What is JOLI?
The Jewish Outdoor Leadership Institute (JOLI) is an intensive Jewish leadership program for campers entering 11th & 12th grades, training them to become competent and confident outdoor leaders. As the culmination of the Ramah in the Rockies experience, participants learn both soft skills, such as leadership, communication, and hard skills, such as outdoor survival.
What is the goal of JOLI?
In addition to backpacking throughout Colorado and spending time on the chava (ranch), participants have the opportunity to train as future counselors (madrichim) and specialists (anaf tzevet) at base camp or give back to the camp community through service projects. The combination of these elements creates a uniquely intensive experience that past participants have repeatedly described as “transformative.” The expertise acquired and the character built during the JOLI program transcends beyond the time spent in Colorado. Additionally, JOLI infuses Jewish texts, values, and traditions seamlessly into all aspects of the experience.
What does the JOLI week-to-week schedule look like?
Week 1 — Bonding/WFA:
JOLI kicks off with an intensive Wilderness First Aid (WFA) training, which will equip participants to take on leadership roles as they lead backcountry masa’ot for one another and for younger chalutzim (campers). They will bond as an edah, set expectations for the summer, and participate in chuggim (base camp activities).
Week 2 — Adventure Masa:
From mountain biking to rock climbing or summiting a 14-er (Colorado mountains with elevations over 14,000 feet), adventure masa challenges chalutzim to step into their stretch zone with the guidance of seasoned wilderness leaders. Masa’ot are tailored to meet the needs of campers while challenging them to step outside of their comfort zones.
Week 3 — Base Camp Week:
JOLI participants undergo an interactive training program focused on a hands-on Jewish outdoor education, which covers how to effectively plan and run chuggim (activities), how to respond to and prevent emergencies, and how to grow as a leader and role model. Concurrently with their leadership training, JOLI participants will intern as ohel (bunk) or anaf (activity) staff.
JOLI campers will also enjoy all the highlights of basecamp — from scenic bike rides, to hiking prospector, to art projects and outdoor cooking. JOLI leaders gain valuable leadership experience as they plan camp’s beloved Yom Sport, a highlight for campers of all ages.
Week 4 — Choose Your Own Adventure Masa:
JOLI leaders choose between a classic Rockies backcounty masa or accompanying the younger edot (age groups) on their masa’ot, working as counselors and backcountry leaders on single- or multi-day excursions.
2023 promises to be JOLI’s most impactful year yet, with time allotted for masa’ot, CIT programming, and exciting activities at basecamp. We invite you to be a part of this JOLI cohort!