Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Camp Ramah, but were afraid to ask!!!
Welcome to Camp Ramah in California! We are so glad that you will be at camp this summer! We know you will have an experience that will last a lifetime!
Whether you are a first time camper or have been to camp before, the following list of questions will help answer some common questions.
A: Camp Ramah is nestled in the Ojai valley, approximately 1 ½ hours northwest of Los Angeles in California.
A: Each summer, campers travel to Ramah from all over California and the Western United States, as well as from Israel, Mexico and even India! Campers from Southern California travel to camp by bus from designated sites, with new and old friends, along with members of our summer staff. Travelers from more distant cities are assigned to Ramah-designated flights and are either escorted by a summer staff chaperone on the plane (for flights with more than 10 campers) or greeted by a member of our summer staff at the gate. They then board private buses from the airport to travel to camp. Families who prefer to drive their campers directly to camp on the first or last day are welcome to do so.
A: We believe that every child deserves the opportunity to experience a Camp Ramah summer regardless of his or her family’s financial situation. Scholarships and payment plans are available to help make this opportunity possible. Camp Ramah also offers financial incentives to families who are new to Ramah and sending a camper to a 4-week program for the first time. For additional information please see Financial Resources.
A: Camp Ramah can generally accommodate almost any allergy. Our kitchen is entirely peanut and tree-nut free. We also are able to accommodate lactose intolerance and certain wheat allergies as well.
A: Yes. Part of the application process is making ‘bunk’ requests; your child may make up to three bunk requests each spring. Whenever possible we try to honor those requests, although we cannot guarantee that all choices will be honored.
A: Camp Ramah has a long-standing tradition of medical excellence starting with our top-notch staff, including a physician, a team of nurses and an infirmary administrator, all of whom live at camp and are available 24/7 to our campers and staff.
A: We try our best to make sure that camp is the place for every child, including those with special needs. Please call the office and ask to speak to our director with your family’s specific concerns and we will do everything possible to ensure a successful summer for your child at Camp Ramah. If you are interested in our Tikvah Family Camp, please click here for more information.
A: We keep in touch throughout the summer! Parent Liaisons send weekly email updates to parents on programmatic highlights for each edah (age division). Our website features camper photos taken several days each week. Campers are encouraged to write letters to parents, family and friends, and we encourage families and friends to send letters and emails from home. In order to foster our campers’ independence, cellular phones are strictly prohibited, and campers may not send emails nor place or receive phone calls.
A: Every summer we offer one Yom Kehillah (Visitors’ Day) where parents, grandparents, friends and alumni can visit camp. (Please note that there is one Yom Kehillah per summer, not per camp session. There may not be a day scheduled while your child is at camp).
A: All of us rely heavily on technology during the year. It can enhance and simplify our lives in the city. At camp, we focus on different things – building a community, making friends, being outdoors, playing sports, singing, studying and having a great time! You will probably watch a movie during the summer and maybe even see a computer. But you can’t bring your own movies or laptop. In fact, there are a number of technological wonders that you can’t bring to camp: cell phones, refrigerators, video cameras, pocket TV’s, walkie talkies, and Gameboys.
A: Since the invention of e-mail, there aren’t too many people writing letters with a pen and paper anymore. But a summer at camp is an opportunity to practice your creative writing skills in your letters to friends and family. At camp you will be able to receive, but not send e-mails during the summer. You’ll have a lot to write about- new friends, great counselors and more!
A: Camp has its own laundry facility on site. Twice each session your laundry will be washed together with the other campers’ in your bunk/tent (4-week campers). Every edah does laundry, so it is important to label all your clothes. Laundry is not available to Gesher campers.
A: Praying is a holy act in Judaism. Baseball caps are a fashion statement, not a religious one. All banim (boys) must wear a kippah during tfillot. Banot (girls) who want to wear a kippah are welcome to do so.
A: Camp has a fully staffed Mirpa’ah (infirmary). Every day there is one regular sick call for campers who don’t feel well. There is a nurse and doctor on campus at all times. If you don’t feel well during the night or outside of sick call, talk to your counselor first.
A: No, the state of California does not allow any medicine to be kept in your cabin, including Tylenol or any other over-the-counter drug. Campers who take medicine go to the Mirpa’ah (infirmary) to take their medicine or have their medications brought to them at meals. If you have an inhaler for asthma, you should carry it with you at all times so you have it when you need it, and bring an extra (just in case)!
A: You can certainly play cards at camp, but betting or gambling with money is illegal and not permitted.
A: Eventually, we all have to learn how to change our sheets and make our bed. Camp is now the time. Everyone’s bed must have a bottom and top sheet, as well as a blanket. Your counselors are there to help you. Sleeping bags are used for overnights only.
A: There are lots of ways to relax before you fall asleep at camp. If you are still awake, try these simple techniques: read a book in bed with your flashlight, write a letter, play solitaire or count sheep! BUT REMEMBER- NEVER LEAVE YOUR CABIN AFTER LIGHTS OUT!
A: We serve three healthful, balanced meals each day and at least two snacks daily. In addition, your bunk will be ordering “treats” from our canteen, two days a week. Any food brought to camp or sent to camp will be removed by your counselors and donated to a Tzedakah project. Don’t bring it!
A: During the summer, you may have several opportunities to leave camp with your bunk or edah (division). You will go on an overnight trip with your edah or maybe to the park or on a hike. No one can leave the campgrounds for any reason without the permission of the camp director.
A: Some people call it Yom Sport or Color Wars or Mini-Olympics. Whatever you call it, it is great fun! The whole camp participates in a daylong competition of different events.
A: Extension cords are a major fire hazard. The electrical system at camp is not wired to handle large overloads. One of the great opportunities at camp is to learn to solve problems in your cabin and to create a community with your cabinmates. How do you share the plugs in the cabin? You’ll figure it out together. But here’s the final answer- no extension cords are allowed in camp! (Helpful hint: If you need a fan, bring a small battery-operated one).
A: Fire is a serious danger at camp. One little sparkler, one little match, could start a fire that would not only impact the camp, but the beautiful forest that surrounds it as well. We must do everything we can to avoid a fire. Therefore, fireworks, incense and candles are not allowed by campers at camp.
A: While we aren’t sure if Goldberg has sent in his application, we do know that there aren’t any other professional wrestlers at camp. So, let’s stick to non-contact sports. Don’t ever touch another person in a way that would make them feel uncomfortable. Even if you are just playing around, it might seem threatening to someone else.
A: Spending a summer at camp means living in a diverse community. You live in a cabin or tent with campers from a variety of locations and are involved with an even larger group of kids in your edah. There are many ways that we try to keep relationships at camp healthy and respectful. Here are some different issues that may come up and some suggestions on how to deal with them:
- Talk, don’t hit! When you get really angry, never hit another person. Walk away from the situation and seek out someone to talk to after you have cooled down. Find a friend, your counselor, your rosh edah or another staff member with whom you feel comfortable discussing the problem.
- If you can’t say something nice, don’t say it at all! What you say can be hurtful to others so choose your words carefully. Think before you make a rude comment to another camper about their appearance or a rumor you might have heard.
A: It is very easy to get into the habit of swearing when you get hurt, or frustrated or even when using these words as slang in everyday speech. Polluting the camp air with cursing is not a “cool” way to express yourself.
A: No, we do not allow any kind of weapons in camp. This includes Swiss Army knives, water guns and toy weapons. The environment that we seek to create for our camp community is a peaceful one. Weapons of ANY kind- real or not- will be confiscated and brought to the attention of the camp director.
A: You certainly can, but you must be responsible for your own equipment. In fact, this summer we plan to coordinate a camp band for 8th-10th-grade campers. Take care of your instrument. If you are worried about damage or loss, DON’T BRING IT. Camp Ramah in California will not be held responsible if it is lost, missing or broken.
A: Absolutely! Camp has a zero tolerance policy for illegal drug and alcohol use in camp. If you use drugs and alcohol at camp you will be sent home. No refunds. No exceptions.
A: The way you wear your hair is a great way to express yourself. However, we do not allow campers to shave their heads at camp for safety and hygienic reasons. No camper is permitted to cut another camper’s hair. Please do not bring hair clippers with you to camp as they will be confiscated and held for the summer.
A: Judaism views that the human body is a vessel that should be treated with respect. At camp, staff and campers are only allowed to wear earrings in their ears. We do not allow any other piercing, for example: belly button rings, etc. If you come to camp wearing body-piercing rings, you will be asked to remove them for the summer. Campers are also not allowed to pierce their ears (or anything else) while at camp.
A: Every camper who has a birthday during the summer gets a personalized birthday cake made by our own baker. The entire camp will sing to you and you can have a party with your cabin group. Additional snacks are not provided for birthdays.
A: Why do campers return to Ramah year after year? To be with their friends! And we know the importance of these special friendships. However, camp consists of private and public spaces. Cabins/tents are private spaces where people change clothes, shower, rest and relax. While you might feel comfortable with a certain situation, someone else might not! Therefore, boys are not allowed inside girls’ cabins/tents and girls are not allowed inside boys’ cabins/tents. Also, boys cannot be in girls’ tent areas and vice versa.
A: Judaism has much to teach about this subject. We hope that during the summer, you will have the opportunity to discuss some of your questions and other issues in an appropriate framework. But for now, here are some guidelines for the summer: Touching people inappropriately, against their will or speaking to them in an inappropriate sexual manner is not permitted in camp. Sexually explicit material is also not allowed in camp. If you have any questions or feel uncomfortable with someone else’s behavior, please talk to a staff member.
A: No, campers are not allowed to smoke at camp. If you are caught smoking at camp it will result in a phone call to your parents and you may be sent home.
A: Spending Shabbat at camp is one of the best experiences of your summer. But Shabbat isn’t just what we make of it- it is what you make of it, as well. There are certain public behaviors that are not allowed on Shabbat and certain private behaviors that you can decide upon. You may use a personal flashlight. You can read a book but you cannot play music on your stereo. You can get a drink of water but you can’t buy soda. You can go swimming and take showers, but you can’t blow dry your hair. You can rest.
A: Friday night services are a very special time at camp. The whole camp comes together for Kabbalat Shabbat and Maariv. We even have special music and dance presentations before Kabbalat Shabbat. What you wear is a personal choice, but there are certain guidelines that we have in order to create that special Shabbat ruach.
Dress for Shabbat t’fillot should be modest. All banim must cover their heads with kippot. Banot are welcome to wear kippot. We do not wear jeans to t’fillot on Friday night. On the second Friday of each session everyone will be wearing white to add to the sanctity of Shabbat. We suggest at least a white top and light colored slacks or skirt.
Buttoned Down Shirts/Blouses
Micro Mini Skirts
Tight Fitting Dresses
Spaghetti Straps/Sleeveless Shirts – (unless you wear a jacket or sweater)
A: To many of us, camp is like a second home. We may be tempted to do things at camp that we wouldn’t normally do simply because we feel so comfortable there. It is important that the buildings and furniture in camp remain in good shape for all of the campers who will be using them after you. Graffiti is not attractive and doesn’t add to the beauty of camp. Therefore, graffiti is not permitted in the cabins or any other place in camp. Find a more creative and positive way to “leave your mark” on camp!
A: With the help of campers and staff, we will preserve our environment by our own acts. We all pitch in several times a week taking turns doing nikui hamachaneh. Don’t throw your garbage on the ground! Make sure that you put it in a garbage can.
A: One of the founding missions of Ramah was to introduce Hebrew as a living language. We do this now by bringing Israelis to camp to work in a variety of staff positions, by performing the plays in Hebrew, offering special “peulot” (activities), and by making Hebrew the public language of the camp. Words and phrases are used over and over, such as locations and numbers for telling time. Before you know it, you will be very familiar with the Hebrew at camp with the help of your counselors and friends. Remember, if you don’t know, ask!
A: Campers are organized at Camp Ramah by their grades and gender for the following summer school grades. Our youngest campers, entering grades 3-6, live in bunks that can accommodate up to 16 campers. Our older campers entering grades 7-10 live in tents with up to 14 other campers. In addition, we have 2-4 staff in each bunk or tent.
A: The bunks have an attached bathroom and shower stalls. The older campers reside in tents and their restrooms are nearby.