By Tammy Dollin

Ramah in the Rockies Project Director

July 9, 2012

It’s hard to describe the exhilaration of climbing a 70 foot rock wall and rappelling safely back to the ground.  My climb up Prospector Mountain offered two ‘firsts’:  one was my experience, and the other was for Simon L.  (JOLI camper and 3rd year ROA veteran from TN), who learned on the job how to ‘pass belay’ – that is to take over the belay which controls the lead rope tethering me safely to the ground.  He took it over from the instructor, as a situation commanded the instructor’s attention.

I watched the other campers interact with the staff as they learned and practiced their rock climbing skills, encouraging each other and pushing each other to do a bit more than they did the day before.  Noah D. (from MA) made it all the way to the top today, after repeated previous attempts which led him higher each day.

Tammy and Simon

Tammy and Simon

After lunch, we had a fantastic Colorado thundershower (the first rain in a very long time).  When we all safely emerged from our shelter, campers and staffed rushed to play in the mud.  I was laughing, enjoying watching the campers get all muddy, and taking great pictures when suddenly the campers noticed that I was still clean – a fact they quickly remedied by giving me a full on group embrace.  Soon, I too, was a smiley, happy, muddy mess.  What great fun!

I worked, cleaned, showered and prepared for Shabbat – a highlight of the week here at Etgar B’Ramah, when we get to stop doing and start being.  We gathered in the ‘Ohel Moed’ (large tent) for Kabbalat Shabbat. We sang and danced in the sun and then crowded together in the tent as another, stronger storm descended quickly upon us. Our energy and our music drowned out the sound of the thunder and the rain as we raised our voices together to honor Shabbat.  What a glorious few days I got to spend at Etgar B’Ramah!