Reflecting on 2019: Summer Highlights & Areas for Growth

The Camp Ramah Team  |   6 Nov 2019

Rabbi Joe Menashe, Executive Director
Ariella Moss Peterseil, Camp Director

Wow! What an incredible Kayitz 2019. After a truly fulfilling and meaningful summer, our team has spent time reflecting on this year’s successes and improvements. As part of planning for Kayitz 2020, we want to ensure that we evaluate all the feedback we have collected. We are working hard to make 2020 another incredible experience for all who walk through our gates, and will use this feedback to help direct our work. 

As part of the summer reflection and evaluation, our year-round staff has read letters and cards with words of gratitude from the kehillah. We have gathered feedback from you through face-to-face conversations, phone calls, group meetings, and surveys. Thank you for taking the time to share your comments with us! 

Your feedback is crucial to our success. Based on your feedback from Kayitz 2018, we knew what to focus on for this summer. We implemented changes to our schedule, the chadar ochel, the health center, summer communications, photography and our staffing model. These improvements had varying degrees of efficacy: you told us that some were great, some still need tweaks, and some still need some big work.  

Based on YOUR feedback this year, we have some big improvements planned for Kayitz 2020. Here are just a few: 

    • Chadar Ochel: Last year we made many changes to our dining experience, and, while some pieces improved, we know that we can do better. This year we are continuing to make meals a priority in a way that pleases more of our camp community and meets the changing dietary needs of our population. We have made some improvements, we have heard your feedback, and this is our year to make strides in the Chadar in quality, quantity, delivery, and overall experience. 
    • Friday/Shabbat Experience: Shabbat has always been a highlight of Camp Ramah! Believe it or not, we feel there’s room to make this experience more meaningful, spiritual, and age-appropriate for all. Hence, we are taking the next few months to look in-depth at Friday’s activities and schedule, and to infuse more into preparation, prayer, and celebration. 

We want to celebrate the highlights of the kayitz according to your survey responses and our data experts:

    • Summer photography: We restructured our summer photo setup by uploading more photos twice as often. You shared that this made a significant difference in your ability to vicariously experience camp!
    • Jewish experiences: At Camp Ramah, we create a Jewish atmosphere in so many ways, including meaningful Shabbat practices, singing prayers, and living Jewish values. This is who we are, and we are so proud that YOU see us as excelling in this work.
    • Madrichim as role models: Over 80% of our madrichim grew up at Camp Ramah. They know what the Ramah experience is about and are passionately creating the same experience for the next generation. The survey showed our improvement in fostering camper-camper relationships and camper-staff relationships. These relationships created a sense of belonging and a positive camp experience. The survey also told us there was an improvement in mooomchim (specialty instructors) staff expertise and professionalism.
    • Arrival to camp experience: This year, we had more staff to greet campers, we had a photo booth, and most importantly, we had chocolate muffins! You also told us that the luggage drop-off the day before improved the bus experience.
    • Shorashim pipeline program: A four-day “taste of camp” experience for rising 2nd graders which is now in its second year.
    • Availability of our team for feedback. What we hear from you is valuable. We want to grow and improve constantly, which is why you are receiving emails like this one. Do you have a topic you want to discuss from the summer? Send us an email!

We look forward to sharing our thoughts and plans for Kayitz 2020 with you over the next several months. Watch your inboxes as we will share more about our Big Initiatives 2020 and dive into each of those at greater length. Thank you for being committed Ramahniks and Ramah families, and as always, please do not hesitate to be in touch!

-Rabbi Joe, Ariella, and the entire Camp Ramah team!

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