I cannot believe it has been a week since I wrote the last blog post.  What a week it has been.  Last Monday morning all of our chalutzim left for their five day excursions.  We sent out five separate groups on excursions.  Two groups went hiking in the nearby Lost Creek Wilderness, where they experienced incredible mountain vistas and beautiful alpine meadows.  One group headed to the Arkansas River for 2½ days of whitewater rafting before biking over 60 miles back to camp over dirt roads and mountain passes (over the course of the next 2 1/2 days).  One group spent the week on our ranch riding horses and camping on the border of the national forest.  And one group spent five days climbing the cliffs off of the Wigwam trail.  What a sight it was to see all five groups arrive safely back in camp around lunch time on Friday.  One only needed to listen to the squeals of delight and hugs between campers to see that a fun time was had by all.  Our madrichim, also enjoyed themselves, having completed the first of three extended excursion periods planned for this summer.

These excursions were a chance for all the campers to push themselves to go a little above and beyond their comfort zones.  One chalutz managed to bike most of the 60 miles despite only a few days earlier not being able to complete one loop around the road at our camp.  A chalutza managed to climb 2,500 feet in two miles while encouraging her friend to keep up with her and not give up despite the elevation gain.  Another chalutz set up a top rope for his friends, under the careful eye of our expert rock climbing instructors, and rappelled down the side of the cliff.  At night, chalutzim set up their camp sites, cooked dinner, hung the food from bear lines and relaxed around the fires.  From what I heard, most evenings turned into impromptu song sessions!  Sarah, our assistant director and Peter & Nate, our trip leaders extraordinaire, are now planning for our next excursion that leaves a week from tomorrow.

Shabbat was again a magical time at Ramah Outdoor Adventure.  We welcomed Shabbat in the open fields before beginning the first of three extended song sessions.  Despite the heavy rain on Shabbat afternoon we still managed to play ultimate Frisbee, did yoga with our visiting Yoga instructor, Chavi, and hung out around the chava (ranch).  After Havdallah, Matt, one of our madrichim, lead everyone on a silent walk to the fire-circle outside the director’s house.  There, our madrichim performed a skit based on the tensions that existed between the Macabbis and the Hellenists in Temple time.  The skit ended with the announcement that Sunday would be our first YOM SPORT!  The camp has been divided into two teams (the Hellenists and the Macabees) and all day the chalutzim are engaging in various sport activities.  The day went on without a hitch.  As you will see from the pictures on ultracamp, it was a day filled with spirit, good sportsmanship and lots of laughter.  Even the staff got into the game including our concluding camp wide gagagame!

Please check Ultracamp for pictures from this weekend.  We are in the process of collecting and uploading the pictures from the various excursions. Starting on Monday morning, we have a “normal” week scheduled at camp.  Sadly, we are saying goodbye to four campers on Wednesday but happily we are welcoming twelve new ones who are joining us for Session IB!

Now for a few points of business:

#1 If you would like to view our photos from this summer and do not already have an UltraCamp account, you may go to our website, click on Ultracamp login and then click on photo gallery.  The public password is roaphotos

#2 During the next five years, our camp will be involved in a study called “The Impact of Camp on Jewish Campers.” This study is supported by the Jim Joseph Foundation and conducted by BTW informing change(BTW), a research and evaluation firm based in Berkeley, CA. As part of this study, BTW will survey campers at the beginning of each camp season and in May following camp. Here is a link with more information about the study.   Please review it to ensure that you are comfortable having your child participate in the study. If you have any questions or concerns, or if you choose to withdraw your child from the study, please contact Ilana Horwitz at BTW using the contact information the letter.

As always, please be in touch if you have questions.  Email is usually the best, as we are not always in the office to answer your calls.  But we will return messages when we step inside.