Shalom Ramah Families!
As we are constantly rethinking how we can get better and better at what we do, Opening and Closing Days of camp have been on our radar. We truly believe that as an educational and FUN setting, the experience begins at drop-off, well before the kids have even arrived at our physical camp in Ojai, and ends only when the final camper is picked up at the end of a session. With that in mind and with our yiddishe kup (Jewish wisdom), we started playing with the idea of totally flipping these days on their head (venahafochu– like the Purim story!). What if on transportation days, the majority of our staff (Directors, counselors, specialists, programming and marp staff) were at those locations and only a modest number of staff were at camp? What if we started ice breakers, meet your staff, medical check ins and more at each location? What if parents could get a real taste of camp as they send their most prized possessions away for the summer? With these questions in mind, we began using our creative, educational and logistics brainpower to start reimagining these days…and we got pretty excited about it! While greater details will follow, we wanted to share the beginnings of our brainstorms with all of you:
- Increasing the number of staff at each location, bus and airport. We want to make sure that every camper starts to feel comfortable from the moment they get on the bus. This includes meeting several counselors from their edah and starting our icebreakers and ‘getting to know you’ activities as kids begin to arrive. While we will continue our policy of not disclosing bunks until the campers get to camp, this will give campers a chance to meet people from the entire edah. Staff members will continue to be on the lookout for for campers in need of extra support separating and will be available to proactively introduce themselves to the campers and their families. Increasing the number of staff at each location also means more people on hand to help with luggage!
- Making sure that our youngest campers (Gesher and Nitzanim) have their own area on a bus so that they can start bonding and developing the friendships that are so important to a successful Ramah Journey. We hope to enhance the experience for everyone by having buses be by edah rather than by last name.
- Continuing to encourage our staff to sit bein (between their campers) and look out for anyone who looks a little sad, carsick or lonely. This will also include a bit of programming for the bus – including car games, singing, and bringing the Ramah ruach (spirit) from the moment the wheels start moving!
- Leading “camp-style” activities at the sites for parents to do with their kids before sending them off (i.e. photo booth, Ramah lingo, canteen etc.)
- Improving the structure and process of these days with new organizational tools such as colored wrist-bands, colored shirts, proper signage, decorations, and more.
In general, we hope to provide a smoother start and a sweeter conclusion to the summer your camper spends with us. By bringing a taste of camp to each of these locations we hope that you, as parents/guardians, feel even more confident, secure, and knowledgeable about the type of experience your child is guaranteed at Ramah. As always, todah (thank you) for your partnership!
Another exciting announcement: YOM KEHILLAH!
We warmly extend an invitation to our entire community to attend our 2019 Yom Kehillah program on Sunday July 7, 2019. This day will be an excellent opportunity to tour camp, connect with old friends and visit our 1st Session campers. Gesher Bet will be away from camp on a field trip that day. To offer the fewest disruptions to the camping experience, camp provides one Visitors’ Day during the summer sessions and the date rotates each year between Session I and II.
NEW THIS KAYITZ!
We are excited to invite any chanichim without visitors to participate in a fun-filled off-site activity for the day with a picnic lunch. Ideas currently being explored are a movie, bowling, mini-golf, beach day and more. This could allow families who are out of town or those who think it would be easier for their camper to not have the visit at camp, do something fun and exciting with their camp friends. Final details will be shared in the spring, but we wanted you to be aware if this exciting enhancement now, so you can plan accordingly.
Sign-up information will be included with our summer camp forms. Please contact Ben for more information.
Rabbi Joe Menashe, Executive Director
Ariella Moss Peterseil, Camp Director
and the entire Camp Ramah team!