As we approach the end of 2019, we, the Ramah in the Rockies community, have a lot to be thankful for. With this in mind, we wanted to share a reflection from this past summer written by JOLI chalutza (camper), Cameron Fields, who took the time to not only share her experiences at camp, but also offer her gratitude.  

Cameron Fields, JOLI Session 1, Kayitz 2019

“This past summer at Ramah in the Rockies was undeniably one of the best summers of my life. That is a major statement to say, but I do not say this loosely. This summer has definitely changed me as a person, friend, and as a leader in both my everyday life, and in the Jewish community. When I boarded the plane the morning of camp, a bunch of emotions surrounded me. Mostly, I was excited for this summer – the summer I had been dreaming about all year long. There was a little bit of fear inside of me, but once our van pulled through the metal gates of camp, all of that changed. 

Most of JOLI from Session 1, Kayitz 2019

From the second I was in the JOLI huddle with the rest of the ‘JOLIers,’ everything just felt right. The group felt so close already, and with the first couple of days that feeling proved to be true. From being Wilderness First Aid certified, to having our first Shabbat together, we all became so close within four days that when it was time split into two groups to depart on masa (backcountry excursions), I was a bit reluctant to do so. But, masa changed me, and I will be forever impacted from just a five day, twenty-eight-mile trip. So many life-changing events occurred within those twenty-eight miles.

Through masa we faced many challenges, but as a team of seven leaders we overcame them. From having to hike off-trail down a mountain with the sun setting behind us, to crossing ten rivers within a mile, or hiking up what seemed like a never-ending hill, my group and I completed our masa with our heads held high, because we did it! This was, without a doubt, the hardest masa I have ever been on, but also the best, and the kesharim (connections) I made with my group will last a lifetime!

JOLI Captains of k’vutzah Kachol (Blue team), Cameron & Stevie, working together during our Yom Sport Relay Event

As amazing as these events were, my time at camp just continued to get better. A highlight of JOLI for me was Yom Sport. I was the captain of Kachol, the blue team, (go Mayim!) and it was one of the best experiences I had the whole summer! I was able to lead my fellow chalutzim in one of their favorite days of the summer and really make it something special for them. I think Yom Sport taught me what being a Jewish outdoor leader is all about. I was able to lead campers, help them when they needed an extra hand, learn new things about myself and what a leader should be, all while having fun with my fellow JOLIers. 

Cameron helping out during her time as a CIT this past kayitz

As my summer at Ramah in the Rockies came to a close, it felt unreal to be leaving camp. As I hugged my ‘Jamily’ at havdallah, I sobbed like I never had before. I was extremely sad that I had to leave them in two days, and I was also really upset to have to leave this kehillah kedosha (holy community) knowing I wouldn’t return as a chalutzah. I did, however,  know that I would be back as a madricha (counselor)!  

This summer taught me so many new things, whether that was through Wilderness First Aid, or on masa, while I was captain on Yom Sport, while I was a counselor-in-training for chalutzim in Ilanot (3rd and 4th graders) and Ta’am Ramah (our ‘Taste of Ramah’ program for 2nd to 4th graders), or just hanging around base camp. This summer has impacted me for the better, and definitely changed my life forever. So thank you Ramah in the Rockies for making me who I am today! Thank you for teaching me new things, and thank you for giving me the best summer of my life!” 

Cameron Fields
11th Grade
Ocean Township, NJ

We thank all of our camp families for their support, all of our tzevet (staff) for their hard work and dedication, and, of course, all of our chalutzim for spending each summer opening themselves up to all of the experiences that Ramah in the Rockies has to offer. 

Happy Thanksgiving, 

From the entire Ramah in the Rockies team