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.
This past kayitz, we were treated to an all-Hebrew version of Fiddler on the Roof, the last machazemer (musical) of the summer. Machon (rising 10th graders) and Amitzim (unit of teens with disabilities) worked tremendously hard – and with great passion and talent – to bring this crowd-pleaser to the whole camp community. This machazemer, like others earlier this summer and so many experiences during this kayitz, gave the hanichim (campers) opportunities to lead, to shine, to accomplish and to be a part of something. These collective moments make the Ramah experience so magical – and enable each hanich to connect to the Ramah experience in a unique and individual way.Ethan R. reflected on his experience in the central role of Tevya: “It was a great leadership opportunity for me – an opportunity to show how I have matured. I enjoyed seeing the unity in my edah – how the edah came together” for this project.
The hanichim were delighted with their roles, whether small or large. The Amitzimers could not have been more enthusiastic about being in Fiddler. Mikey F., who played a drum, was “excited to be in the band” because he loves music so much. Zak M., loved being a “papa” in the Anitevka number and Allie G. “loved being involved in the girls dance.”
Everyone took great pride in learning the Hebrew songs. “My Hebrew isn’t great – I had to repeat the words over and over again to learn them,” Ethan R. emphasized. Leah P., in the role of Golda, felt a sense of accomplishment in getting and learning a speaking part in Hebrew.
Several hanichim in Machon reflected on their partnership with Amitzim in Fiddler. E.J. R. said it is “really cool to work with Amitzim and learn about their camp experiences.” Max S., who has served as a “Machon Helper” and helped to teach the “Tradition” dance moves to Amitzim, found it “so fun to work with Amitzim because they enjoy camp so much.”
Whether in a lead role or as a dancer in the boys’ or girls’ dances, the hanichim were resoundingly thrilled with their experience – enjoying the opportunities that Fiddler provided to lead, shine, accomplish something important, and be a part of a fantastic and supportive group of hanichim. What a spectacular show, what a great Ramah experience!
Have you heard of the “It’s a Good Life Chug?” This special elective – which exists only at Camp Ramah in New England – has a long tradition, going back to the mid-1990s, when it was started by Mike Pletman. Josh Edelglass, our Assistant Director, has brought it forward with enthusiasm. The fun-loving Shoafimers (rising 7th graders) do silly peulot (activities) together. To enter the chug, interested Shoafimers must write a twenty-two-and-a-half word essay, on a creative canvas of their choice (paper is not allowed), explaining why they must be allowed entrance to the chug. (This year one camper went all out and created two clay tablets in Omanut.) Rafe E. loves the Good Life Chug because “everyone gets super goofy and goes crazy – no one will judge you for going nuts!” Hadas G. and Michal G. love participating in this special chug for Shoafim. They say the chug is great fun, although there’s way too much disgusting blue drink – a hallmark of this special chug. The candy seder was much more to their liking: from green twizzlers for karpas to ripping a twizzler in half for yachatz, the seder was a big hit! Josh notes that in addition to the great fun, the Good Life Chug is a positive Ramah tradition that provides a special experience for the oldest hanichim on Tzad Aleph (A-side).
Each Friday night, an edah is selected to present a song and dance before Kabbalat Shabbat begins and to provide the leaders for the Kabbalat Shabbat and Maariv tefilot. This week, it was Ilanot’s turn. Just before the dance was presented, the hanichim, who are rising 4th and 5th graders, were enthusiastic about taking part in these special performances, and especially the dance. Elle T., a first-time camper, said it was “really fun to show dances to the whole camp – at Yom Sport and at Kabbalat Shabbat.” Sarah W. expected the performance to be “a little scary but also fun – I love rikud (dance) because you get to move around and express yourself.” Emily D. was excited to “show the whole camp that Ilanot is awesome – the best edah!” Gabi S. and Joe W. led tefilot (Kabbalat Shabbat and Maariv, respectively) along with two madrichot (counselors). Afterwards, both were proud of themselves. Joe thought it was “awesome” and was not nervous at all. Gabi, who led a service for the first time, was just a “tiny bit nervous,” but thought it was “really, really fun and exciting.” The Ilanot “Kab Shab” was spectacular! With the enthusiastic participation of everyone in the edah and the strong leadership of Gabi and Joe, Ilanot brought in Shabbat with tremendous style and passion.