Reflections on Ramah Directors Conference

Ariella Moss Peterseil  |   18 Oct 2018

Every fall the Ramah directors gather together at one of the Ramah camps to debrief the summer and share highlights.

Every year all the Ramah Directors gather together after what we all hope and pray is a safe summer. We meet at one of the ten overnight Ramah camps to debrief our summers, hear about new innovations, laugh and cry together, learn Torah, and see what the other Ramah camps look like, how they are set up, and what makes them unique. This year, we met at the beautiful Camp Ramah in New England.

I have often called these meetings my “summer therapy”. It seems to mark the official closing of one season and the opening of the next season. There is just something special about sitting in a room with people who understand at a deep level what you just experienced. This year, we decided as a group to have more time for professional development and not just camp reports. We got to be a part of an improv workshop that taught us how important it is to listen, to have a “yes and” attitude and not a “yes but” approach. We heard from a psychologist about the various ways we can and can’t accommodate various emotional needs in the summer camp setting and we learned about camp marketing strategies.

But I think my favorite parts, were the JEWISH CAMP parts. I loved the musical shacharit we had, where we got to learn tunes from other camps and sing some of our favorites and the kumzitz (bonfire- which in Yiddish means “come sit”) where we sat around the fire pit, roasted marshmallows and sang songs. These two times reminded me how JEWISH and CAMP come to life every moment at Ramah and inspired me to sit around and enjoy more of those times this kayitz at our very own Machaneh.


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