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Thursday, June 11, 2009

End of the Year Celebrations -- Part I

Two years ago, my girls started learning gymnastics at our local branch of Kfitz Kfotz*.

I will forever be grateful to both Tehilla Fraenkel (founder and director of Kfitz Kfotz) and Temima Petersal (head coach of the Homat Shmuel branch), for all that they have given my daughters.

Both of my daughters began Kfitz Kfotz at a relatively "old" age, especially my eldest daughter, who was the oldest 'new kid' in all of Homat Shmuel (and perhaps all of Jerusalem). I almost expected them to "drop out." I certainly expected them to have issues (about being so much older, about not being "as good," about being different in so many ways...).

Was I in for a surprise!!

Within a few weeks, both of my girls were hooked. They "could not" miss a single workout! If they were late, they had to call and let Temima know. They took gymnastics very seriously. And they loved it!!

Sometime in the first few weeks, Tehilla hosted an evening for all the parents from all the different branches to explain her vision of what she is trying to create through Kfitz Kfotz. Since only about 10% of the girls will ever exhibit true prowess in gymnastics, her goal for 90% of the girls is far beyond the ability to do cartwheels and handsprings. Kfitz Kfotz strives to build up the girls both physically and spiritually, to create a sense of camaraderie and good sportsmanship and to imbue the girls with a love of sports. I have been privileged to witness the impact of these efforts on my girls.

Before I knew it, my eldest began going early, to help with the younger kids. She could barely do anything herself, yet the staff and older kids welcomed her and encouraged her to contribute in whatever way she could. She took her 'job' seriously, arriving on time, staying late, and never missing a class (if humanly possible).

At the end of the year, she joined the summer training program to become an assistant coach. When she discovered that the following year she would get paid for helping the kids, she was really excited. Though she admitted that she had not known that she would get pain and would have done it for free! (She is saving the money, which is good, 'cause she'll need it for driving lessons, college, etc.)

Both of my girls begged to continue for a second year; and both progressed so much more this year. Their commitment did not waver and their enthusiasm only grew.

Yesterday evening (Wednesday), Kfitz Kfotz hosted their end of the year performance. From 5:30-7:15, we watched the girls and their instructors perform dances and exercises exhibiting their abilities. In her opening remarks, Tehilla reminded the audience to clap equally for all the participants -- reminding us all that Kfitz Kfotz is about a nobler aim than physical abilities (no matter how impressive).

What amazed me more than anything was that this was not just an evening for mothers extended family (female relatives only, since Kfitz Kfotz is just for girls). In addition to inviting my sister and Moshe's mom, both kids invited friends of theirs! Even more surprising to me was that their friends made the effort to come!! And they were not the only ones! The enormous auditorium was packed!!

At the end of the evening, ALL the girls get "medals" (candy necklaces that kids of ALL ages appreciate!). In addition, girls who had been working out with Kfitz Kfotz for 5 years and then 9 years and up receive medals in recognition for their diligence and hard work.

My eldest received a medal last year for her volunteer work as an assistant and this year she received a medal for her commitment as part of the staff.

When I dared to suggest that we leave before the distribution of medals, so that we could be on time (or less late) to my eldest daughter's "Erev Shorashim" (Evening of Roots -- more on that tomorrow, b'li neder (I hope!)), my daughters were horrified! Perish the thought!! We stayed until the end.

The second it was over, my daughters tracked me down and rushed me out (lest I get side-tracked and start a conversation with any of my friends....). With two of her classmates in tow, my eldest pulled me to the car. We hopped in and headed straight for their school!

Our evening had only just begun!

Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,

* I searched the web in Hebrew and English for a link to Kfitz Kfotz's webpage and found... nothing!! It is (embarrassingly) too late to call anyone, but if you know of a webpage, please leave a link in the comments!! --- SPECIAL THANKS to Sara G for the link to their website!!


Sarah said...

Hey- is this the Tehilla Fraenkel who used to live in Be'er Sheva?? She was very into children's movement and was certified as a children's gym/ gymnastics instructor. We were good friends when she was here! At the time she had two sons, and they used to play together with my sons (choshen was the name of the older one?). Then they moved to Jerusalem.... if it is the same one, please give her my warm regards!!! How great!

sara g said...

The web site (in Hebrew only, I think)
is at

it sounds wonderful!

RivkA with a capital A said...

Sarah -- sounds like one and the same! It's too late to call her now, but I will call tomorrow....

Sara G -- thanks for the link!! How did you find it?? I will update my post.