What’s Happening at Ramah
Year in Review: See What's Happening at Ramah, 5771 to 5772
We would like to take this opportunity to share with you a brief update on the Ramah Camping Movement, and highlight some new and exciting initiatives that will be headlining our work in 5772.
Ramah's many accomplishments in 5771 were due in no small part to the expanding circle of supporters who share our vision for growth. We take pride in the fact that Ramah inspires, educates, and shapes current and future generations of committed Jewish leaders, all within our camp communities of joyful, immersive Jewish experiences.
- During this past summer, more than 6,500 campers and 2,500 staff members participated in Ramah programs throughout North America and Israel.
- Ramah's newest overnight camp, Ramah Outdoor Adventure (ROA), nearly doubled in size to more than 200 campers from 23 states, Canada, and Israel. ROA combines Jewish living with rigorous outdoor adventure and environmental education. This project is funded by the Jim Joseph Foundation through the Specialty Camps Incubator of the Foundation for Jewish Camp. Significant site upgrades have been supported by the Rose Community Foundation (Greater Denver), the 18 Pomegranates foundation, the Gottesman Fund, and many other individual donors.
- A new national network of Ramah special needs staff and educators, Reshet, was launched and convened at a first-ever national training program. Supported by funds raised in our first-ever Ramah Israel Bike Ride, which raised more than $215,000 for special needs programs, along with a generous grant from the Neshamot Fund of the UJA Federation of NY-Westchester, the establishment of Reshet underscores the importance that Ramah places on inclusion and on providing meaningful Jewish experiences for children with special needs. (Some Ramah camps have also begun an innovative video conferencing initiative, supported by a grant from the Ruderman Family Foundation, to foster year-round connections among our campers with special needs.)
- In order to invigorate synagogues and schools with the excitement of Ramah-style activities, and to inspire more children to attend camp, the newly-formed Ramah Service Corps tapped into a national pool of 150 Ramah summer staff members working in year-round communities-synagogues, schools, youth groups, and other Jewish communal programs. The Ramah Service Corps, supported by a grant from the Foundation for Jewish Camp, networked 19 Ramahniks in a year-long pilot service program, where they were trained and mentored in the creation of community programming for families and youth. The exceptional results of this pilot program have spurred communities and Ramah staff to join a growing list of potential Ramah Service Corps participants. Click here to read a report summarizing the program's pilot year.
- Ramah camps continued to immerse themselves in Hebrew learning and conversation through the AVI CHAI-funded Daber program, which trains North American and Israeli staff to expand Hebrew language usage at camp.
- An innovative educational curriculum in modern Israeli and Zionist history was expandedto include a growing number of campers, age groups, and topics, supported by a generous grant from the Legacy Heritage Fund.
- Over 400 staff members participated in new and ongoing National Ramah staff training programs.
- More than 1,200 children, teens, and adults participated in inspiring Ramah Israel programs, including our Ramah Israel Seminar and Ramah Jerusalem Day Camp summer programs, our TRY/USY High second-semester academic program in Jerusalem, and our short-term programs for synagogues and schools.
Looking ahead, we anticipate the development of programs to include the following:
- A new training program for specialty counselors;
- The growth of the Ramah Service Corps to include a steadily increasing number of Ramah staff and communities;
- The launch of a national Ramah alumni network;
- Ongoing curriculum development around Israel, chesed, Hebrew language, and Judaics; and
- New environmental and outdoor programming.
Through new partnerships with year-round communities and funders, Ramah anticipates continued growth and development in the coming months.