A Camp Built on Goodwill by Dan Buonaiuto, program director
I’ve been working at camps for a long time. At camp, everyone on staff is a role player; camps sometimes feel like giant machines where individual staff members are important cogs and gears powering an amazing summer experience. Camps can be exciting, hectic places and sometimes it is easy for us to get so engrossed in our own tasks and responsibilities that we are blind to the work that others are doing to make the camp machine run. Sometimes camp communities find themselves in struggling situations; where campers only care about being campers, counselors only care about being counselors and administrators only care about being administrators.
This picture of a camp is NOT Ramah Outdoor Adventure. We are one of the few camps where the camp director, in addition to all the responsibilities of running a camp, makes sure he takes time every day to teach an elective with campers and takes a few shifts a week washing dirty dishes in the kitchen. We are one of the only camps where the head chef comes out to get to know campers every day and is just as much a role model for some campers as their own bunk counselors.
I saw the goodwill and awareness of others that pervades our camp during the summer exemplified even before the camp season started — just this past Sunday at a volunteer work day up at our ranch. The day brought volunteers from across the spectrum of age and affiliation with camp. Many volunteers helped raise tents they will never sleep in, and worked in gardens from which they won’t ever taste the produce.
I found myself working in one of these garden beds with two seventh graders. While I am the one who is the camp professional, paid to make people comfortable at camp, these seventh graders spent their time in the garden asking me how my transition to living in Colorado was going, if I was excited or nervous for the summer, and assuring me the garden looked great and that the summer was going to be a great success.
As the summer approaches, I am very proud of this camp for its distinctive programming, fantastic location and exciting excursions, but I am most proud of our unique, sensitive community and I can’t wait to be a witness and participant this summer to the goodwill and magic that occurs within the community that is Ramah Outdoor Adventure.