Shabbat Shalom Ramah Friends!
First session flew by, and here we are already a few days into second session! After a rejuvenating inter-session, we are all back at the chava [ranch], our chalutzim [campers] are here, and we are ready to have another awesome four weeks! On Wednesday, we welcomed chalutzim from all over the world: Oklahoma, Washington, New York, California, Israel, Mexico, Florida, and more.
Something unique happened this year on arrival day, easily one of our smoothest in 6 summers! The airport buses arrived within minutes of the buses from HEA in Denver, leading to a sudden wave of purple filling up camp with smiles, hugs, cheers, and ruach [spirit]! And perhaps best of all, it was perfect Colorado mountain weather (hi 70s) with NO rain. Camp magic is happening non stop, and I want to share a few magical moments.
Ilanot and Metaylim have been starting off each morning at 7:30 with an awesome Shmirat HaGuf [exercise] routine on the basketball court, as a part of the revamp of this program we mentioned in our last email. Ilanot has already had biking, climbing, mining and archery. In addition to the above activities, Metaylim chalutzim have also had art and farming. This morning, when I went to visit our campers on the farm, I saw them cleaning up the goat pen and feeding and grooming our resident goats: Grace, Buttercup, Chalav and Dvash.
Sollelim (7th and 8th grade) have been showing their presence, as one of the largest edot [age groups] we have ever had. Yesterday and today they have been having their elective prakim, where each chalutz has chosen three activities on which to focus during his/her time at camp. As I write this, Sollelim chalutzim are out with the rest of the camp doing service projects as part of our Tikkun Ramah [camp improvement] program; projects range from painting fences to giving baths to some of our camp dogs.
Yesterday was a full programing day for Bogrim (9th and 10th grade), but this morning they moved into masa (excursion) mode and began the process of bonding with their group. Each group tested their equipment and packed their dry food for next week. The groups have put their gear in piles for Shabbat and will come back into their masa groups on Sunday afternoon.
JOLI (Jewish Outdoor Leadership Institute- our 11th and 12th graders) this week completed a Wilderness First Aid (WFA) course, administered by our friends at SOLO Wilderness Medical School. Last night they had a mini masa to Ramah Valley where they practiced setting up tarps and tents. They were “back” in camp for t’filot at 8:00am.
In a few moments, camp-wide service projects will come to a close and our entire camp will begin to clean up and shower for Shabbat. Although we have a single shower house (with individual stalls) for all our campers, everyone should be able to take hot showers using our custom made solar hot-water heater system. If the weather holds, we will be doing Kabbalat Shabbat outdoors in the Pardes T’filah. Tomorrow will be a terrific Shabbat, followed by Eicha [The Book of Lamentations] reading on Motzei Shabbat [after Shabbat]. Sunday is a special day due to the Tisha B’av fast. Although the older chalutzim are encouraged to fast at least half the day, we will be serving meals throughout for anyone who wants to eat. Monday morning, we move into full masa mode with groups headed all over Colorado for one to four nights of camping and fun in nature.