We at Etgar B’Ramah [Ramah Outdoor Adventure] pride ourselves on our outdoor program. Yes, it’s a part of our name, but it’s also a huge portion of our camp programming– in that our chalutzim spend half of their time almost out of camp on trips. Every other week the camp gradually empties out as everyone leaves for masa’ot [backcountry excursions], only to return on Friday, when we come back together as a camp. Masa’ot consist of about 7-12 chalutzim [campers] and 2-3 tzevet [staff] for anywhere from 1-5 nights in the backcountry.
When our chalutzim sit down at the beginning of the session to choose their masa’ot, they chose between options including backpacking, a hybrid mountain biking and whitewater rafting trip, rock climbing, and working on a trail crew. The trips fill up fast, and our kids love to talk about what trip they want to do. This summer we have been able to expand the program to create more specialty masa’ot, and they have been a wild success!
This summer one of our most popular masa’ot has been archery masa, lead by our head archery instructor Shira. For this masa, chalutzim pack takedown bows and carry their own arrows in quivers made by first session chalutzim. Second session made their own arm guards for the trip. They carry all this on top of the regular masa gear. On this masa, they spend their days at a large archery course with a variety of targets.
On top of being a typical backcountry masa, art masa does much of the same style of trip just with an added art component. Our omanut [art] staff lead the trip, and on it they work with chalutzim in different styles of seeing. The staff also teach about various media- and the group carries a variety of art supplies. Each day has different themes and styles they discuss, and the group learns about nature artists such as Andy Goldsworthy.
This masa brought our chalutzim to learn about permaculture and sustainable agriculture on a local ranch. The chalutzim will be working with the ranch to work on their farm and help complete several of their projects.
We have an incredibly talented tzevet susim [horse staff] from all walks of life at Ramah. They lead a masa for Ilanot, (3rd and 4th graders) Amitzim (Special Needs edah) and Metaylim (5th and 6th graders) from our property to various nearby camping sites. During first session, the Rosh Ilanot, Gabi, made it a themed quest to rescue one of their tzevet from an imaginary dragon.
As an outdoor adventure camp we cater to a lot of specific interests of our chalutzim. While traditional backcountry trips are exciting for many of our chalutzim, these speciality trips help create a niche for those looking to do something extra special. In this way, we continue to meet the diverse needs of our chalutzim and continually change up and strengthen our tripping program.