April 21, 2022
20 Nisan 5782
With Pesach upon us, memories flood into our minds of two years ago when we were hunkering down preparing to celebrate our first-ever Zoom seder. A few weeks later, we canceled our 2020 summer season and began planning for a summer of virtual camp.
This time last year, we were in the midst of making significant investments in our camp program to enable us to reopen in 2021 as a closed community with extremely strict protocols to keep COVID out and contain any possible COVID spread. The past two years, our community has come together to support Ramah in the Rockies and enable us to look towards our 2022 season where we will serve more campers and staff than ever before!
As we prepare to open camp in a few short weeks, we want to update you on our COVID protocols for this summer. We have created these in consultation with the National Ramah Medical Committee, our own COVID committee, and in accordance with guidance and rules from the CDC and the Jefferson County Health Department. We expect Jefferson County to release further camp updates in the coming weeks that might alter our approach at camp.
Our Core Assumptions
Our COVID strategy is based on the following assumptions and may evolve in the coming weeks, and change if new strains appear or scientific data changes.
- COVID-19 vaccines remain highly effective against severe infection of the present dominant variant, B.A.2.
- COVID is still present in many of the home communities in which our campers live.
- 100% of our population is vaccinated against COVID according to the latest CDC guidelines. 99% of our population have no underlying health issues that make them more susceptible to severe disease.
- We can take measures for risk mitigation, but do not want to revert to our extreme protocols of 2021 that required weekly screening, strict podding and masking.
Before camp, to reduce the risk of COVID entering our camp:
- All staff, campers and guests above the age of 12 are required to have had a full series of the COVID vaccine (two mRNA COVID vaccine doses AND a booster if the second dose was administered six months or more prior to camp OR at least one J&J vaccine plus at least one booster.) Children under the age of 12 are required to have received their full COVID vaccine sequence. This includes campers who have had COVID-19 illness at any time. **There are no exceptions to the rule above.**
- Vaccine cards must be uploaded to CampMinder at least two weeks before arriving at camp.
- All staff, campers and guests must have a negative PCR test no more than 72 hours before arriving at camp; home-based antigen tests will not suffice.
- Results of PCR tests must be uploaded to COVIDRAMAH.com.
- Anyone with a positive PCR result will not be allowed to come to camp, unless they can prove that they had COVID at least 6 days prior, and no more than 90 days before. If you are not sure whether or not you have had COVID, we HIGHLY encourage you to get a PCR test ten days before arriving at camp to check whether you have had COVID. If negative, you STILL need a test no more than 72 hours before coming to camp. If it is positive, and you are then asymptomatic, you may still come on the day you were scheduled to arrive. (See below for the window of taking the PCR test.)
- Anyone traveling to camp on an airplane must wear a well-fitting mask in the airport and on the plane throughout their travels, regardless of any change in the Federal mask mandate. Failure to comply might result in being prevented from boarding camp buses/vans.
To reduce the risk of COVID spread during camp:
- Most camp buildings and tents remain well ventilated. Fans will be kept on low in the dining hall during all meals to increase airflow, with windows and garage doors also kept open whenever possible.
- When leaving camp, campers and staff must wear a mask anytime they enter a building/store.
- Staff will not be allowed to partake in any offsite indoor dining during their employment at camp.
- Mask wearing at camp, for members of our community, is optional in most places at camp. Exceptions are in the kitchen, where everyone must wear a mask when preparing food, and in the infirmary. Vendors/contractors must wear a mask when working indoors.
- With a fully vaccinated community, we plan to treat COVID and COVID-like symptoms the way we do any other respiratory virus: Individuals with fevers or vomiting, or feeling too unwell to participate in camp activities will be required to quarantine in the infirmary until they are afebrile, not vomiting or feeling significantly improved for at least 24 hours. Limited testing will only occur if the clinical management of their symptoms will change based on the results of the test.
Our COVID-19 protocols are always subject to change as we continue to monitor COVID-19 rates and efficacy of vaccines against new strains. We certainly hope to run a relatively normal camp program this summer, and have masking remain optional for all in our community. We will, however, continue to adjust our policies as needed to best meet the safety needs of our community.
As we enter the final days of this Passover holiday, let us remember just how far we have come over the past two years. Let’s recall the narrow places in which we have existed for so many of the past 24 months. And let’s think about the wide expanse of the Rocky Mountains, and the towering cliffs of Ramah Valley, where we will soon gather over 550 campers and staff this summer.
Thank you for continuing to believe in our mission and for entrusting us with your children this summer.
Dr. Alison Levine
Head of Ramah in the Rockies Medical Committee
Rabbi Eliav Bock
|Arrival Date||Recommended PCR test (to ensure that you have not had COVID. If positive, and asymptomatic, you can skip the next test AND you can still come to camp).||Required PCR test date (if positive, you CAN NOT come to camp for an additional 6 days, unless you have PCR confirmed proof of COVID in prior 90 days).||Notes|
|May 25||May 15-19||May 22, 23, or 24||Early Staff & WFR|
|June 1||May 22-26||May 28 or 29||Senior Staff|
|June 7||May 28-31||May 3, 4, 5, or 6||Staff Week|
|June 12||June 1-6||June 9, 10, or 11||Late Arriving Staff|
|June 15||June 2-6||June 12, 13, or 14||Session IAB & IA|
|June 29||June 19-23||June 26, 27, or 28||Session IB|
|July 1||June 22-26||June 28, 29, or 30||Ta’am I|
|July 6||June 26-29||July 3, 4, or 5||JOLI|
|July 18||July 8-12||July 15, 16, or 17||Session IIAB & IIA|
|July 22||July 12-15||July 19, 20, or 21||Ta’am II|
National Ramah Commission Update
Regulators will allow us to operate
As a licensed child-care facility in the state of Colorado and accredited by the American Camping Association, Ramah in the Rockies adheres to the regulations of numerous local, state, and federal agencies and several national programmatic partners too. We maintain close working relationships with five core policy makers – The Jefferson County Health Department (JeffCo), Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), National Ramah Commission (NRC), Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC), and American Camping Association (ACA).
Vaccines are widely available for children for children 12+ and 50%+ of our campers will be immunized before coming to camp
We encourage all who are eligible to to vaccinate their children. All staff will be vaccinated to work at camp. We are not (yet) requiring COVID vaccinations for campers, and assume that more than half our older campers will be fully vaccinated, and many more partially vaccinated.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) will be present in our communities and at camp
We must operate under the assumption that COVID-19 will still be present in the communities we serve across the world AND that COVID-19 could potentially be present in our camp community too. Our goal is to develop the right protocols for pre-camp screening, onsite testing, cohort based programming to prevent large-scale spread, and an ability to handle any cases should one appear. This is not a one-size-fits all approach, but instead should be viewed as a multi-layered system to keep our entire community safe.
Masking in communities outside of camp will not be widespread
The CDC’s new masking guidelines means that most Americans are on an honor system, whereby vaccinated individuals do not need to mask, while unvaccinated individuals are still encouraged to mask under most circumstances when in close contact with others. We assume that masking will continue to be widespread in congregate living facilities (like camps) and on public transportation.
Testing is readily available
We are operating under the assumption that PCR testing is readily accessible to families and that we have the ability to test our community at camp using both rapid and PCR tests.
We are asking that all community members (campers & families, staff, and guests) sign a form agreeing to our pre-camp COVID requirements. Please see below for more details on our pre-camp requirements and testing.
We are all in this together. The behavior of camp families before camp will contribute to our success or failure during camp this summer. We are requiring families to adhere to a set of behavior guidelines before camp, because ultimately, what families do in the two weeks before camp impacts how successful we will be in keeping COVID out of camp. The requirements are guided by the CDC guidelines. We we are requiring that all families & staff sign a form agreeing to these guidelines.
In the 14 days before camp, campers and staff must:
- Practice good handwashing frequently.
- Wear a well fitting mask that covers both nose and mouth anytime you are interacting with individuals outside of your immediate household. This includes both indoors and outdoors.
- We strongly discourage campers & staff from attending any large gatherings, outdoors or indoors, even if everyone at the gathering will be masked.
- Campers may attend school or day camp in the two weeks prior to camp if the program requires universal indoor masking from all participants and campers attending Ramah will be masked indoors/outdoors. Campers may not participate in school or camp programs where they are not masked at all times (vaccinated or not).
- Campers attending Ramah in the Rockies immediately after spending time at another overnight camp should be in touch with Rabbi Eliav directly to discuss the protocols of the other camp.
Please do not put your child’s summer experience, and those of others in our community, at risk by engaging in risky activities before camp.
We are requiring all campers and non-vaccinated staff complete two (2) molecular PCR COVID tests in the 14 days prior to camp.
- Campers & staff must have one (1) molecular PCR COVID test taken 10-14 days prior to arrival at camp.
- Session I – Test taken anytime June 3 -6
- Session II – Test taken anytime July 5 – 8
- Campers & staff must have one (1) molecular PCR COVID test no more than 72 hours before arrival to camp. Campers & staff must have a negative result on this test to arrive at camp.
- Session I – Test taken no earlier than Monday June 14
- Session II – Test taken no earlier than Friday July 16
- We ask that campers or staff who receive a positive test at any point within two-weeks of arrival contact us immediately, and that individuals without a confirmed negative test do NOT board airplanes or drive to camp
Campers without negative COVID test results, 0-72 hours before arriving at camp (unless they have proof of COVID 13+ days out), WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO ATTEND CAMP. No late arrivals to camp will be allowed this summer.
Pre-Camp Orientation Series
Campers’ flights must arrive between 9:00 am to 11:30 am for ALL arrival days.
Campers’ flights must depart between 10:15 am to 2:15 pm for ALL departure days
In order to limit our staff exposure and time inside the airport, Ramah staff will only meet specific designated Southwest flights from our major cities. In general, these flights will be the first non-stop flight of the day. Campers flying as Unaccompanied Minors (UM) MUST be on one of these specific flights. If your child must fly UM from a city not serviced by one of these flights, please contact email@example.com for travel approval.
Campers may fly on any airline and any flight arriving into Denver before 11:30 AM Mountain Time, however, those campers not on a Ramah designated flight will be asked to collect their baggage on their own and get themselves to the Westin Hotel Promenade outside to meet Ramah staff.
You can read our full travel guidelines in our 2021 Camper Transportation Quick Facts.
Ramah in the Rockies has a shuttle bus for Denver area campers. This year we will only be providing this option as a drop off location on the way back from camp (not to go to camp). The pick up point is the Hebrew Educational Alliance (HEA) synagogue located at 3600 S. Ivanhoe St, Denver, CO 80237.
Drive to Camp
First Day of Camp
- Families should drop their children off at camp between 11:30 am and 1:00 pm.
- To ensure proper care of your child, we are unable to welcome your camper before 11:30 am.
- Due to COVID-19, camp tours are not available on the first day of camp, and parents will not be allowed to enter camper tents or other camp buildings. Families will not be allowed into the dining hall for lunch.
- Families MUST leave by 1:00 pm to ensure their safety departing and the safety of our arriving shuttles traveling the dirt road to camp.
Last Day of Camp
- Families MUST pick children up between 9:30 am and 11:00 am.
- Families not picking their children up by 11:00 am will be charged an additional service fee.
- Families may NOT pick up their children earlier than 9:30 am on travel day to ensure their safety and the safety of our shuttles traveling the dirt road from camp.
- We will be offering a camp tour on the last day of camp, however parents will not be able to enter camp buildings. We will have a designated bathroom for guests.
Daily Camp Life
Testing & Symptom Screening at Camp
Arrival Week and Ongoing Monitoring
- All campers and staff will receive a COVID test on arrival day or the first full day at camp. Exact type of test is TBD, based on National Ramah and State of Colorado guidance.
- All campers and staff will receive an additional COVID test approximately 5 days after arrival at camp.
- All campers and staff will continue to participate in regular weekly screening tests throughout the summer.
- We are committed to figuring out how to conduct this testing onsite in an efficient manner and/or sent to a lab for quick results
- All campers and staff will have common symptom checks throughout the summer.
- Ramah in the Rockies is considering other ongoing monitoring efforts like checking wastewater for COVID presence or other types of rapid testing methods
Right now, we anticipate that each ohel will be defined as a cohort, but cohorts may be as large as a few ohelim. The cohorts will do activities together, pray and learn together, eat together, and share indoor spaces only with their cohort. After an initial period and only when deemed safe by our medical team, cohorts, and individuals from separate cohorts may interact for the remaining time in the session. Any interaction between cohorts will require the NPIs of masks, outdoors, and distance.
If there is a case at camp
COVID Positive Test
If a camper or staff tests positive for COVID-19, they will be isolated, and be supervised in the Mirpa’ah by our medical staff. Per CDC guidelines, this person must be isolated for a minimum of 10 days and until they have been fever-free for at least 24 hours.
- Campers who are within 2 weeks of their session end date must be picked up by a parent or guardian (either at camp or from a meeting place in Denver) within approx. 48 hours of parent notification. Campers and parents are expected to follow local and state of Colorado guidelines too after pick up, which may require isolating in the state for a number of days before traveling home.
- Campers who have more than 14 days remaining in their camp session will be allowed to continue isolation at camp, and will have the opportunity to re-join their ohel after their isolation period has ended.
Campers and staff who were exposed to a positive case will be quarantined together in the Ramah Valley Cabent area for a minimum of 10 days. This area will have it’s own sleeping, toilet, shower, and dining facilities.
- All persons exposed to a positive case will receive ongoing monitor and be tested.
- Campers and staff will continue with camp-style activities while in the quarantine period.
If I rolled-over a portion of my 2020 family tuition payments, do I still have to make a deposit for 2021?
No. If you rolled over tuition from 2021, you do not need to make an additional deposit at this time.
What is your refund policy?
- Between March 16 and March 31: Full refund minus a $500 administrative fee
- Between April 1 and April 30: 66% refund
- Between May 1 and May 31: 33% refund
- Cancellation after June 1st – No refund available
Can I pay on a payment plan?
Flexible payment plans are available for all families (regardless of if you apply for financial aid). Our usual payment plan breaks tuition into five payments, from November 1st – March 1st. Please contact our registrar, Sandra Yaron at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss setting up a payment plan. For 2021, if you need to extend payments over additional installments, let us know, we are happy to work with you.
Communications – COVID Dashboard
Parents will be kept well informed throughout each session about COVID testing, isolation and quarantine measures if required, as well as the “normal stuff” too like photos and shabbat blogs; parents should expect weekly emails at a minimum
If a camper or staff tests positive for COVID while in our care, we promise to notify all parents with campers in their cohort via email and identify the specific measures we are taking to address the situation
Our dashboard is available at the top of this page, and is updated on a weekly basis following our weekly screening testing. This dashboard will display information about the number of tests performed at camp, number of positive cases, and additional metrics as relevant.
COVID Update - Fall 2021
We ran a successful program in 2021 using a layered COVID mitigation strategy. Tools included: masking, distancing, testing, podding and vaccines for all staff, and most campers who were eligible to receive one. We had a COVID committee who met monthly to assess current trends and scenario planning for a number of situations. Our efforts, and the partnership of our families, campers, and staff, paid off with no confirmed COVID cases at camp!
We are pleased and privileged to announce that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has published “Multicomponent Strategies to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Transmission — Nine Overnight Youth Summer Camps, United States, June–August 2021,” a study describing the successful outcome of the multiple COVID-19 prevention strategies implemented at Ramah camps this summer. Among over 7,000 campers and staff at our 9 U.S. overnight camps, there were only 9 positive cases of COVID-19, and no secondary infections identified during camp. None of the 9 cases occurred at Ramah in the Rockies.
As we look to 2022, none of us know exactly where we will be with the current COVID pandemic. Beginning in December 2021, we will reconvene our COVID committee and begin scenario planning for 2022 based on our learnings from 2021 and the current state of COVID.
One thing we know for sure: We will be requiring vaccines for any person eligible to receive a vaccine, camper or staff. NO EXCEPTIONS WILL BE MADE!
COVID Update - January 12, 2021
Dear Ramah families,
Session I: Thursday June 17 – Tuesday July 13
IA: June 17 – Thursday July 1
Session II: Monday July 19 – Monday August 16
IIA: July 19 – August 2
Taste of Ramah – Shabbat: Friday June 18 – Monday June 21
Taste of Ramah – Basecamp: Tuesday July 20 – Friday July 23
Both sessions of Ta’am Ramah will operate as their own cohort, and will have limited interaction with our full session campers.
UPDATE #6 - August 25, 2020
The Next Normal – August 25, 2020
As most of our Colorado families return to school this week, it is hard to believe that Summer 2020 has come to a close. We are so grateful to everyone who has joined us virtually to bring our Kehillah Kedosha together – from the nearly 100 Chalutzim who joined us for virtual camp, to the faces we saw at Kabbalat Shabbat, and the families that shared how much simcha our Ramah music or challah recipe brought to their homes.
Today, we turn the page and focus our attention towards the “next normal,”– reopening our camp for the 2021 season and ensuring that we have the resources to make this happen!
We plan to operate our camp in person in kayitz 2021 with the same unique blend of outdoor education, open-air environmental living, and joyful Jewish expression that has been the hallmark of our community.
Registration for 2021 will open on September 1st. All campers who enroll before October 31 will receive a limited edition Ramah in the Rockies hoodie sweatshirt. If you rolled over your child’s tuition from 2020 to 2021, then of course they will receive a hoodie too!
You can see our 2021 Dates & Rates on our website. We are freezing tuition at our 2020 Rates!
None of us know what our world will look like in 2021. We have convened a planning group of experts in public health, medicine, education, and risk assessment to examine trends and data and to advise our board and staff on the safest way to reopen camp in-person next summer. This group will base its recommendations on the latest science, government regulations and best practices implemented across the Ramah movement, the broader summer camp community, and schools that are reopening for in-person activities.
As we plan for the summer over the next ten months, we make the following promises to you:
Full transparency and regular communications. While we plan for a full reopening next summer, we are also realistic and know that this pandemic is rapidly evolving. We know we will have to adapt aspects of our program based on new information. We will keep you informed of any decisions that will materially affect the camp experience. We are also happy to speak via phone, video or email. Just be in touch.
Full Refunds. All deposits and tuition will be 100% refundable for ANY REASON until March 1, 2021. Entrusting your child to us is an awesome responsibility that we do not take for granted. We are in relationship with each family who registers for camp, and want to ensure that money is not a driving factor.
Additional Assistance. In the eleven years our camp has been in operation, we have never turned away a child who applies before March 1 for financial reasons. We know that many of our families are struggling financially due to the economic instability of the past few months. We are committed to raising additional scholarship dollars to ensure that we can help support any Jewish child who would like to come to our camp.
The health and safety of our community is always our #1 concern. We will not make any decisions that would imperil the health of our campers, staff, or families.
A THANK YOU. . .
We have been blown away by the love we felt from our community this summer. Over 100 campers participated in our virtual programs, and were joined by over 25 tzevet members who took the leap with them. Over 175 families (or 57%) donated portions of their 2020 tuition to camp and 115 families (or 42%) rolled over their tuition to next summer. Many donors have already invested in our “Next Normal” campaign too. Thank you to all who have already come along on our journey.
Over the coming months, we hope that you will help us pivot to the Next Normal. Here’s how you can help:
For those who know families that would benefit from sending their children to Ramah in the Rockies, please tell them about our community and encourage them to be in touch. If you would like to host a virtual information session, we will help arrange logistics. We are continuing with our refer-a-friend program this year too. Word of mouth is our best recruitment strategy.
For those in the position to help us financially, we welcome any and all support. We have a long journey ahead. We continue to take on financial risk as we prepare our camp for next summer but are confident that with the help of our dedicated community, we will emerge stronger at the end of the trail.
Thank you for believing in our mission and we look forward to continuing this journey together.
The Ramah in the Rockies Team
Rabbi Eliav Bock, Executive Director
Julia Chatinover, Assistant Director
Gil Rosenthal,Board Chair
UPDATE #5 – May 20, 2020
UPDATE #5 – May 20, 2020
As you know, we have been closely monitoring developments related to COVID-19 since the onset of this global pandemic. We have examined countless possible scenarios and contingency plans. We have engaged multiple task forces and committees and have considered an array of perspectives and guidelines from the medical community, camping community, state officials, and our parent community. We sent you a letter a few weeks ago hoping for positive news to emerge in the intervening time. Alas, this has not happened.
Therefore, it is with deep sadness and profound disappointment that we are canceling all scheduled sessions for this summer.
Parents entrust us with that which is most precious to them in the entire world. This trust is a foundation of the partnership we have with all our families and a blessing to us. The current guidance from local government as well as our medical professionals indicate that we cannot expect to operate this summer without a risk of infection. Given the camp environment, we feel we cannot operate and take the risk that our camping experience might promote further spread of this virus.
OUR PLAN MOVING FORWARD
While we cannot gather in person this summer in camp as we know it, we are not giving up on continuing to come together as a Kehillah Kedosha (holy community). We continue to plan for a virtual camp experience open to all 2020 chalutzim (campers) for three weeks from June 15-July 3. This program will be run by madrichim (counselors) who were planning to work in camp this summer as well as our year-round team. This virtual experience will be free of charge, although we will ask families to register in advance. Please stay tuned for more information.
We also are hoping that we can rent out parts of our ranch to families in an “Airbnb” style format, but will not know this for sure until June 10th. We will be in touch either way about this option.
Coronavirus has had, and will continue to have, a wide-reaching social, emotional, and economic toll on families, businesses, and nonprofits. The fiscal implications of closing camp are serious, as we have incurred, and will continue to incur, many costs. We hope that those families who are able to do so will help us weather this financial storm.The graph below explains the cost of running camp and how tuition dollars collected throughout the year are spent in a good faith effort to prepare for the best possible experience each summer.
We ask that you choose from any combination of these three options by July 1:
- Receive a full refund of your paid tuition. Regardless of previous payment method, refunds will be sent in 6-8 weeks via paper check.
- “Rollover” some or all of your paid tuition to summer 2021. We will honor all 2020 financial aid awards for 2021 to families who roll over their tuition.
- Convert some or all of your paid tuition into a donation to camp (directly or through a DAF). If we are unable to open, we will depend on your generosity since tuition makes up 80% of our operating revenue and we have already spent 60% of all tuition dollars preparing for the summer.
To help us face these challenging times, the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, an anonymous donor and the board of directors will match dollar for dollar any camp tuition that is donated back to camp.
We understand the situation is changing daily and many of our families are experiencing financial hardship at this time. If you need your funds back sooner than 6-8 weeks, please email email@example.com and we will begin the refund process.
CONNECTING WITH OUR COMMUNITY
Over the next two evenings, our team will be available via Zoom to answer questions and to hear your thoughts. Chalutzim are welcome to join. Please use your full name at login so we recognize you and are able to let you into the meeting. We will be scheduling additional meetings for individual edot over the next couple of weeks. Please visit our Summer 2020 Cancellation Resources page for an up-to-date calendar and additional resources.
In the coming days our senior staff also plan to reach out personally to each member of our community, and we will look forward to speaking then too.
Thank you for being partners with us in creating the Ramah in the Rockies community. Your belief in our mission is why we will endure beyond this challenging time. We know that this news will be especially difficult for our chalutzim to take in. I (Eliav) prepared this video to share with them.
Please be in touch if you have any additional questions. We are all available on email. In the meantime, visit our Virtual Chava page for ongoing opportunities to connect with our community online. Thank you for your understanding!
Rabbi Eliav Bock, Executive Director
Gil Rosenthal, Board Chair
Dr. Marcus Oginsky, Head of Medical Committee
UPDATE #4 - April 30, 2020
Each year, hundreds of families entrust Ramah in the Rockies with their most valuable possessions–their children. It is an awesome responsibility! Our team works year-round to build the physical community that campers and staff are a part of each summer. But the lessons, values, and relationships developed during this time remain with them for years to come. Over the past month we have heard from so many about the importance of Ramah to the development of your child’s identity. Thank you for your emails and calls.
The health and safety of our community remains our number one priority. Each off-season we spend countless hours preparing for emergencies and working with a variety of public health officials and first responders to help ensure an uneventful summer. Our goal is singular: to make certain that campers and staff can have as safe as possible of an experience while challenging themselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Over the past six weeks we watched as COVID-19 changed how we live in our world. We have been planning a number of scenarios for this summer based on these developments.
Now, at the end of April, we can say definitively that WE WILL NOT RUN SESSION I OR OPEN CAMP BEFORE JULY 1. We made this difficult decision in consultation with National Ramah and with our own medical team, board of directors, and local health department.
OUR PLAN MOVING FORWARD
We remain hopeful that we can join together for at least part of our 2020 camp season and are moving forward simultaneously on several alternative scenarios.
Run a modified Session II, beginning a few days earlier than scheduled, from Monday, July 13 to Monday, August 10. (Session I campers can switch to Session II.)
We are exploring the possibility of running several smaller family-camp-style programs in late July/early August in the event that regulations do not permit us to run camper-only programs.
We are realistic that “Scenario A” is unlikely to happen but not yet ready to rule it out. By June 1 at the latest, we will share a decision about Session II and possible family programming.
We know the coronavirus has and will continue to have a wide-reaching social, emotional, and economic toll on families, businesses, and nonprofits. The fiscal implications of closing camp are serious, as we have incurred – and will continue to incur – many costs, regardless of what happens this summer. “Missing a season” will have an impact on our budget, our programming, and our organization for years to come.
If camp is unable to open this summer or you choose not to send your child for any reason, you may choose from any combination of these three options:
- You can receive a full refund of your paid tuition. Regardless of previous payment method, refunds will be sent in 6-8 weeks via paper check.
- You can “roll over” your paid tuition to summer 2021.
- You can choose to convert some or all of your paid tuition into a donation to camp. If we are unable to open, we will depend on your generosity since tuition makes up 80% of our operating revenue.
To help us face these challenging times, the Harold Grinspoon Foundation will match dollar for dollar the first $65,000 of camp tuition that is donated back to camp. If camp does not operate, we hope that through donations of tuition dollars from generous families we will be able to raise the $325,000 needed to cover the costs of our year-round site operations and insurance. EVERY donation will impact our ability to build Jewish community at 8,000 feet now and into the future.
We understand the situation is changing daily and many of our families are experiencing financial hardship at this time. If you are in a new financial position and need your funds back sooner than 6-8 weeks, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will begin the refund process.
But if you can wait until after June 1 to register for a later session, request a refund, rollover funds to 2021 or make a donation, we would sincerely appreciate your patience. We need a few more weeks to evaluate the possibility of a modified Session II or family camp.
This evening (Thursday, April 30) at 6:00pm Mountain Time (5:00pm Pacific, 8:00pm Eastern), our team will be available via Zoom to answer questions. Chalutzim are welcome to join. Please use your full name at login so we recognize you and are able to let you into the meeting. (Email email@example.com for zoom link)
Thank you for being partners with us in creating the Ramah in the Rockies community. Your belief in our mission is why we will endure beyond this challenging time. We know that this news will be especially difficult for our chalutzim to take in. We prepared this video to share with them.
Please be in touch if you have any additional questions. We are all available on email, and in the office in between maintaining our respective homeschools. In the meantime, visit our Virtual Chava page for ongoing opportunities to connect with our community online. Thank you for your understanding!
Rabbi Eliav Bock, Executive Director
Gil Rosenthal, Board Chair
Dr. Marcus Oginsky, Head of Medical Committee
UPDATE #3 - April 1, 2020
Dear Camp Families,
We are all craving certainty in this uncertain time. Therefore, we are committed to making a decision about this summer’s sessions as follows:
- By May 1st, we will make and share a decision about the plans for Session I.
- By June 1st, we will make and share a decision about the plans for Session II.
We are monitoring the COVID-19 situation daily in consultation with our camp medical committee, national Jewish camp partners, CDC, and local Colorado health department.
Please know that our year-round team and our board of directors has decided that, in the unprecedented event that camp cannot open this summer, we will be offering full refunds for tuition paid to date. We make this offer knowing that it will be extremely difficult for us from a financial perspective, but also knowing that it is the right thing to do.
The fiscal implications of closing camp are serious, as we have incurred – and will continue to incur – many costs, regardless of what happens this summer. Our entire year-round team depends on camp happening each summer, and ‘missing a season’ will have a lasting impact on our budget, our programming, and our organization for years to come.
Should camp be unable to open, we will offer families any combination of these three options:
- You can choose to convert some or all of your paid tuition into a donation to camp. If we are unable to open, we will need your generosity. Though camp has operated in a fiscally responsible manner for many years, tuition makes up over 80- percent of our revenue.
- You can “roll-over” your paid tuition to summer 2021.
- You can accept the offer of a full refund of your paid tuition. Regardless of previous payment method, refunds will be sent in 6-8 weeks via paper check.
Again, we will be in touch directly with all Session I families by May 1st and all Session II families by June 1st.
Please be in touch if you have any additional questions. In the meantime, visit our Virtual Chava page (https://www.ramahoutdoors.org/virtual-opportunities-for-our-kehilah/) for ongoing opportunities to connect with our community online. Thank you for your understanding!
UPDATE #2 - March 19, 2020
March 19, 2020
Dear Ramah in the Rockies Community,
At camp, we talk about our four core values of kavod כָּבוֹד– respect, simcha שמחה– joy, tzmicha ishit צמיחה אישית – personal growth, and k’sharim קשרים – connections.
While we all face disruptions to our normal routines, we have an opportunity to rely on these core values to help guide us through moments of hardship, and can lean on these values to help strengthen our kehillah kedosha קהילה קדושה- holy community.
Starting tomorrow, we will be sharing online and printable content regularly – some of our own creation, some created by our partners at Ramah camps and Jewish camps throughout North America. We hope that these resources will provide opportunities to connect, to learn, and to grow.
We honor the uncertainty that exists in the world. We are committed to communicating regularly with you, our camp community, as we make decisions about the summer.
As we shared in our last email, we plan to operate this summer, and are constantly monitoring advice from the CDC, CDPHE, and Jefferson County Public Health to guide our decision making.
Registration for 2020 is still open, and we have adjusted our payment structure in recognition of the uncertainty – you can register and hold a spot for your child for a $300 deposit, with no additional tuition due until June 1st
We are all craving certainty in this uncertain time. Therefore, we are committed to making a decision about this summer’s sessions as follows:
|By May 1st, we will make and share a decision about the plans for Session I.By June 1st, we will make and share a decision about the plans for Session II.|
As a reminder, if circumstances change regarding COVID-19, and we are not able to operate our camp this summer or your child is prevented from attending, we will offer affected families a 100% refund of all tuition already paid.
We have heard from many of you that you are looking for opportunities to connect with your Ramah kehillah! Starting next week, we will hold reunions for each Edah.
These reunions are a chance to check in, reminisce about the summer that past, and dream about the summer to come while hanging out with your Ramah friends. All reunions will be held on Tuesday or Thursday evenings, from 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM MDT at this Zoom Link.
Ilanot & Metaylim Session I: Tuesday March 24
Ilanot & Metaylim Session II: Thursday March 26
Solelim & Bogrim Session I: Tuesday March 31
Solelim & Bogrim Session II: Thursday April 2
Sayarim & JOLI Session I: Tuesday April 7
Sayarim & JOLI Session II: Tuesday April 14
Additionally, we have heard from some families that they would like to use these days at home to further their Jewish learning, particularly, their Torah reading skills. If you (tzevet or chalutzim) would like to teach or to learn Torah reading/layning, please click here to fill out our online buddy form. We will make the connections. In a week, or so, we hope to publicize the list of Torah readings for the summer so any child who wants to begin learning an aliyah/ot/whole Parsha portion can do so.
We know that there is a lot of Jewish educational content on the internet right now – what a blessing! We are creating some of our own, and have compiled a list on our website. National Ramah is maintaining a similar list of Ramah-wide programming.
Each week, join us on Facebook for the following:
Mondays & Thursdays, 9:00 AM MDT– Torah Tidbit. We will be posting a Torah Tidbit video each Monday & Thursday morning. Email Ethan at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a Torah Tidbit you want to share with our kehillah.
Tuesdays, 3:30 PM MDT. We are partnering with our friends from the other Jewish summer camper here in Colorado to share a live, interactive activity each Tuesday, through Facebook Live.
Fridays, 12:00 PM MDT. Together with the other camps here in Colorado, we will post a weekly pre-Shabbat medurah style music video to help get you ready for Shabbat! This video will be posted to our Facebook.
In addition to these weekly programs, this weekend we have three incredible musical opportunities:
Tonight: Ramah Wide Shira with Josh Warshawsky – 6:00 PM MDT
Friday: Erev Shabbat Live from NY with Michael Harlow – 4:00 PM MDT
Sunday Morning: Rick Recht Concert – 10:30 AM MDT
Depending on the response from our families we will see whether more shira and tefillah with our Ramah favorites can become weekly traditions during this period of physical distancing.
Each Wednesday, we will share resources for you to use at home – favorite Ramah recipes, games, and resources we use at camp to add meaning to every-day experiences.
Stay tuned for an awesome masa journal, recipes, and more! Make sure to share your photos with us so we can post them on our social media pages. You can also access much of our camp music on our SoundCloud. We have playlists for Weekday & Shabbat tefillah, plus tons of other shira favorites.
Check our website and social media accounts each week for new material.
We hope you will join us for these opportunities to live our core values.
As always, our year-round team is available via phone at (303) 261-8214 and email if you have any questions, concerns, or just want to chat!
Rabbi Eliav and the whole Ramah in the Rockies Team
UPDATE #1 - March 12, 2020
March 12, 2020
Dear Ramah in the Rockies Families,
We know you are carefully monitoring the news about the novel Coronavirus(COVID-19), as are we.
While summer is still months away, we want to share some information and updates with you, because nothing is more important to us than the safety and wellbeing of your/our children and staff.
Ramah in the Rockies, together with all of our partners in Jewish camping, is planning to operate fully this summer.
We can assure you that we are already planning some extra precautions, which may include: greater pre-camp health screening for campers and staff; limiting guests who can visit camp; and changing some protocols in our food service.
We are, however, concerned about the ongoing spread of the COVID-19, and will continue to provide you with updates regarding our plans both before and during the summer. Our senior staff continue to monitor the CDC daily. We have been in touch directly with our coordinators at Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and Jefferson County Public Health Department, including their infectious disease epidemiologist. We also are participating in movement-wide calls/forums with directors and business managers from all the Ramah camps as well as some broader camp industry conversations.
We know many of our families are nervous about the summer and uncertain about how COVID-19 will affect summer plans. If circumstances change regarding COVID-19, and we are not able to operate our camp this summer or your child is prevented from attending, we will offer affected families a 100% refund of all tuition already paid.
We are, however, far from making such a decision. We are enrolling our final 40 campers, hiring our final 25 staff members and planning each day of the summer program. We are finishing three building projects and readying the ranch to open in under 100 days!
We thank you for your trust in us and look forward to another amazing summer of fun and transformation—all while keeping our communities safe and healthy.
Please be in touch directly at 303-261- 8214 X104 if you would like to discuss anything further.
Rabbi Eliav Bock, Executive Director
Gil Rosenthal, Board Chair
Dr. Marcus Oginsky, Medical Chair