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National Ramah Commission, Inc. of The Jewish Theological Seminary

June 29, 2011

 27 Sivan 5771

Specialty Programs for Ramah Teen Campers in 2011

Dear Friends of Ramah,

Among the many programmatic innovations taking place at Ramah camps throughout North America in recent years, all Ramah camps are offering more intensive specialty experiences for their teens. Recognizing the desire for sustained activity in an area of choice, our camps have developed various different models for schedule changes, higher level staffing, and intensive skills development, and are bringing in top level specialists - artists, coaches, and other experts - for visits to camp. 

Ramah Darom Yom Clinic

Beach volleyball at Ramah Darom's "Yom Clinic"



Last week, for example, during my visit to Ramah Darom in Georgia, I was delighted to see teen campers so enthusiastic about "Yom Clinic," a day on which eight specialty clinicians run workshops in their area of expertise. This year's offerings included sports such as basketball, football, tennis, volleyball, and hockey, as well as modern dance, comic sketching, and circus arts. Not only did Darom's guest instructors exhibit high achievement in their area of expertise, they also demonstrated an outstanding ability to teach and share their special skills. 



Bogrim Challenge Trip
Challenge trip for Bogrim campers at Ramah Berkshires
New for summer 2011 is "SABABA BOGRIM," a program at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires. Ramah Berkshires is partnering with specialty programs in the Northeast to offer seven options for multi-day out-of-camp electives, providing a unique opportunity for Bogrim campers (entering 9th grade) to explore their interests, hobbies, and talents. Campers will spend up to five days at offsite locations to enjoy these intensive programs. Offerings include theater arts and visual arts, held at BIMA, Brandeis University's summer arts institute; culinary arts, during which campers will live in dormitories at The Jewish Theological Seminary and work with an instructor from the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts of Brooklyn; biking and hiking trips, organic farming, and a service project with Habitat for Humanity.

New England Kishroniyah
Flag football at Ramah New England's "Kishroniyah"
Camp Ramah in New England is continuing its highly successful Kishrioniyah program, now in its fifth year.  For a full week during second session, twelve specialists in a variety of fields (sports coaches, professional artists and musicians, a filmmaker, a master chef, and others) come to Ramah New England to run a week of intensive, high-level specialty programming for Tzad Bet (B-Side) campers. At Camp Ramah in Wisconsin, there is a new slate of "Intensives" for Machon (entering 10th graders) during the first month of the summer in areas such as fitness, woodworking, art, radio, video, music, comedy, outdoor education, and special education. Campers dedicate nearly thirty hours to projects that culminate in a specific capstone event or final product. Similarly, at Camp Ramah in California, visiting artists and coaches work with campers in a variety of specialties such as basketball, soccer, organic cooking, Ultimate Frisbee, and music.

Ramah Basketball Academy
Ramah Basketball Academy
at Ramah Poconos
The Ramah Basketball Academy (RBA) at Camp Ramah in the Poconos is run by Tamir Goodman, a former U.S. college athlete and professional basketball player in Israel. During second session, interested campers entering 8th-10th grades participate in RBA's intensive daily program of basketball instruction.

At Camp Ramah in Canada, campers can compose music and record a CD with instructors from Camp Rock. Campers in the oldest edot will also have the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge of methods of environmental conservation and sustainability by working with The Amir Project, whose staff members helped to establish the camp's new Amir Garden last summer.

These are just some highlights of the outstanding programs being offered by our camps in 2011 as part of a movement-wide effort to offer even greater specialty options to our teen campers. I look forward to keeping you informed about the many exciting and inspirational experiences taking place throughout the Ramah Camping Movement this summer.


Mitchell Cohen 

Rabbi Mitchell Cohen, National Director