Our chanichim/ot (campers) in the Kishroniyah Mural group last week created another extraordinarily beautiful mural, that will grace our camp grounds for years to come. We can’t wait to put this new mural up for all to see! Working with visiting specialist Tova Speter, the campers completely designed this mural from scratch. They brainstormed themes and design ideas and then spent the week painting this gorgeous new mural!
Here is the statement, written by the kids, that explains some of the meaning behind our 2023 mural:
Every summer at Ramah there is a theme, and this year’s is Marbim B’Simcha, which means to increase the joy. When brainstorming ways to capture this summer into one cohesive mural, we thought of all of the ways in which camp brings us happiness. There were so many ideas shared about where people find joy in camp that we found it difficult to capture in one design, so we decided to turn the challenge into an opportunity and crowdsource even more words related to camp that made campers and staff happy. We ended up with over 275 word contributions and the larger the word on the mural, the more often the word had been shared. Words like Friends, Shabbat, and Community are the largest on the mural because these words bring the most joy to camp and help make camp the happy place it is. But all of the words on the mural are there for a reason and all have a sizable impact on the experience had at Ramah.
From a distance, the words may not all be visible, but the scene itself shows a happy place. A lake to any camp is a source of joy, friendship and peace. At Ramah, the agam is a place where campers can swim, bounce on the water park and just take in the peaceful views it offers. Many of the beautiful sunsets at camp can be seen from the agam. There are places at camp where you can sit with your friends and look at the agam. To some, those are the memories that last forever. These elements of the peaceful view, beautiful sunset, and sitting with friends come together to create the scene on this mural. We also wanted the campers to be looking out and seeing all of these happy thoughts reflected back at them.
We focused the central image on a group of friends sitting on a bench because friends (and benches!) are a big part of life at Ramah. On the border surrounding the entire mural is a friendship bracelet representing the tight bonds you form with your camp friends. Our memories and friendships made at camp stay with us throughout our lives just like the tight and colorful knots of string. We hope the mural makes people smile as they read the words and remember their own happy memories and friendships from Ramah.
Kishroniyah is one of our centerpiece programs for our Tzad Bet (B-Side) chanichim (campers). Kishroniyah comes from the Hebrew word kishron, which means skill. For one week each summer, we invite an array of high-level specialists into camp to run intense special programs for our older campers. Machon and Nivonim have 12 hours of Kishroniyah from Sunday-to-Wednesday, and Magshimim and Bogrim have 8 hours of Kishroniyah from Wednesday-to-Friday.
Tova Speter is an artist, art therapist, art educator, and arts consultant based in Newton, MA. She specializes in working with adolescents, and has more than fifteen years of experience leading community mural projects in the greater Boston area and internationally in Argentina, China, Panama, and Israel. Find out more about Tova’s work (and see pics from past Ramah collaborations) at: www.tovaspeter.com. Tova also has a private practice offering art therapy and mental health counseling services; works as a consultant with congregations interested in exploring innovative ways to infuse more arts-based experiences into their programming; and is the founder and director of The MEM Project, a Boston-based venture that engages individuals through the artistic process as a means to explore Jewish identity and encourage connection with under-served communities through collaborative mural projects. Find out more about The MEM Project at www.thememproject.org.