Ramah Outdoor Adventure is launching a new initiative focusing mainly on wilderness adventure activities to empower rising 11th and 12th graders to become inspiring Jewish outdoor leaders.

New Jewish Teen Outdoor Leadership Program

Rock Climbing at Ramah Outdoor Adventure

Ramah Outdoor Adventure, the only Kosher outdoor adventure camp in North America with an intensive Jewish educational program is launching a new initiative: The Jewish Outdoor Leadership Institute, or JOLI for short. Focusing mainly on wilderness adventure activities, JOLI will be a new training center to empower rising 11th and 12th graders to become inspiring Jewish outdoor leaders. JOLI participants will split their time between the Ramah in the Rockies base camp and on hiking trips to Western national forests and national parks.

JOLI is an outgrowth of Ramah Outdoor Adventure, the newest camp in the Ramah camping system. Opened in 2010, Ramah Outdoor Adventure has created a community for campers to benefit from intense outdoor adventure activities and meaningful environmental educational while living in an inspirational Jewish community.

In the long term, if Jewish outdoor adventure camps like ours are to be successful, we need to educate our future leaders in how to combine outdoor living with Jewish education” says Rabbi Eliav Bock, camp director. “JOLI emerged from our desire to train the next generation of outdoor leaders who will go out to camps throughout North America and make a meaningful impact in summer camp programs.”

While at the Ramah base camp, JOLI participants will apprentice alongside one of the outdoor specialists in an area of their choosing and participate in leadership training sessions. After a few days at base camp, the JOLI participants will leave the Ramah ranch for a thirteen day wilderness excursion. This excursion will be lead by two highly trained wilderness guides who will challenge the participants to take on new leadership roles and stretch themselves to go beyond their comfort zones to reach new personal potentials. Participants will return to base camp ready to take on new leadership opportunities in the Ramah community and to seek out new challenges throughout their lives.

Ramah Outdoor Adventure is located at the Ramah in the Rockies ranch, a 360-acre site surrounded by the 1.2 million acre Pike and San Isabel National Forests, 90 minutes from Denver.

Like everyone at Ramah Outdoor Adventure “JOLI participants will face challenges,” Rabbi Bock said. “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 canters up a mountain.”

As a JOLI participant, you will 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 and back to your family and friends.”

Ramah Outdoor Adventure is the eighth overnight camp within the Ramah network, which also includes three day camps and programs in Israel. Ramah is the camping arm of the Conservative Movement, operating under the educational and religious guidance of the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS). Ramah Outdoor Adventure opened in 2010 with 120 campers hailing from 17 states, Canada and Israel. Counselors and specialists came from across the country to help found a new Jewish summer camp. In 2011, Ramah Outdoor Adventure plans to enroll over 200 campers in its program

Finding inspiration in the outdoors

“I am so happy that above all else, we now have more Ramah,” said Rabbi Mitch Cohen, Director of the National Ramah Commission. “As our eighth overnight camp, Ramah Outdoor Adventure is already meeting our lofty expectations for a Ramah experience, and more families and future leaders will benefit for years to come from JOLI.”

Ramah Outdoor Adventure receives generous funding from the Foundation for Jewish Camp and the Jim Joseph Foundation. For more information please contact Rabbi Eliav Bock, camp director at info@ramahoutdoors.org. Photos available.

About Eliav Bock

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