Even More Opportunities for Ramah Campers to Lead, Shine, and Accomplish!
At Camp Ramah, we give every hanich/ah (camper) an opportunity to lead, shine, accomplish and be a part of something.
Our hanichim/hanichot (campers) experience a sense of leadership when they choreograph a dance in a play or mentor younger campers. They shine so brightly when they get up to read from the Torah or sing solos in a play. The opportunities to feel a sense of accomplishment abound, whether it is climbing the Alpine Tower, passing a swimming test or hitting a bull’s eye in archery. We strive to make every hanich/ah (camper) feel like they are a part of something larger than themselves. What better way than by participating in Havdalah, Kabbalat Shabbat dancing in front of the entire camp, Zimkudiah (song and dance festival) or Yom Foam.
As we count the days until kayitz 2017, let’s look back at some wonderful moments from kayitz 2016: stories that show how our campers lead, shine, accomplish and are a part of something.
Jacob W. participates in the Tikvah Vocational Education program for young adults with disabilities. Every day, Jacob is among the two dozen Voc Ed participants who spend three hours at work sites around camp, including in the Mercaz, the Chadar Ochel (Dining Hall), the Voc Ed Bakery, and many others.
Jacob brings great focus and care to his work at the Mercaz, where the camp’s mail and email is sorted and distributed. At the Mercaz, Jacob does a great job sorting the hundreds of emails into the boxes for the tzrifim (bunks) to help parents stay in touch with their chanichim. Jacob said he also recently learned to “mail efficiently by using the postage machine.”
Jacob’s accomplishments extend beyond the workplace. Anna Elfenbaum, the Voc Ed Supervisor, calls Jacob the “king of davening” for his focused kavanah (prayer with intention) during tefilot. Recently, when the Voc Ed participants hosted a dinner for other guests in the Voc Ed building, Jacob proudly led the recitation of the Birkat HaMazon (blessing after the meal). When asked where he finds his source of inspiration when he prays, Jacob emphasized that “davening connects me with my family.”
There are many ways for our hanichim to expand their skills and accomplish wonderful things during their time at camp. Kol Hakavod to Jacob for being a leader at work and in tefilot!
At Camp Ramah, our older hanichim (campers) are learning to lead – to prepare them for their future roles as madrichim (counselors). In MachAch, hanichim in Machon (rising 10th graders) are paired as mentors to Tzad Aleph (A-side) hanichim. On Shabbat, the MachAch pairs play games, hang out and get to know one another. Ezra P. has proved to be a stellar mentor to Oren I. and Elijah M., according to Ethan Luxemburg, the Machon madrich who coordinates the MachAch program. “Ezra did a great job connecting with the boys and also connecting the boys – who are not in the same tzrif – to one another.” Ezra emphasizes that serving as a mentor to the boys has given him “new insight into camp” and has helped me “envision myself as a future madrich.” He looks forward to maintaining these relationships – just as he and some of his fellow Machoners have maintained relationships with the madrichim they first met when they were MachAch pairs several years ago!
This past kayitz, everyone at Camp Ramah in New England gathered for a huge surprise: a visit by a Lakota helicopter and the break-out of Yom Sport! This much-anticipated event was not just a fantastic, action-packed 36 hours – it was also the culmination of the summer-long Nivonim leadership program.
Yom Sport – with Nivonim serving as team captains and as the judges of the individual events and overall competition – was thrilling. After the break-out, with the hanichim (campers) and madrichim (counselors) assembled in their four colors (including home-made costumes, crazy headgear and face paint), it was time for the Apache Relay. With an extended event that covered most of our camp – including a canoe race across the Agam (lake) and the final race up the Alpine Tower – the Apache was a highlight. Monday featured a variety of sports and all-camp Capture the Flag. As is our camp custom, Yom Sport culminated in a ruach-filled closing ceremony in which every hanich participated in cheers, dances and more.
During the two-month-long Nivonim leadership program, they have had many opportunities to build their leadership skills so that, in two years, they can be the role models that hanichim look up to. From serving as MiNis – Madrichim B’Nivonim (counselors that are in Nivonim) – to leading Birkat Hamazon and shira every Shabbat, Nivonim has had many opportunities to hone their leadership skills in the six weeks leading up to Yom Sport.
We cannot wait for kayitz 2017, and lots more opportunities for all of our hanichim/hanichot to lead, shine, and accomplish extraordinary things here at Machaneh Ramah!