Saying Yes to Trying New Things: Joy at Camp
by Annie Glasser, Assistant Director, Ramah Day Camp

At 24 years-old I rode a bus to sleepaway camp for the first time. I was on my way to an in-person interview, in the middle of the second week of Camp Ramah in Wisconsin’s 2018 season. I was surrounded on that bus by 7 and 8 year-olds from Minnesota and Iowa who I’m confident were experiencing many of the same emotions I was: trepidation, anticipation and excitement. In my few short days at camp that summer, similar to our Ruach Ramah campers’ experiences, I had a glimpse of all that camp offers as I stood arm-in-arm with staff at the end of the Zimriyah (song festival), met my incredible coworkers, saw the ruach (spirit) of the camp staff and watched campers laugh and play on the gorgeous campgrounds. I left with an overwhelming feeling of osher, joy. I knew in those moments that this job would both bring me joy and allow me to bring joy to others.

In the past four years I’ve experienced so many joyful moments at camp. In no particular order, here are 10 of my favorites, as six-word-stories:

  • Campers shrieking, excited for first day
  • Blowing up balloons in the rain
  • Butter slip ‘n slide – oy, wow!
  • Virtual Nivonim canoe trip, a success
  • Covid-free, masks off, water fight!
  • Shiluv singing on Friday after dinner
  • Saying yes to trying new things
  • Unsuspecting camper stars in eidah musical
  • Chipwiches! Chipwhiches! Chipwiches! On Saturday night
  • Kochavim wins first annual lip-sync battle

As I get ready to transition to a new role at Ramah Day Camp this summer, I’m grateful for these past experiences and excited for so many more. I know I’ll continue to marvel each summer at the ability of campers to find joy in the most authentic versions of themselves, and for staff to bring joy to campers, campers to staff, campers to campers, staff to staff – every direction. I can’t wait for the joy that kayitz 2022 will bring for all of our community members at both Camp Ramah in Wisconsin and Ramah Day Camp in Chicagoland. And hopefully, our campers and staff will carry that joy with them home from camp and infuse it into their daily lives throughout the year until they return back to their happy place.

Annie has worked at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin for almost four years, most recently as Program Director. Though she is sad she won’t be in Conover to strengthen her ninja skills on the new course this summer, Annie is very excited to to join the Ramah Day Camp team as Assistant Director!