Alumni Day has for many years, been a great way for former Campus residents to return to the grassy acres they called home, and to re-connect with old friends (and old flames). It is a day usually dominated by storytelling and reminiscing. Excepting a stroll across the green lawns of Campus, Alumni Day 2020 was as identical as possible to the ones held in years past. Except, it was almost more special, ironically because it was held over Zoom.
Despite some technical difficulties and a hot mic or two, Zoom opened up new possibilities for connection and conversation. Alumni from PCS and Edenwald were in attendance, but so were alumni from other programs and even other institutions. We had several from the Brooklyn Hebrew Orphan Asylum (BHOA), the Hebrew Sheltering Guardian Society (HSGS), and the Hebrew Orphan Asylum (HOA), all institutions that came together, with many others, to form what is now JCCA. We had alumni from the West Coast, East Coast, and even one international alum calling from Montreal, Canada.
Alumni were able to experience many of the same familiar activities. Richard Hucke took them on a video tour of campus, introducing staff and a few residents. After, there was a tricky round of trivia (new questions this year!), as well as breakout groups of five or six to allow for more conversation and storytelling.
However, unlike years past when the raffle ends the program, alumni lingered on, continuing their conversations. In fact, a small group was still enjoying conversation a couple hours after the official program ended.
The success of this year’s Alumni Day has inspired JCCA to explore ways of bringing alumni together digitally and in-person next year, an idea loudly supported by those on the call. Hopefully, we will be able to pull it off and bring together more alumni than ever before!