Dear Ramah Day Camp and Camp Ramah in Wisconsin Communities,

Each of us has made tremendous changes to the way we live, work and interact for the sake of personal and communal health and safety. Our hope is that our new Kikar from Afar online programs will bring a taste of camp fun into your home while connecting us all as a beloved Ramah family. We will continue to ramp up online content for our entire community of Ramahniks – past, present, and future! – and provide targeted programs for specific age groups of children, staff, parents, and alumni. Thanks for the wonderful feedback on the Josh Warshawsky concert (featuring Adina Allen!) last Thursday night, sponsored by the National Ramah Commission, which had, at one point, over 1,500 unique Facebook accounts logged in, and the Kikar Dancing on Friday afternoon. Upcoming programs will include cooking activities, art projects, pre-Shabbat Mishmar singing, learning a new Kikar dance, and much more.

As we hunker down in our individual communities we remain optimistic and continue to plan for an amazing summer at both our camps – hiring staff, planning innovative programming and completing our new Arts and Outdoor Performance Center in Conover.

In the midst of this planning, we must acknowledge our new reality. We know that your children are at home for the coming weeks and that some families are facing illness, others financial stress, and all of us the anxiety of uncertainty. We care about you and want to help in any way possible.

To keep you informed of our summer plans, we will send weekly updates with our latest plans and preparation.

Camp Season
At this time, we are planning to operate both of our camps fully this summer and open on June 15th (Ramah Day Camp) and June 16th (Camp Ramah in Wisconsin).  We cannot state this more emphatically or sincerely: We want to have camp this summer!

As we approach the summer there are a number of factors which will determine our decision-making, one I will ultimately make with our Board President, David Kushnir, with consultation from our Board of Directors, Medical Committee, and senior staff.  This decision-making process will rest, first and foremost, with federal, state, and county public health guidelines.  Assuming opening camp is deemed safe by the public health authorities, we will then have to assess a variety of real-life business concerns, including the logistics of food purchasing, acquisition of medical and cleaning supplies, transportation availability, and more.

By May 1st, at the latest, we will be in touch with a plan for opening our camps in mid-June.  

If we are unable to safely open both camps as originally planned in mid-June, we are already exploring a variety of alternatives for a modified summer season. It is too soon for us to detail what these alternatives may be, but know that they are in the works.

Our Refund Policy
If camp is completely cancelled or if your child has any medical reasons for being unable to attend camp, we will provide the option to rollover payments already received to a future camp season or provide a full refund.

If the camp season is shortened or modified, we will provide a fair revised tuition structure.

Preparing for the Summer
Help us today to prepare for the summer by completing your camp forms. Complete the forms in your CampMinder account so that we know your child’s travel plans, medical information, bunking request, special dietary needs, etc. If your camper is unable to obtain a physical exam at this time, we ask that it is completed prior to the start of camp.

We continue to accept payments for summer tuition and continue to process payment plans, unless otherwise notified. Given the current uncertain environment, we are committed to working with families to ensure camp is financially possible — but expect that all tuition bills will be paid or payment plans established prior to the start of camp.

This past Shabbat was designated to read the end of the Book of Exodus, which consists mainly of the actual building of the traveling shrine (Mishkan) the Israelites used for worship during their forty years in the desert.  Bible scholars and rabbinic interpreters alike have noted a number of similarities between the physical structure of and language used to describe the Mishkan and the story of the creation of the world we read about in the first chapter of the Torah.  That story, we understand, is a story that attempts to make sense of the chaotic (tohu vavohu) universe in which we find ourselves, ordering it into light and darkness, air and water, land and sea, etc.  The building of the Mishkan, then, is a story of bringing order to the Israelites’ return to their ancestors’ nomadism in the desert.  Each story sends its own message, so important for us to hear in this unprecedented time in our lives: there is order after the chaos.

We often say that Camp Ramah is more than a summer camp. The environment in which we live today is testing that presumption, and we have begun to respond through the creation of a virtual community.  We know many of our campers, staff, parents and alumni are also in touch with each other outside of the formal programming we have begun to offer. Know that our year-round team, including Director Emeritus Rabbi David Soloff and myself, as well as our staff from the recent and not-so-recent past, are here to connect – please email or call to check-in. It will provide both you and us with spiritual and emotional reinforcement (chizzuk).

With wishes for safety and health of mind and body,
Jacob Cytryn
Executive Director