Ramah Outdoor Adventure, a new overnight summer camp that offers an extraordinary Rocky Mountain wilderness experience that builds Jewish identity, opened registration for the inaugural 2010 summer session.
Ramah Outdoor Adventure is part of the Ramah Network, the camping arm of Conservative Judaism. Ramah Outdoor Adventure will be running seven weeks of program for entering 6th-10th graders in 2010. Camp opens on June 16th with one, two and four week sessions.
Referred to as “Ramah Outdoors” this one-of-a-kind adventure camp will run programming both at the base camp of Ramah in the Rockies as well as in the surrounding national forests & national parks. The Ramah in the Rockies base camp is a 360 acre ranch in the heart of the 1.2 million acre Pike National Forest. Activities at base camp include horseback riding, mountain biking, wilderness survival, orienteering, wilderness arts and crafts, bouldering and alpine field sports. Campers spend their day engaged with the natural world without many of the technological amenities that they are used to in their regular lives. From waking up with the sun to cooking many of their own meals over camp stoves to learning how to start a fire with a bow drill, campers at Ramah Outdoors will gain valuable wilderness skills that will enable them to feel more comfortable engaging in the natural world and have a greater sensitivity to the natural environment around them. They will return to their technology-filled lives with a greater appreciation for what is a necessity in the world and what is a luxury. Learning to appreciate what one has is one of the core values that campers will gain from spending time at Ramah Outdoors. (more info below photo)
“Each day our campers will face challenges,” said Rabbi Eliav Bock, Director of Ramah Outdoor Adventure. “The challenge might be how to wake up when it is still cold outside, or how to climb to the top of a cliff attached to a rope and harness or how to stay on a horse as it cantors up a mountain. At Ramah Outdoors we see these challenges as a metaphor for life in general: If you can push yourself to go just a little beyond when you are riding a horse, climbing a cliff or getting out of your tent in the morning, you can go above and beyond when you go back to school, your family and your friends.”
A unique aspect of Ramah Outdoors is the extended excursions into the surrounding wilderness areas. Every other week, campers leave the comfort of their tents for several days and truly experience the treasures of nature. Each night, staff and campers pitch their own tents, cook their own meals and hang out together around a campfire. This is team and friendship building at its best. The memories and experiences each camper packs and brings home will last a lifetime.
At its core, Ramah Outdoor is a camping experience that will enrich the lives of Jewish youth and instill a deep sense of joy and comfort in Jewish learning. A highlight of their experience is the magic of Shabbat. Every Shabbat is spent at base camp as part of the larger camp community. Shabbat is a time for campers to reflect on the challenges and accomplishments of their week , pray together as one community and have time to relax and prepare for the coming adventures that await them at camp and beyond.
“Campers have told me of experiencing God for the first time during the quiet and peacefulness of davening alone in the woods during Shabbat,” Rabbi Bock said. “The spiritual nourishment and renewed commitment to Judaism are key ingredients that go into molding passionate and sensitive young Jewish adults. Imagine the power one month in this exceptional place will have on these kids.”
Although Ramah Outdoors opens for campers in 2010, the staff began training for the opening season in 2009 when 17 future staff members came to the Ramah ranch for 10 days of wilderness first aid training, leadership development and community building.
Families can visit Ramah Outdoor’s new website, www.ramahoutdoors.org, to learn more about the camp and to register for the summer 2010 session or call the camp office 303-261-8214.
Numerous incentive programs are available for first time campers at Ramah Outdoors through a cooperative relationship with The Foundation for Jewish Camp and local Federations. Campers living in the Western states are eligible for up to $1,800 in tuition incentive through the JWEST program. In addition, need-based financial aid is available. Find out more at www.onehappycamper.org or call the camp office for more information.
Ramah Outdoor Adventure is run under the auspices of the National Ramah Commission and is funded by the Jim Joseph Foundation, in partnership with the Foundation for Jewish Camp.