Shabbat Shalom Ramah Family and Friends!
It seems like just yesterday, our chalutzim were arriving at the ranch and now we are about to start the last Shabbat of the 2015 camp season. Our chalutzim are back from their masa’ot [backcountry excursions], and changing into their Shabbat whites. After the frenzied morning and afternoon of the trips returning followed by crazy lightning storms, we are looking forward to a calm Shabbat.
We want to share a few highlights from this past week’s happenings at camp, and get you ready to welcome your chalutzim [campers] home.
Sunday we had an awesome Yom Sport competition, where kids spent the day competing in hockey, gaga, ultimate soccer (a game of our own invention), basketball, cheering/cheer writing, and plaque making. The day was full of ruach [spirit] from all, and we want to especially acknowledge the hard work of the JOLI captains and judges who ran the day, and made everything happen. One of the most exciting events of the day is the JOLI fire burn competition, where they have to build a fire tall enough to burn a rope strung between two chairs. This session, JOLI, completed it in the fastest time in ROA history! As soon as one team succeeded, they joined the other teams’ chalutzim in cheering on their fellow JOLI captains. This is the one day each summer that we engage in friendly competition, and it was amazing to see each team act with sportsmanship and menschlichkeit.
Ilanot spent a day with Metaylim at Wellington Lake, and had a day of fun in the sun until the weather turned and the thunder rolled in. They returned to camp, happy and dry. Ilanot also went on a horse masa around our ranch before heading out the back gate to our neighbors’ buffalo ranch where they spent the evening in the barn’s hayloft.
Metaylim was divided into three different groups for their masa’ot: Payne Creek, Rolling Creek, and Wigwam. They spent two nights in the backcountry learning basic masa skills. For many of our Metaylim campers, this was their first extended backpacking trip. It is always a pleasure to see their smiling faces return with an added sense of accomplishment, knowing that they had just spent three days in the back-country.
Sollelim spent the week backpacking, biking, climbing and performing service projects. Al, a Sollelim madrich, held a discussion on trail crew masa about theology and how people connect via traditional sources or nature. Some kids spoke about their connection via nature when spending time alone, others feel connected when they are in a community praying all together. One chalutz shared a story about how they do not connect to traditional views of God, though when they are scared, they find themselves saying the Shma prayer.
Bogrim headed out on horseback riding, rock climbing and biking masa’ot. A highlight from the biking masa was a pizza-making and Jewish identity activity. The talk was about how each person defines Jewish identity and how they find their connections to community, tradition, history, and God. Bogrim backpacking masa summitted a 14’er (mountain peak over 14,000ft) during their trek through the Sangre de Christo Wilderness.
JOLI participants had a choice of either heading out for a five day adventure masa, where they did some mountain biking, rock climbing and also climbed a 14’er, OR remain back at camp as CIT for Metaylim and help lead a masa for the younger campers. Both groups had incredible weeks.
As I complete this weekly email, our last masa group just rolled in from State Forest State Park. Sadly, it also has begun to rain very heavily, which means that our weekly rikud [dancing] will likely be cancelled, and we will daven under our Ohel Moed [tent], instead of our open-air Pardes T’fillah. Nonetheless we are sure that Shabbat will be as spirited as usual, especially given that this is the very last one of the 2015 camping season for everyone in our Kehillah Kedosha [holy community].
In summary, it has been an incredible week thus far, and we are looking forward to a pleasant and relaxing Shabbat here with our adult campers who have joined us. We will be sad to say goodbye to everyone on Tuesday, and can’t wait for them to return next kayitz. A reminder that registration for next summer has already opened, and you can register here.
Rabbi Eliav Bock and the Ramah in the Rockies Team