(Courtesy of MVP Camps) MVP Camps, the premier Jewish Orthodox sports camp located at Camp Seneca Lake at the end of August, under the direction of Judah and Carol Rhine, and Irv Bader, celebrated its 13th consecutive season of sold-out registration. Hurricane Henri was no match for MVP 2021. This year MVP hosted both the boys and girls for two amazing programs in one great week.
MVP Boys had four divisions, 30 teams and played almost 150 games over the course of the five-day camp! The basketball games were competitive and exciting with many last minute buzzer beater endings. This year, MVP added a separate MVP Boys Tennis option which featured international tennis pros who worked with the campers, culminating in tournament champions.
This year’s MVP featured players with all levels of playing ability. Players from grades three through 10 represented many schools throughout the tri-state area. Some of the counselors/coaches were former MVP players who were able to give over their experiences to this year’s players from their years at MVP.
Every MVP player received their very own 2021 reversible MVP jersey. Each day at MVP was filled with a jam packed schedule starting with Shacharit in the shul, followed by gourmet breakfasts and then a series of activities including clinics, swim in the pool, featuring the Seneca GIANT slide, and league games. Delectable lunches were followed by visits to Seneca Sprinkles Ice Cream Parlor, 3 on 3, 2 Ball, and much, much more. After delicious dinners, all MVP players davened Mincha and Maariv. Following the night games and the nightly individual skills contests including Hot Shot, 3 Point, and more, for each division, late night barbeques gave players across all the divisions and schools the opportunity to interact and meet up with each other. All games and competitions were played in both outdoor and indoor facilities.
This year MVP was privileged once again to have Evan Daniel, coach of YCQ, and Rafi Halpert, coach of SAR HS varsity, on staff as head basketball pros. They gave over their expertise of fundamentals and strategy from their years of coaching, playing and refing.
The much anticipated MVP staff game featuring the MVP coaches/counselors against the MVP pro staff lived up to its hype. The many game highlights included impressive dunks and eye opening “alley oops” as the crowd “oohed and ahhed” and cheered on their favorites.
On the final day of MVP 2021, four championship games for each division were played at the beautiful Seneca Center complex and Seneca Park, featuring stadium seating. The games were followed by lunch and the MVP annual closing awards ceremony in the shul, where over 100 trophies and MVP medals were distributed to champions from all the many competitions that took place during the course of the week—including the MVP awards to the MVPs of each of the leagues. Following the awards ceremony, campers were excited to receive their very own, new for 2021, MVP kippah. Everyone is already looking forward to MVP 2022.
In reviewing this year’s MVP experience, Co-Director Judah Rhine stated, “This was by far our most rewarding season ever. We overcame many challenges and hurdles to create our own ‘MVP Bubble.’ MVP Boys gave every camper an opportunity to play basketball/tennis in a safe atmosphere, and at the same time, a chance to make new friends and experience being away in camp in a beautiful setting. For many campers, this was their first time at a sleep away camp. The comradery amongst all the campers was wonderful. Everyone was able to step up their game so there is certainly something here for everyone. Every camper is truly an MVP.”
This year’s MVP Girls Camp featured four different specialties including basketball, tennis, dance and, new for 2021, MVP baking. Each camper chose one specialty which they participated in throughout the week.
MVP basketball featured campers with all levels of playing ability. Players from grades three thru nine, representing many schools throughout the tri-state area participated. The MVP Girls basketball players played many league games, as well as individual competitions, which were competitive and very exciting. Some of the counselor/coaches were former MVP players and were able to give over their experiences from their years at MVP. Each MVP basketball player received a reversible MVP basketball jersey.
MVP Dance was even better than last year. Campers learned and practiced different genres of dance, under the direction of professional dancer/teacher/choreographer Stephanie King. Campers received individualized attention in their sessions and lessons which enhanced their improvement. Each MVP Dance camper received an MVP Dance reversible jersey, featuring the MVP Dance logo. The dance program culminated in a grand recital on the last night of camp, showcasing all the hard work, effort and time put in by the campers and the dance counselors.
MVP Tennis, which was sold out, featured individualized and team instruction, and practice by the pro tennis staff, with matches and competitions.
MVP Baking was a huge success. Under the direction of Gila Romanoff, Cakes by Gigi, the MVP bakers were introduced to different baking skills and techniques. The smells and tastes from the bakery attracted many fans throughout the day and night. A variety of cookies, pies, challah and cinnamon buns were just a few of the delicious creations the girls produced. The Cupcake Wars were creative and gave all the bakers the opportunity to show off what they had learned over the course of the week. Every baker received a reversible jersey with the MVP Baking logo and a collection of recipes.
Each day at MVP was filled with a jam-packed schedule starting with davening, followed by a delicious Breakfast, and then a series of morning activities for each specialty, including, basketball clinics and dance and tennis lessons, baking classes, and league games. After lunch, activities included 3 on 3, 2 on 2 and individual competitions including Hot Shot, Knockout, 3 Point and more, league games, creative dance activities, tennis matches, swim and baking, along with visits to Sprinkles and much, much more.
Special night activities included “MVP’s Got Talent” at which individual campers and groups showed off their amazing talents in front of a panel of judges. This program was truly one of the highlights of the week which the campers look forward to every year. At the bonfire by the lake the campers enjoyed roasting giant marshmallows. The girls also enjoyed the famous MVP BBQs on the deck of the Seneca canteen giving all players across all the specialties and schools the opportunity to interact and meet and socialize with each other.
The dance recital finale took place on the last night of camp and the cheering and enthusiasm from all brought down the house.
On the final day of MVP 2021, the basketball championships were played. Everyone enjoyed lunch followed by the annual closing award ceremony in the dining room. Many trophies and medals were distributed to champions of the many competitions that took place during the course of the week, including the MVP awards to the MVP basketball, tennis, dance and baking campers. Before boarding the buses, each camper received an MVP scrunchie which featured all four MVP specialty logos. The girls are already looking forward to and talking about MVP 2022.
In reviewing this year’s MVP Girls experience, Co-Director Carol Rhine stated, “This was by far our biggest season ever. MVP Girls gives Jewish girls from all over the tri-state area an opportunity to play basketball, tennis and dance and bake in a safe atmosphere, and at the same time, a chance to make new friends and experience being away in camp in a beautiful setting. MVP Girls Baking inaugural program and MVP Girls Basketball, Tennis and Dance camp give girls on every level the opportunity to learn fundamental skills and improve their abilities. Every camper can be an MVP.”
MVP Camps has already started planning for MVP 2022, its 14th season, which promises to be BIGGER and BETTER with some new and exciting additions! Once again, this past season, registration was sold out, which resulted in a waiting list. Please make sure to register early so you don’t get closed out. For more information and pictures please visit themvpcamps.com or email [email protected] or [email protected].