one side, and cheers led from the other side. “In the 90s, Ruach was only led from the long wall by the Staff Lounge doors,” said Kingswood alumnus Izabel Czuzoj-Shulman. Izabel attended Kingswood from ‘93 to ‘02, first as a camper, and then on the Waterfront as a swim instructor.

Although Izzy loved her days on Woods Pond, the most special memories from her time at camp were during all-camp programs like Ruach. “The feeling of going into the Old Rec on Friday nights was boisterous, joyful, loud, energetic, and honestly one of the most fun things about Kingswood,” said Izzy. She remembers Ruach would start with everyone piling into the Old Rec and sitting on benches. Everyone would get up to sing and dance to classic Ruach favorites, like, “Circle Game,” “Wherever You Go (There’s Always Someone Jewish),” “Father Abraham,” and “David Melech.” But what made Ruach so special for Izzy were the made-up songs unique to Camp Kingswood. Schnoopencups was and still is the song that makes Izzy (and so many more alumni!) think about her time at camp. “Everyone at Kingswood is a part of this bubble that only camp people understand. “Schnoopencups” and “The Log” are songs that are a part of the unique Kingswood experience that was so gorgeous and special to me,” said Izzy. “These traditions are so important because campers now get to be a part of this community they might not even know about. We’re all connected to the Kingswood family through these silly songs!” Izzy went on to say that although the classic songs are fun and memorable, the goofy songs made up at camp really are the most special because nobody else will know “Schnoopencups” or “The Log” unless you’ve been to Kingswood.

As Izzy reminisced about her Friday nights at camp, she so vividly remembers starting Ruach on benches, but has no idea how everyone danced around them?! Do any alumni have the answers to how this worked?! Help us fill in the blanks!

One tradition she remembers perfectly is Ruach ending with everyone putting their arms around each other, swaying back and forth, singing mellower songs that would make the end of Ruach emotional. “Our nights would end with everyone hugging and feeling this sense of pride, love, and connection to Judaism.”

Izzy (right) leading “Schnoopencups” during Alumni Weekend 2023 with Adina (Rosenthal) Newman and future camper, Livvy.

Although we no longer start sitting, and some of the songs have changed, the feelings and energy of Ruach on Friday nights haven’t changed at all. “I remember when Mitch and Jodi bought camp feeling a moment of pure joy, Izzy recalls. “They appreciate tradition and know how important it is at Kingswood for alumni. They are evolving camp in the best way possible.” Thanks Izzy, we love having alumni like you keeping the Kingswood magic alive!

Campers and staff singing and dancing at the final ruach of Summer 2023.

A taste of Kingswood at Home

Did you know we just crossed the halfway point of the end of Summer 2023 and the beginning of Summer 2024?! We’re officially closer to Summer 2024! Let’s get in the camp spirit, by putting on your favorite camp swag, listening to your camp playlist, and completing this Kingswood word search!

Mazel tov

Our Mazel Tov section is the best place to celebrate big moments together when we’re not at camp to cheer you on in the Dining Hall. Today, we want to celebrate two celebrations –

First, Mazel Tov to Jaime and Moises S. on their recent Bar Mitzvahs in Florida! Pictured below with their family, including Olim campers Daniel and Alan!

Mazel tov to 3rd year Kingswood staff member Tabby Cowan for her graduation from Loughborough University last month in the top of her class! Tabby studied Sports Technology Engineering, and plans to go back to grad school for Business Management after spending yet another summer with us on Woods Pond! Mazel Tov, Tabby!

Let us know about your big news! Reach out to Ally to be featured in our next newsletter.

Spreading Camp Love

The greatest compliment to us is when you refer your friends to come to camp! As a giant thank you from us here at Kingswood, you’ll get a $500 discount off tuition for Summer 2024, the referred family will receive $250 off Summer 2024 AND your camper will receive a limited edition piece of Kingswood swag. Who knew referring your friends, families, or neighbors to camp would benefit so many people?! Check out more details here.

Sophie and Theo E. rocking their new limited-edition Kingswood swag after referring their friends to camp!

Know someone who you think has the Kingswood vibe? Put them in touch with us today to set them up for the best summer ever!

That’s it for this edition of The Kingswood News! Whether you’re new to Kingswood or you’ve been a part of camp for years, we always love to hear from you! Use the links below to schedule a meeting with Jodi or Mitch anytime. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and like us on Facebook where it’s summertime forever!