Why I love Camp Ramah

Dear Machon Parents, 

Several days ago at lunch, I was enjoying my meal of vegetarian chili when I heard a roar from the back of the Chadar Ochel (dining hall).  I looked up and to my dismay saw a large group of Machon boys huddled around bunk 52's table.  Thinking that this situation was almost certainly problematic, perhaps a food eating contest, I turned to my coworkers and said, "Alright, I got this one."  I navigated my way through the tightly packed group of boys until finally I made it to the center of the circle and the object of their infatuation.  

Matthew Stein, a Machon camper in bunk 52, had carefully crafted an origami crane out of a soft tortilla.  The group of astonished boys were begging Matthew to reveal the secret of his creation.  They looked at each other, commenting on how incredible this sight was and how talented and creative Matthew is.  Eager to share this with others, the Machon boys encouraged Matthew to parade his tortilla crane around the chadar ochel, showing it off to everyone around.  I watched a line of 35 boys and a trail of applause enter the kitchen as Matthew presented his creation to the head chef.

The immense beauty and power of this moment lies in the fact that it occurred only two weeks into Matthew's very first summer at Camp Ramah.  As always, the transition as a new camper, especially in the older edot, can be difficult; however, moments like this speak to the tremendous character of the campers.  Camp Ramah is a place where everyone is welcomed, and each camper is appreciated for his or her unique talents.  Everyone deserves their fifteen minutes of fame; Matthew's was more than that.  It was a building block in the growth of a tighter, caring community.  
Kol Tuv,
Ben Panitz

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