The Jewish Outdoor Leadership Institute (JOLI)
|Session 1||June 18 – July 17||$4,800|
|Session 2||July 19 – August 15|
Please check our Dates and Rates for updated availability.
PLEASE NOTE: All applicants will be asked to write an essay and be interviewed by one of our staff, to ensure the program is the right fit for each applicant.
The Jewish Outdoor Leadership Institute (JOLI) at Ramah in the Rockies trains Jewish teens (entering 11th &12th graders) to become competent and confident outdoor leaders. JOLI participants spend about half of their time living alongside others on the Ramah in the Rockies ranch, and half of their time backpacking through the Rocky Mountains backcountry. Participants live in their own tent with a counselor but share facilities with chalutzim at Ramah in the Rockies.
What is the goal of JOLI?
JOLI is an intensive Jewish Leadership program. It is the culmination of the Ramah in the Rockies where participants learn both soft and hard skills about being passionate outdoor Jewish leaders. (Hard skills refer to skills needed to survive in the outdoors; soft skills refer to general leadership and communication skills learned in the outdoors but applicable to your lives back home). Participants have opportunities during their third and fourth weeks at base camp/chava/the ranch to practice as future madrichim (counselors) and mumchim (specialists). While first time participants are welcome (and about 20% of our participants are usually with us for the first time), the program is geared towards those who have come up through the Ramah in the Rockies system. And of course, even more so than any other program at Ramah, JOLI infuses Jewish texts, values and traditions seamlessly into ALL aspects of the program.
Is JOLI the same as third year Bogrim?
Absolutely not! JOLI have opportunities to be leaders much more so than the Bogrim chalutzim do. This is true on the masa’ot and also at the chava. Not only are the masa’ot more challenging, and take place in areas of Colorado where we do not usually send our younger chalutzim, but they are designed to teach you how to navigate and survive in the alpine wilderness. In fact, the second masa is entirely led by the JOLI participants, with the madrichim present only if real emergencies arise. At the chava, JOLI participants spend more time in advanced training from learning Wilderness First Aid to apprenticing in a specific program area to planning their own peulot to being CITs for the younger chalutzim.
What are some of the highlights of JOLI?
When speaking with JOLI graduates, they often say the whole month was a highlight! Drill down into this statement and a few consistent answers emerge: spending twelve hours alone in the woods on the daytime solo; planning and executing their own masa; being captains & judges for yom sport; working with the younger campers and knowing that you are having a profound effect on them; developing deep relationships with the other JOLimers; apprenticing in a specific program area and really experiencing what it is like to be a tzevet members.
What is the general JOLI Schedule?
- Week One – Focuses on Wilderness First Aid training and learning the basics of leadership and community building. Expectations around communication are established as the group spends time getting to know each other on a deep level. And of course, general outdoor skills, including gear maintenance, are reviewed along with a trial overnight.
- Week Two – Focuses on the six day masa. The goals of the masa are for chalutzim to understand what leadership means in the outdoors. Soft skills and hard skills are perfected. The masa will push participants to the limits of their comfort zones and teach participants how to make decisions even when they are overcome by fear. A day and a night solo are part of this experience – usually the most intense programs of the whole summer. Participants can articulate their own leadership qualities by the end of this week in the back-country.
- Week Three – Focuses on the chava experience. Participants can choose to spend the mornings apprenticing in a specific program area or working with the younger chalutzim as CITs. There is also time for daily JOLI Jewish learning. In the afternoon, JOLI participants have one perek where they can be regular participants in program areas, along-side their Bogrim friends. By the end of the week, planning for week four takes up most of the day(s) and participants have a chance to put all their newly acquired skills to the test.
- Week Four – During the final full week of the session, participants either spend five days on an adventure masa or remain at the chava as CITs for the younger chalutzim. Those who choose the adventure challenge take turns leading their peers from sun-up to sun down, with the madrichim coming along to provide simulations, guide some of the more tricky biking parts of the trips and to be available in case of real emergencies. Usually this week includes an alpine start to climbing one or two 14,000 foot mountains. Those who choose the CIT route are full-fledged members of the edah staff, and are expected to co-lead the three day back packing trips or overnights for the youngest chalutzim.
- Everyone returns to the chava for Shabbat and the final two days of the session!
There is so much more to say about JOLI, but these paragraphs should suffice for now. Please do not hesitate to be in touch with any of us on the year round team to discuss your options. And of course, if you want to be in touch directly with any JOLI participants from previous years, either Facebook them (if you know someone that has previously participated in the program) or let us know and we will give you their contact information. The one thing we will promise is that you will be hard pressed to find anyone who did JOLI who regrets that decision, or who would say anything less than “it was the most amazing experience of my life!” Our dates and rates are here. To register, click here.
To Apply to the JOLI Program
Please email Rabbi Eliav Bock, Camp Director, at email@example.com. All participants to Ramah in the Rockies must complete a short application and undergo an interview. For more information, you may also call (303) 261-8214 x104.
Upon completion of the CampMinder application, please also fill take time to write the JOLI application essay.