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AUGUST 8, 2019 | The Jewish Home

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Avnet Hosts Dix Hills Reunion By Lauren Lillien


his past Wednesday night, Avnet Country Day School held the first-ever Camp Avnet Dix Hills reunion. In decades past, Avnet Country Day, then simply known as Camp Avnet, boasted a 10-acre outdoor sports camp in Dix Hills, NY. Drawing campers from all across Long Island, the campus was like no other and was considered to be an excellent alternative to sleepaway camp. Spending 10 summers there served as some of the best highlights of my childhood. It was a blend of campers and staff of all backgrounds, able to bond through the unique experiences that camp life had to offer. More than 15 years since its closing, it seemed like too much time had passed since those exhilarating camp days, and it was rime to reconnect. Before the thrill of the idea could dissipate, I reached out to Daniel Stroock, current director of Avnet whose career began in Dix Hills, in hopes of combining forces to organize a reunion, and to my delight, he agreed. When hearing about the upcoming reunion, Stephanie Nathan, a former camper said, “I think about Avnet every summer, wishing the campus was still around so I could send my kids.” After closing in 2003, the campers and staff funneled into the Long Beach campus, which has now evolved into the two beautiful Woodmere campuses, which close to 1300 children and staff call home, every summer.  After all of the current campers left Avnet on Wednesday evening, the building became a portal to the past.  At 6:30 p.m., former campers, counselors, swim instructors, direc-

tors, and staff members of all titles trickled into the building, excited and yet unsure of what the night would hold. Pictures of the past lined the hallway leading up to the party room, signaling to everyone that they were being transported from the present, back in time to those intoxicating summer days. Walking into the lunchroom, the classic blue and white Avnet colors lined the room, signature pictures covered the walls, sparkling balloons and streamers blanketed the ceiling, and familiar faces of old filled the spaces in between. Within a few minutes, the uncertainty of what to expect was replaced with warm feelings of nostalgia and a tinge of newness. On the tables were camp reunion water bottles in the new camp colors of blue and orange, a reminder of how the evening was blending the old and new.  Daniel Stroock started the evening off with opening remarks, which were, of course, peppered with his casual banter.  After reconnecting with friends, everyone enjoyed a delicious barbecue din-

ner, mini color war, trivia game, raffle and montage that were all were reminiscent of those Dix Hills camp days. The night was made even more special with the company of former camp directors Mr. David Wiener and Rabbi Kenneth Davis, who ran the camp for over 20 years. The evening was filled with chatter and excitement that buzzed the air all night long.  Each conversation was an echo of decades of sentimental reminiscing – events that seemed like just moments ago and became the highlight of every Dix Hill camper’s childhood. As Mrs. Ricky Adler put it, “It was honestly a beautiful evening with some lovely memories and lovely friends. Perfect!”  Even though we can’t go back to camp tomorrow, it was incredible to reconnect and be a Dix Hills family one more time. The reunion left everyone remembering what we always knew and felt – that Camp Avnet has bound each camper and staff member together in a way that only grows deeper with time. July 30, 2019 was just another event to

go down in the everlasting Avnet history book. A special thank you to Rena Fish and Carly Nachman, former Dix Hills staff members, for helping with organization and so many elements of this event; Mrs. Karen Daithcman, former Dix Hills and current Avnet music teacher and Mrs. Robin Nachman, long time Avnet staff member, for setting up the room beautifully; and of course, all of the participants who joined us for this special evening.   When I thanked Daniel in person for his efforts in making the reunion come to fruition, he reiterated his thoughts from his opening remarks of the evening, “It was a pleasure to do this and experience how meaningful Avnet was to this all of the adults in this room. More than anything, it provided an opportunity to reinvigorate myself and the current staff toward our goal of providing Avnet’s current campers with safe and wholesome programming, while creating memories that will last a lifetime!”

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Five Towns Jewish Home - 8-8-19  

Five Towns Jewish Home - 8-8-19

Five Towns Jewish Home - 8-8-19  

Five Towns Jewish Home - 8-8-19