Summer 2020 Cancellation Resources

Summer 2020

Here you will find resources, links, and information to help you navigate the cancellation of summer 2020 at Ramah in the Rockies.

Below is a video message to our community from Rabbi Eliav.

View Our Updated Resources Below

Dear Ramah in the Rockies Community:

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. We continue to plan for a virtual camp experience open to all 2020 chalutzim 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.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS

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. “Missing a season” will have an impact on our budget, our programming, and our organization for years to come. 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.

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We ask that you choose from any combination of these three options by July 1:

  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.
  2. “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.
  3. 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 50% 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 eliavb@ramahoutdoors.org 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.

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.

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

We pledge to continue to work to keep our Camp community connected and communicate frequently, beginning with the scheduled community events below:

Date and Time Program Link
Wednesday May 20, 6 pm MDT Family Call https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82730035506
Thursday May 21, 12 pm MDT 2020 Tzevet Call https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85996079149
Thursday May 21, 7 pm MDT Family Call https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82020107641
Friday May 22, 4:30 pm MDT Hachanah L’Shabbat and Rikkud ramahoutdoors.org/zoomshabbat
Monday May 25, 7 pm MDT JOLI 2020 Call https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87961306536

Please use your full name at login for any zoom meetings so we recognize you and are able to let you into the meeting.

What will happen to paid tuition?

All families received an email with a link to a personalized form to indicate what you would like to do with your paid tuition dollars.  There are three options and you are able to ‘mix and match’ your selection (although we hope you will choose options #1 and/or #2):

    1. 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.
    2. You can “roll over” 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.
    3. You can choose to 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 50% of all tuition dollars preparing for the summer.

When do I have to make a decision?

We ask that you fill out the form to indicate your decision by July 1st.  If you did not receive a link to your personalized form, please email juliac@ramahoutdoors.org

When & how will I get my refund?

Regardless of previous payment method, refunds will be sent in 6-8 weeks via paper check.  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 eliavb@ramahoutdoors.org.

Will credit card fees be reimbursed?

We can not reimburse the 3% fee charged for credit card processing.

If I rollover my tuition payments for Summer 2021, what will the tuition rates be?

We are not raising tuition rates for 2021, all tuition rates will remain the same as 2020.  Our full 2021 Dates and Rates are available HERE.

What happens with my financial aid/scholarship?

We will honor all 2020 financial aid awards for 2021 to families who roll over their tuition.  We will be opening our usual financial aid process for new families and those who are unable to roll over tuition in October.

Community-based scholarship decisions, including One Happy Camper grants, are all made locally so you will need to contact your Federation or synagogue to ask if they are able to roll forward to 2021. Ramah in the Rockies is also encouraging Federations and synagogues to roll forward all 2020 scholarships.

If I make a donation, will I receive a donation letter?

Yes, all donations will be acknowledged with a donation letter and are tax deductible.  You should expect to receive a donation letter in 6-8 weeks.

Will Ramah in the Rockies be okay financially?

The financial implications of canceling camp are serious. Ramah in the Rockies’s business model relies on Camp fees to cover not just our summer costs, but also our year-round operations. We spend close to 60% or ~$1.2 million of our annual budget in a good-faith effort to prepare for the best possible summer experience even before the first camper arrives on our Chava (ranch). Thanks to the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, all Camp tuition reallocation donations will be matched 1:1* and all other donations will be matched 2:1.

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Will I skip an Edah?

In general, we hope that chalutzim will continue in the grade appropriate edah assignment for 2021.  We also want to make sure our chalutzim are excited about their edah, and know that there are unique experiences afforded to chalutzim in each edah.  We are happy to work with families to determine the best fit for their children.  We will be flexible and allow chaltuzim to move up/down an edah as appropriate.

 What about JOLI 2020?

We know that the cancellation of in-person programming is particularly hard for JOLI 2020.  We plan to provide extra opportunities throughout the summer and year for JOLI to connect, learn, and grow together.  We will work with individual families to determine the best plan for their chalutzim in 2021.

My child is a rising 4th grader registered for Ta’am Ramah 2020.  Can they do Ta’am Ramah in 2021 (Rising 5th grade)?

Ta’am Ramah is a great opportunity to try out camp for our younger campers.  Due to the small group size and design of the program, it is not appropriate for rising 5th graders.

Will I still be eligible for OneHappyCamper if I was supposed to receive the grant this year?

Community-based scholarship decisions, including One Happy Camper grants, are all made locally so you will need to contact your Federation or synagogue to ask if they are able to roll forward to 2021.  Campers will remain eligible to receive grants, since they will still be first time campers in 2021.

Camp is the highlight of the year for so many, and we know that this news is difficult to handle.  We are grateful to our colleagues from Ramah Darom for creating these resources to help you navigate this disappointment and loss and help you support your children, and yourself, through this difficult time.

Our team is available to speak with Chalutzim, Tzevet, and Families

Rabbi Eliav BockExecutive Director

eliavb@ramahoutdoors.org

Zach UsmaniDirector of Community Wellness

zachu@ramahoutdoors.org

Julia ChatinoverAssistant Director

juliac@ramahoutdoors.org

Stacy WassermanDirector of Community Engagement

stacyw@ramahoutdoors.org

How to help your child(ren)

Self Care for Parents

For Tzevet

Will Ramah provide virtual summer programming?

Yes! While we know no online experience can compare with the beauty of our chava, we believe that online opportunities will provide us the experience to connect with our kehillah kedosha.  We will be offering both a 3 week, sign-up based virtual camp program (June 15th – July 3rd) as well as resources and activities for you to do offline at home.  More information about both is coming soon!

What will it look like?

We will be running a three-week virtual camp experience from June 15th – July 3rd.  It will include opportunities for Edah-based peulot, chuggim, and camp-wide experiences, likely through Zoom.  There will be 5-7 hours of live programming per week (depending on Edah), with additional offline prompts and activities.  We hope to strike a balance between providing opportunities to connect with fellow chalutzim and providing prompts to get kids outside and off their screens.  More details to come.

 Is there a fee?

No, virtual camp will be 100% free for all registered 2020 Chalutzim.  We will ask that you complete a sign up form to help us determine groupings and allow our tzevet to plan appropriately.

 Can I still earn my 5 year shirt?

Yes! Stay tuned for our 5 Year Shirt Challenge.  This summer-long program will allow you to complete challenges to earn a year of credit towards your 5 year shirt.  The challenge will be open to all members of our kehillah, including alumni and tzevet.  Everyone who successfully completes the challenge will have 2020 counted as a year towards earning their 5 year shirt or 10 year jacket.  More details coming soon.

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