The Camp Program
INCLUSION AT CAMP
Camp Ramah New England is committed to the value of inclusion, founded in the Jewish ideal that teaches that we were all created B’tzelem Elohim, in God’s image. At Ramah, we work hard to ensure that each member of our community is respected, supported, valued, and empowered to participate in all aspects of camp life. All hanichim (campers) and tzevet (staff members) at Ramah learn the importance of inclusion and are asked to uphold these values by respecting and valuing all members of our community, regardless of ability or disability.
We are supportive of our hanichim, no matter their sexual orientation or preference. Our intention is to make sure that everybody feels comfortable within the camp community including those who identify as LGBTQIA+. Camp can sometimes assume hetero- and gender-normative behavior and identity which may make some hanichim and tzevet uncomfortable. To minimize this as much as possible, we emphasize sensitivity to the diversity of our community in everything that we do.
At Ramah, we work together to create an inclusive, accessible community for all.
BEHAVIOR IN THE TZRIF (BUNK)
The tzrif (bunk) is a place where all of its members must feel safe and comfortable. Hanichim must act in a friendly and respectful manner at all times with their friends and bunk-mates, as well as with their madrichim (counselors).
Hanichim should be mindful of each other’s privacy and behave with modesty and respect. Hanichim are not allowed to lie or sleep in each other’s beds or shower together in the same stall. Hanichim are not allowed to disrupt someone who is sleeping or to invade someone’s privacy in the bathroom or shower.
No photographs are permitted to be taken inside a tzrif.
Every hanich with a birthday during the camp season will receive a cake for a tzrif party. Hanich birthdays are in our database and this is taken care of automatically. Parents are encouraged to contact their child’s Yoetzet (Parent Liaison) to schedule a phone call with their child on their birthday.
Shabbat at Ramah has a magical intensity that can only come from an entire community engaged in the beauty of the day. When we ask campers why they keep coming back to camp, Shabbat is always one of the first things they mention. The ruach (spirit) of Shabbat is one of the most indelible memories of the Ramah experience.
We are a Shomer Shabbat camp. In their personal space, on their own bed, a hanich may chose to use a flashlight or headphones.
In addition to Shabbat meals, services, and singing, sports and swimming are permitted.
Turning on or off lights, listening to MP3 players, writing, drawing, painting, building, playing musical instruments are are prohibited on Shabbat.
T’FILLOT (PRAYER SERVICES)
Every morning, every edah (division/age group) participates in morning t’fillot (prayer services). Our t’fillot are molded to fit each age group and are focused on making prayer relevant and meaningful for our hanichim. With the ongoing help of madrichim and other tzevet, hanichim will leave Ramah with greater abilities for synagogue participation and leadership.
All t’fillot are egalitarian.
At Camp Ramah New England, everyone is treated equally in all Jewish ritual matters. Women are counted for a minyan and are eligible to read Torah and Haftarah, and to lead all religious services and rituals. Women are encouraged to bring tallit and tefillin to camp.
Male identifying hanichim are obligated to wear a kippah or head-covering during meals, study and prayer. Female identifying campers may elect to cover their heads during those times, but they are not obligated to do so. During t’fillot on Shabbat, we require a kippah rather than a hat. Out of respect, when wearing tefillin, one must always wear a kippah.
Male identifying campers over the age of Bar Mitzvah must wear a tallit and tefillin during t’fillot on weekday and Sunday mornings, and a tallit on Shabbat morning. Female identifying campers over the age of Bat Mitzvah are encouraged to do so.
Anyone, of any gender, who is leading t’fillot or participating in the Torah Service, must wear a tallit and a kippah or head-covering, which camp will provide.
On Friday afternoons, the entire camp community gathers together to welcome Shabbat through song and prayer as we daven Kabbalat Shabbat together. This is a particularly special experience, as it is one of the few times during the week that the entire camp is gathered together. (For kayitz 2021, we are hopeful we will be able to gather together as a camp for Kabbalat Shabbat while still observing all safety protocols, but this will depend on the COVID situation in camp.)
At Camp Ramah, we take seriously our commitment to ivrit (Hebrew). We help our hanichim to expand their ivrit abilities in many different ways, including our formal curriculum and also through singing and dancing to Israeli music, and taking extra care that certain words and phrases only be said in ivrit. We make announcements in the Chadar Ochel (Dining Hall) and during t’fillot exclusively in ivrit.
Meah Milim: We’ve put together a list of the 100 most common milim (words) that we strive to use only in ivrit at camp. Throughout the summer, our hanichim and madrichim encourage one another to use the milim on this list exclusively in ivrit. And the Meah Milim initiative doesn’t stop with specific words — we use this program as a catalyst for including more ivrit in our everyday lives at camp.
Click here to read about our Meah Milim (100 Words) program and to see the complete list of milim (words).
We do not expect anyone to come to camp with these meah milim already learned or memorized. We do not want anyone to feel pressured to “study” before coming to camp! We will all be learning and working on these meah milim together at camp.
And who knows, we might just have some special swag to give to tzevet and hanichim who make great use of these meah milim this kayitz at camp!
Hanichim have a full day of activities and programs, and a good night’s sleep is essential for their enjoying camp. Therefore, it is imperative that your child understands that when lights are out at night, it is time to go to sleep and they are to remain in their tzrif. Night excursions and raids are not allowed at Camp Ramah. This policy is very strictly enforced — both for the safety of your children and the tzevet (staff-members). Hanichim who are not able to abide by this rule will not be allowed to remain in camp.
LIVING IN NATURE
Insects and bugs — There are mosquitoes and ticks in our environment. Please send plenty of bug spray with your child. Our madrichim will remind them to apply the repellent daily. Additionally, our madrichim will remind the hanichim to self-check for ticks when they shower. Please teach your children how to do a tick self-check and encourage them to do so daily. Each tzrif has a card hanging in the bathroom reminding campers how to do the checks.
Sun — Please send your children with hats and sunscreen to prevent sunburns. Our madrichim will remind the hanichim to put on sunscreen daily and to reapply as necessary.
Tornadoes — In case of a tornado warning, we have a detailed procedure to shelter everyone in camp in one of our basements. We drill this procedure during staff week.
ANIMALS AT CAMP
No campers may bring an animal to camp.
RULES FOR CAMPERS TRAVELING ON A BUS OR VAN
- Campers should be encouraged to utilize the bathroom prior to departing.
- Please obey your “Bus Captain” and all Ramah staff-members at all times.
- Passengers must remain seated at all times with hands and arms inside the vehicle. (This requirement to remain seated at all times may be modified, as appropriate, when traveling aboard motor coaches with toilets on board.)
- All personnel in vehicles must buckle up before the vehicle can leave camp, and remain belted until exiting the vehicle after it parked. If applicable, persons in wheelchairs are seat-belted into wheelchairs that are in locked positions and secured to vehicles.
- Campers should be careful not to be disruptive during the bus ride (no yelling, running around on the bus, etc.). Videos and other entertainment must be quiet enough not to distract the driver.
- Do not disembark from the vehicle without the express permission of your Bus Captain.
- Do not leave any garbage on the bus
We do not accept tipping for our staff. Tzevet at Camp Ramah are engaged in an important educational enterprise. They are dedicated to this task. If you appreciate the service your child receives at Camp Ramah, we encourage you to make a contribution to the Camp Ramah New England Scholarship Fund or Tikvah Fund in honor of a staff member. All staff-members are notified of such contributions.
VISITING POLICY AND VISITING DAY & INTERSESSION
Due to Coronavirus there will be no visiting day or visitors this summer. No campers may leave camp during intersession.