Wow! This has been an exciting week! While opening day last week was one of our hottest of the summer, this week has been our wettest in years and on some of the days, the coolest in recent memory.
Throughout this week, all our chalutzim [campers] headed out for their masa’ot [excursions]. All are now back and are getting ready to celebrate this Shabbat.
We have used a lot of creativity in keeping our campers at base camp dry during the week, including setting up an indoor archery range! Our older chalutzim who spent most of the week in the backcountry, on masa, have had memorable experiences that including huddling together under shelters during torrential downpours. In the industry, we call all of these “character development experiences.”
The week began with JOLI leaving for a six day masa on Sunday and the rest of us participating in our famous and favorite camp-wide Yom Wild Wild West. We opened the day with everyone showing up in their best western wear to t’fillot. One of the options on Sunday was a workshop for anyone who wanted to learn more about t’fillin; males and females of all ages showed up to this workshop, and all who wanted to do so had a chance to wrap t’ffilin, some for the first time. Yom Wild Wild West also included some fun skits from our staff on the origin of our campsite and a camp-wide game of capture the flag. The rains moved in late in the day, so we held our barbecue indoors.
When 157 Chalutzim and 70 staff members leave on multiple masa’ot, throughout the week, there is no way to capture all the stories that transpired. So many will be told tonight at dinner and tomorrow during free time. Others will not come out until are chalutzim are home either next week or on August 19. But, here are a few highlights:
Ilanot, our 3rd and 4th grade group, were supposed to have a horseback riding masa. Because of the rain, we were not able to run this trip on either its scheduled day or our back up day. Instead, they had a special masa where they camped out at Prospector Pavillion on Tuesday, and last night they held an indoor fort building contest, played broomball, and spent the night in their blanket forts. They are especially excited for their upcoming “Space Masa” on Sunday night; the horseback riding masa, for those leaving on Monday, will be rescheduled for 2015.
Metayalim, the 5th and 6th grade edah [division], went rafting along the Arkansas River in Brown’s Canyon. This year the river has had incredible flows, and despite the clouds and rain, they all had an incredible time taking on one of the most popular rivers in the country. Today they visited a local farmers market where they had a morning-long scavenger hunt.
Sollelim, the 7th and 8th grade edah, chose between climbing, backpacking, rafting-biking, and archery masa. The latter, a new option we added last session and led by our own archery staff took our chalutzim through a 3D-target archerycourse at Cheyenne Mountain State Park. The Sollelim rafting-ofanayim [biking] trip had the distinction of being the first group to arrive at camp this morning, at 8:18 am. (Most of our groups typically arrive starting 11:00 am.) Despite the wet weather yesterday, they covered more ground than any other 7/8th grade ride has previously, and this morning spent the morning biking the single tracks on our ranch.
Bogrim, our 9th and 10th grade edah, tried some new routes at Rocky Mountain National Park where they too saw some incredible vistas and experienced some awesome rain. One group that was hiking near the Wyoming Border in State Forest State Parkended up spending the last two nights in a rustic cabinwith a woodburning stove because they had become so wet in their tents on the trail. The climbing masa that was climbing less than 15 miles from camp, rose each day before 5:00am to avoid the rains, made it to the top of Sheeprock, and even had a day of repelling in the rain on Wednesday. Atop Sheeprock the chalutzim reported that they felt that they were above the clouds!
JOLI (Jewish Outdoor Leadership Institute), the 11th and 12th grade program, went to the Indian Peaks Wilderness. While last session’s JOLI experienced trails still covered by heavy snows, this session’s JOLI encountered only a few snow packs. They climbed to over 13,000 ft where the air is thinner and the temperature cooler. Each participant also had the opportunity to do a solo hike a chance to walk a few hundred feet apart in total silence. Many reported this as the highlight of their week, a time when they could reflect and meditate while taking in the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains.
While we have not even reached the midpoint of second session, we have already opened registration for 2015. Ten campers have already registered in our first few hours of registration. If you would like to register your child for next year, please click here.
As a reminder, we post pictures and updates on Facebook most days that chalutzim are at the chava [ranch]. If you are not a fan of our Facebook page, please become one. Here is the link to our online photos that we update every two or three days.
We are currently experiencing some pretty major internet issues (<0.05 megabit uploads) We won’t be able to upload a pre Shabbat video or pictures this week, and some phone calls haven’t been returned due to our speeds. (Our phones are VOIP based.) Rural communities like ours are at the whim of a single internet provider in our area. The monopoly, CenturyLink, has yet to fix this problem after four days. Feel free to help us network within CenturyLink, as the official channels have not been successful.
Thank you for your understanding.
As always please be in touch with any questions or comments. You can always email me or our yoatzim [camper care team] at email@example.com.
Rabbi Eliav Bock, Director
Ramah Outdoor Adventure
E firstname.lastname@example.org | T (303) 261-8214 x104