Camp Avoda

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Camp Avoda
Camp Avoda RGB logo.jpg
Location Middleboro, Massachusetts
Coordinates 41°51′59″N 70°51′48″W / 41.866362°N 70.863209°W / 41.866362; -70.863209Coordinates: 41°51′59″N 70°51′48″W / 41.866362°N 70.863209°W / 41.866362; -70.863209
Type Jewish boys' overnight camp
Season June to August
Established 1927 (1927)

Camp Avoda is a Jewish boys' overnight camp located on Tispaquin Pond in Middleboro, Massachusetts. It has been in continuous operation since the summer of 1927,[1] making it the oldest Jewish boys' camp in New England.[2][3]


Camp Avoda was established in early 1927 by an organization then known as the Young Men's Hebrew Association.[4] The camp was established to serve the needs of underprivileged Jewish boys. Originally, the bunks were essentially "huts" and had no screening or walls. Today the campers sleep in basic cabins which were built at various times between the late 1950s and early 1980s. Many bunks have had extensions annexed to them after the great rise in attendance in the middle 1990s.

Today the camp is a non-profit entity operated by a Board of Directors and duly incorporated as Camp Avoda, Inc. It serves the needs of 125-150 campers per session.

Camp Avoda is located on a 50-acre (200,000 m2) tract of land on Tispaquin Pond in Middleborough, Massachusetts. However, more than half of that land is wooded area which is used for hiking, camping, and a high-elements ropes course which was constructed in 1999.

View of Camp Avoda's field

The camp is well known for its unique layout. All 8 cabins, the recreation hall, the C.I.T. "bungalow", the shower houses, two administrator cabins, and the "OD shack" surround the large ball field, where all field sports are played. The small size of this camp grants it what many consider a very "intimate" feeling.

Paul G. Davis is currently the Executive Director of the Camp, a position he has been in since the late 1960s; he has been employed as an administrator since 1966, making him one of the longest serving camp directors in the United States[citation needed]. Camp Avoda has a 7½ week season, which includes a 3½ week long first session and a 4-week second session. Each summer there are 32-40 junior and senior counselors ranging between ages 17–24. Almost all counselors were once campers at Camp Avoda, and most are typically college students.

Most campers reside in New England, with the vast majority concentrated in the Greater Boston area. However, not all campers live near the camp. Each year, a large number of campers travel from states like Florida, New Mexico, New Jersey and California, and from countries as far off as Israel, to spend their summers at Camp Avoda.


Camp Avoda is one of the only summer camps in the world, where any given summer, all or almost all counselors were once Avoda campers and successful graduates of the Avoda Counselor-in-Training (C.I.T.) program.[5]

"Avodians" describe themselves as sharing a "special bond." Today, Avodians can be found throughout the United States and the World. In 2002, Camp Avoda celebrated its 75th Anniversary and over 1,000 Avodians throughout the World embarked upon Camp Avoda to revel in the festivities.

4th of July Celebration[edit]

July 4 is the first pinnacle event of the summer. The camp hosts its own carnival during the day, where each bunk creates its own booth in addition to those rented by the camp. At night is the annual Bonfire and Chip Ceremony. The bonfire is built entirely by Bunk 14, who name the bonfire and place a sign at the top with the name. The bonfire can be as tall as 16 feet (4.9 m). The entire camp gathers in front of the bonfire to watch it burn. Once the fire has burned long enough, and has started to die down, the chip ceremony begins. Each bunk chooses a member to stand in front of the fire, and make a speech. After they make their speech, they take a wood chip, and throw it into the fire. The speech usually is about their camp experience, or what camp means to them. Many speeches often revolve around how they believe Avoda is the greatest place on earth, and how the feeling of being there is indescribable. After all the bunks have gone, Bunk 14 goes, with 3 speakers. After Bunk 14 has gone up, all of the old Bunk 14's are called up by year, until you get to the oldest staff members and administrators, and finally the director.

The bonfire during the 4th of July celebration


Every Thursday, except during Color War, is a trip day. Trips include Six Flags New England, a Red Sox Game, Water Country, etc. In addition, there are choice trips, in which campers are given the option to choose which trip they would like to go on (there are usually 3-4 options). There are also optional trips, which are different from choice trips, in that you can choose not to go on any of them. Trips designated for specific groups of campers include the annual fishing trip (Freshman, Sophomore, and Juniors), the Bunk 14 overnight, and the Senior Canoe Trip.


Avoda competes in many tournaments with rival camps including Camps Bauercrest, Bournedale, Young Judea, Tel Noar, and Tevya. Avoda also attends many tournaments including the Bournedale and YJ tournaments. Avoda also hosts its own tournament. In this tournament the sports are soccer and basketball.

Bunk 14[edit]

Bunk 14, also known as "The Betty Grable Commandos" is the bunk of the oldest campers at Avoda. Typically it houses 15-year-olds entering the 10th grade. With Bunk 14 comes special privileges (such as the ability to bring TV's, Video Game Systems, and walk around camp after Call to Quarters) and automatic "alumni" status. Many alumni are often identified and identify themselves by their Bunk 14 Year.

Color War[edit]

For many staff and campers alike, Color War is the highlight and culmination of the summer. During the last week of the summer, the camp is split up into two teams, "white" and "blue". Each team typically consists of 8 staff members, usually: 1 General, 5 Lieutenants, and 2 Aides. However, in previous years, there have been 4 Lieutenants, 6 Lieutenants, and 3 Aides on a team. Color War takes place over 6 days. Each camper is placed in a division with other campers of their own age and one year above or below them. The four divisions are Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior. In each division, the two teams face each other in sports, side events, tug of wars, and other events. The point values for each event are hidden from the campers, but increase in value from the Freshman to Senior Division. Before Color War, the staffs assemble to prepare for the week. A few days before Color War is Negotiations, in which the General and 1st Lieutenant of each team negotiate out the order of picks for each division, as well as team location, and color, with the other team. A few days after Negotiations, and usually the day before or the day of Color War, is Picks. During Picks, each team is given the opportunity to pick the campers that they want on their team. One of the traditions of Color War is the silent meals. This doesn't apply to any of the Color War staff members, captains, or judges. If you are caught talking during any of the 18 meals (6 days, 3 meals a day), points will automatically be deducted from your team. The winner is usually announced through a fixed race or game of some sort, in which the counselors representing the winning team win. The winning team then proceeds to jump in the lake, celebrating for up to half an hour with their victorious teammates and staff members.

Color War Record[edit]

Year Winning team Losing team
1972 White Patriots

General Carl Rottersman
Captain Jon Bamel

Blue Braves

General Steven Woolf
Captain George Brockman

1973 White Cougars

General Bobby Gilberg
Captain Neil Sandler

Blue Brigade

General Danny Bauman
Captain Steven Bender

1974 Blue Israelites

General Robbie Coppel
Captain Phil Lukoff

White Cobras

General Brad Barry
Captain Gary Epstein

1975 White Wizards

General Robbie Coppel
Captain Jerry Gordon

Blue Tide

General Mike Katz
Captain David Bamel

1976 Blue Rockets

General George Brockman
Captain Robbie Satloff

White Eagles

General Robbie Coppel
Captain Bruce Bender

1977 Blue Destroyers

General Stuart Bram
Captain Ken Sandberg

White Kings

General David Goodman
Captain Mike Ross

1978 White Cosmos

General Eric Yaffe
Captain Glen French

Blue Diamonds

General Phil Lukoff
Captain Gary Greenstein

1979 White Warriors

General David Bamel
Captain Neil Schneider

Blue Cyclones

General Mitch Rubin
Captain David Snider

1980 White Avodians

General Paul Kleinmann
Captain Richie Mintzer

Blue Aztecs

General Robert Satloff
Captain Evan Yampolsky

1981 White Sabres

General Steve Aronson
Captain Bruce French

Blue Galaxy

General Steve Camiel
Captain Paul Simon

1982 Blue Sting

General Mike Roth
Captain Alex Sherman

White Warlords

General Steve Aronson
Captain Mike Saperstein

1983 White Falcons

General David Snider
Captain Richard I Lefkowitz

Blue Dragons

General Mike Rutstein
Captain Jon Lee

1984 Blue Express

General Evan Yampolsky
Captain Lee Kaiser

White Magic

General Andy Stone
Captain Larry Gold

1985 Blue Demons

General Paul Simon
Captain Jon Feldman

White Spray

General Mark Solomon
Captain Danny Gold

1986 White Spartans

General Peter Spider Lebowitz
Captain Josh Camire

Blue Crusade

General David Wertheim
Captain Brett Smith

1987 White Cougars

General Davida Bones
Captain Jimmy Sklaver

Blue Pythons

General Gary Solomon
Captain Stu Glasser

1988 Blue Shadow

General Jay Yampolsky
Captain Adam Kaufman

White Lightning

General Russell Katz
Captain Jon Cohen

1989 Blue Storm

General Mark Glovin
Captain Ariel Waldman

White Raiders

General Ken Shifman
Captain Brian Malamut

1990 White Panthers

General Ken Shifman
Captain Jake Farquharson

Blue Stampede

General Russell Katz
Captain Bobby Zuker

1991 Blue Scorpions

General Jeff Blocker
Captain Aaron Katz

White Knights

General Andy Spear
Captain Josh Kaswell

1992 White Empire

General Stu Glass
Captain Spencer Kimball

Blue Assault

General David Wilcov
Captain Darryl Malamut

1993 Blue Sharks

General Jeremy Agulnek
Captain Jaskon Kurtz

White Heat

General Ricky Hyman
Captain Jeremy Steckel

1994 Blue Predators

General Jeremy Agulnek
Captain Dan Gold_Pitegoff

White Seminoles

General Ricky Hyman
Captain Scott Bookman

1995 Blue Devils

General Jeff Vetstein
Captain Sam Chates

White Wolves

General Bobby Zuker
Captain Adam Hatch

1996 Blue Grizzlies

General Jeremy Agulnek
Captain Josh Schneider

White Wildcats

General Mark Sokoloff
Captain Jesse Fanuiel

1997 Blue Justice

General Jeff Vetstein
Captain Greg Lazaroff

White Bulldogs

General Ken Freeman
Captain Jon Ostroff

1998 White Vipers

General Spencer Kimball
Captain Josh Damm

Blue Rebels

General Aaron Agulnek
Captain Dave Pratter

1999 White Force

General Eric Levy
Captain Matt Aschaffenburg

Blue Tide

General EJ Kimball
Captain Matthew Chella

2000 Blue Dynasty

General Spencer Kimball
Captain Sam Glick

White Warriors

General Dave Brown
Captain Dave Kivowitz

2001 White Lions

General Barry Morgan
Captain Josh Coran

Blue Terror

General Adam Miller
Captain Sawyer Emmer

2002 Blue Gladiators

General EJ Kimball
Captain Steve Mendelsohn

White Patriots

General Josh Schneider
Captain Brian Norcross

2003 Blue Giants

General Adam Miller
Captain Matt Glick

White Titans

General Greg Lazaroff
Captain Jared Shalek

2004 Blue Buccaneers

General Adam Miller
Captain Benny Bershad

White Outlaws

General Evan Traiger
Captain Jonathan Katz

2005 Blue Mafia

General Todd Miller
Captain Justin Lukoff

White Tigers

General Mike Pemstein
Captain Cory Schneider

2006 Blue Venom

General Sawyer Emmer
Captain Eli Rodrigues

White Dragons

General Mike Pemstein
Captain Sam Brenner

2007 Blue Animals

General Dan Gollinger
Captain Eddie Bernson

White Spartans

General Erik Silevitch
Captain Sascha Bercovitch

2008 White Phantoms

General Matt Norcross
Captain Jason Hefter

Blue Army

General David Fine
Captain Brendan Hefter

2009 Blue Monsters

General Adam Rubin
Captain Paul Sockol

White Mustangs

General Jonny Singer
Captain Brandon Banker

2010 White Assassins

General Cory Finkelman
Captain Marc Gleason

Blue Heroes

General Ethan Gurwitz
Captain Sam Watman

2011 Blue Barbarians

General Richard Katz
Captain Harrison Bamel

White Legends

General Josh Coran
Captain Jake Alexander

2012 White Mercenaries

General Ben Rubin
Captain Drew Lukoff

Blue Gators

General Eddie Bernson
Captain Benji Satloff

2013 Blue Goblins

General Jason Hefter
Captain Ben Shale

White Prophets

General Jacob Dennis
Captain Louis Yarmolinsky

2014 Blue Vikings

General Joey Sherman
Captain Abe Watman

White Chiefs

General Jacob Dennis
Captain Dan Chafetz

2015 White Olympians

General Sam Watman
Captain Eli Sabin

Blue Apes

General Louis Douglas
Captain Max Waltzman

2016 White Villains

General Jared Fixler
Captain Ross Halpern

Blue Bears

General Louis Douglas
Captain Zac Roth

Alumni Association[edit]

The Avoda Alumni Association is an active and integral part of Avoda's success. Since 1987, the Camp Avoda Alumni Association has hosted a full weekend dedicated to Alumni events, which typically takes place the weekend before the campers arrive at camp.[6] It is common for Alumni members to stop by throughout the summer to interact with the current staff and campers. While visiting, the alumni members are able to participate in the alumni's which they have (Bunk 1, Bunk 12, Bunk 14).

In addition to the "Alumni Weekend" the Avoda Alumni Association has many events throughout the off-season at various Massachusetts locations, including: Billiard Nights, Family Day at Gillette Stadium, and the annual Thanksgiving Football Game in Cleveland Circle. The Alumni Association engages in many fundraising and charitable endeavors aimed at providing scholarships to campers for the summers.


  1. ^ Staff, Peterson (2003). Summer Opportunities for Kids and Teenagers 2004. Thompson Peterson's. p. 275. ISBN 0-7689-1158-3. 
  2. ^ Jewish Camping and Summer Programs retrieved on May 4, 2008
  3. ^ A Parent's Guide to Jewish Day and Overnight Camps retrieved on May 4, 2008
  4. ^ Reckford, Laura. Frommer's Cape Cod, Nantucket & Martha's Vineyard 2008. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing, (2008), p. 109.
  5. ^ "Our Leadership Team". Camp Avoda. Retrieved 20 December 2015. 
  6. ^ [1] retrieved on May 1, 2008

External links[edit]