Thoughts on camp– a pioneer’s perspective

On Sunday night we had our annual gathering in Denver to celebrate the Ramah camp we are creating here in Colorado.  Thank you to the 250+ people who participated in the event.  Below, I will paste the words spoken by our own Emilie Helfand.  She won an essay context to fly to Denver and read her thoughts about camp at the dinner.  In addition to a few speeches, we aired a new video that is directed more towards the fundraising side of the project than the recruitment side.  Take a look at this link.  Much of it might look familiar.

By Emilie Helfand

The first masa of second session was coming up, and I was going on the Sangre de Cristo backpacking trip. I was super pumped to get on the trail because I knew that what ever happened would make for a great story. On the masa was Janine ,Nomi , Ethan ,Daniel and Josh F. I don’t think I could have asked for a more perfect group, we all just clicked. With Joel and Rachel leading our group, we set off.
On the first day we went straight into coming up with a name-“The Original Christians”. What could have been more perfect considering that the Sangres’ name means Christ’s blood and we were also the original group to go there. During that week I don’t think I’ve ever gotten this close to seven other people before. The beauty and uniqueness of Ramah Outdoor Adventure is that by the second shabbat you know and have connected with your ohel (bunk) and seven other people. You can’t get this at any other camp I feel, because here we stress community and family. The fact that everyone, even the rabbi, knows your name by the second week is truly an amazing feeling that is really rare.
Besides the tight community that is formed at camp I also learned so much about myself. On masa I pushed myself farther than I’ve ever thought I could. On the third day of the first masa we ended up saddling three mountains, each over 1300 feet. I learned that what Rabbi Eliav said was true, you will have your highs and your lows but that’s what makes the trip. Also I became very familiar with my nature side. I’m planing to start a survival club at my school next year to share what I learned from camp. I’ve connected with my Jewish side too. At temple during sukkoth I was able to share so much of what I learned at camp with my class, some things the teacher didn’t even know, like triangle sukkahs are so totally kosher.
Even though camp may be over for the year, the impact is forever, in my heart, mind, and spirit. I walk to a different tune when I get home from camp, because I know that no matter what, I’ll always have is my camp family supporting me. Even if they live on the other side of the world, I know they will be there for me and they know I will be there for them, no matter what, we are one Kehilah kedoshah.

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