Chag Chanukkah Same’ach from Ramah in the Rockies!

Without the chalutzim (campers) camp would be meaningless – each and every one of them is a light in our community. Every summer, our amazing tzevet (staff) work tirelessly to ensure that every chalutz and chalutzah have incredible and lifechanging experiences at Ramah in the Rockies. And so, in celebration of Chanukkah, we wanted to spotlight some of the individuals that keep the “lights” of Ramah in the Rockies “burning bright” for 8 amazing weeks every summer.

Toronto, Canada
Metaylim Madrich

Last summer was my fifth summer at camp, and my first as tzevet! I worked as a Metaylim (5th and 6th graders) madrich (counselor) and as an assistant to the Rosh Edah (Head of age group). I got to hangout with the kids all day, take them to their activities, run programs, and plan zman edah (age-group specific programming).

My favorite aspect of camp is kabbalat Shabbat, when the whole camp comes together having showered after a long week of activities, ready to sing and celebrate a change of pace from the normal week. I also love when the chalutzim come back from masa excited to share their adventures with me, and you can really see how much they have changed and grown from the experience.

Tel Aviv, Israel
Inclusion Specialist

Last summer was my first at camp, and I worked on the Inclusion Team. I heard about camp through the Jewish Agency for Israel. I used to work at a day camp in Israel and I love working with kids, so I was excited by the adventure of summer camp in America.

Day-to-day I would roam around camp, making sure our inclusion campers are engaging with other campers and having a great time at their activities. My job was to give our campers the best summer possible. I didn’t have my own ohel (tent) of campers, so the first time I had my own group was on the rafting and biking masa. During the masa I got to really speak with the campers and get to know them. When they returned to base camp, the campers did a night activity where they created skits about their trips. I was so excited when they called me over to be a part of it. It made me feel like I really made connections with them.

The views were my favorite part of camp. The stars at night are so bright, the clouds are insane, and the mountains are so beautiful – especially the ones that are still covered with snow!

Puebla, Mexico
Kitchen Prep Cook

I worked in the kitchen helping to prepare the food. The first week was hard, but it became much easier to help with the food because I know what I’m doing. During meals, I enjoyed talking to the kids when they come up to the windows for refills. They would all say “thank you,” and I really appreciated that.

I wanted to come to camp to interact with kids, so I’ve started giving kids Spanish lessons on Tuesdays. I have loved getting to meet so many new people.

I really enjoyed the nature and the view of the mountains. I loved taking walks with my friends at night and stargazing. Living in the tents was an adventure in itself and something new. 

Teaneck, NJ
Metaylim Madricha

I ended up working at camp because I went to Ramah in the Rockies as a camper in 2016 for my JOLI year. After I went to camp in 2016, and understood how lucky I was to be part of such a unique community in an incredibly beautiful place, I knew I wanted to come back to work there. Shuli Bolton was the person who originally told me about Ramah in the Rockies, and we both ended up doing JOLI, and then working on tzevet together for the past 2 summers.

My favorite part about camp is having the opportunity to constantly explore my Jewish identity while being immersed in nature. I feel most connected to Judaism and my spirituality at camp, specifically during kabbalat Shabbat because I am surrounded by the mountains, the greenery, and an accepting and supportive kehillah (community).

Budapest, Hungry
Kitchen Dishwasher

I found Ramah in the Rockies through the Camp Leaders Program [a program that matches potential staff members across the globe with camps in the United States.] I wanted to see the beauty of Colorado, and I knew someone who worked here in the past and they told me great things about this camp.

As Kitchen Dishwasher, I worked both day shifts and night shifts. during these shifts, all of the kitchen staff listened to music together and always helped each other out.

The part of camp I enjoyed most was the community – both inside and outside of the kitchen. Everyone was very friendly and helpful, and everyone trusts each other, which is different than what I experience in Hungary. I really enjoyed the fun atmosphere of camp community.

Milwaukee, WI
Tzevet Ofanayim/Solelim Madrich

This past summer was the second year that I worked at Ramah in the Rockies, and my fifth year overall. I have worked the past two summers as a Solelim (7th and 8th graders) madrich and ofanayim (biking) staff. 

Between 4th and 7th grade I stayed at home during the summer, and I would listen to my brother rave about his summer adventures at Ramah in the Rockies. Finally, in 8th grade I went second session for two weeks and fell head-over-heels in love with camp. Following my JOLI summer in 2016, I knew that I wanted to be a part of tzevet, as I was so excited to help develop the kehillah that had shaped me into a Jewish leader. 

My favorite part of camp is masa’ot. I live my life by the guiding principle my JOLI Rosh taught me: “To grow, you have to embrace the discomfort and put yourself in your ‘stretch zone’. The stretch zone may be uncomfortable and scary, but you will come out as an improved, more resilient individual.” Masa’ot are incredibly special opportunities for chalutzim to enter their own ‘stretch zones’ and accomplish goals that might seem impossible outside of the context of a masa. I know that I’ve grown to be the leader that I am today because of the 10+ masa’ot I’ve participated in and led over my five fulfilling years at camp. 

And finally, while I live far away from camp during the academic year, I consider Ramah Rockies as my second home which I always look forward to visiting. 

Clearwater, FL
Sayarim Madricha

I ended up working at camp because I was working at BaMidbar Wilderness Therapy. While working at BaMidbar, they had a brief pause in their programming (they are back now and offering amazing programs!) and was graciously offered a job at Ramah in the Rockies for the second session last summer.

I loved living in the amazingly beautiful wilderness and experiencing Shabbat in the camp community.  My favorite part of camp is being a part of an enriching Jewish community in a beautiful, wild setting. It was deeply rewarding to be able to support campers’ connection to each other, Judaism and the natural world.

Olympia, WA
Tzevet Ofanayim

Ramah in the Rockies places a premium on hiring people who bring real expertise in outdoor education and adventure.  As such, they will often recruit outdoor professionals from outside the Jewish community, and that’s how I came to be a part of the Ramah community in 2015.  

Ramah in the Rockies places a premium on hiring people who bring real expertise in outdoor education and adventure.  As such, they will often recruit outdoor professionals from outside the Jewish community, and that’s how I came to be a part of the Ramah community in 2015.  

Although I am not a religious person, I find that the emphasis on creating a holy community where young people can focus on developing their relationship with their Judaism to be my favorite part of Ramah.  Even as a non-Jewish member of tzevet I have been generously welcomed into the community and I am grateful for the connections that have been offered to me. Many Ramah alumni consider ROA to be a second “home”, and I am one of them. 

Join our staff for Kayitz 2020 and learn more about working at Ramah in the Rockies here

This week we will celebrate the miracles of Chanukah!  This summer, we celebrate the wonder of our 8th summer! 
Each summer, we celebrate the miracles of camper achievements:
  • Living out our Core Values of Kavod (Respect), Simcha (Joy), Tzmicha Ishit (Personal Growth), and Kehillah
  • The pride and joy of biking to the summit of Mt. Evans (elevation: 14,265), a Colorado 14-er! 
  • Chalutzim learning to milk goats, feed chickens, saddle horses, and and care for our fellow ranch inhabitants
  • The feeling of accomplishment when reaching the top of a climbing route for the first time!
  • Learning skills on backcountry excursions to become independent.
  • Meeting Jews from around the world and creating intense, meaningful, and lifelong friendships and connections.

We wish you and your entire family and community a wonderful Chanukah full of sufganiyot, miracles, and enjoying the glow of the candles!

Chag Sameach!