Traveling Through Time
by Steven Schoenberger, Nivonim 1996

The magic of Camp Ramah in Wisconsin is time travel. The place, its magical ability, allows you, in the blink of an eye, to jump back weeks, months, years, or decades, or to glimpse into the future for yourself and your family.

My Ramah past could begin with my first summer as a camper, in 1994, or could go all the way back to the late 60’s when my mom was a camper and met my dad there, over 50 years ago. In 1999 I met my wife, Louise (Nivo ’97), during staff week. That summer we were both Machon counselors. Fast forward to today, and we are sending our eldest off to his own Nivo summer in 2023. Louise and I hope that having all four of our kids at camp for several weeks next summer will allow us to see into our own future and have a taste of life as empty nesters!

After returning home from my 25th Nivo reunion this past summer, I reflected on the impact the experience has had on my life. In the mid-90’s I never could have imagined that the same group of people I danced with on the kikar and sang with in the Beit Am, would be those whom I danced with at their weddings and sang with at the b’nai mitzvot of their children. The friends I visited in college and traveled with on vacations are the same friends I bunked with on the Givah and paddled with down a river on camping trips.  

Now Louise and I get to see camp through the eyes of our children, Micah, Laila, Rina, and Shira. It is a place they already cherish and a summer home where they are forging the same friendships and creating the same memories we did.

My family and I want to do what we can to strengthen Ramah’s future. To make sure that camp continues to grow and thrive, to help provide the experiences and memories to others that we had the chance to live ourselves, we have committed to being part of Ramah’s Legacy Society. It was around our 13th Nivo reunions that Louise and I first documented this commitment. A few years back I recommitted to this goal and accepted the role of co-chair of the Legacy Society for camp. I continue to share my camp story with others to encourage them to consider making the same commitment and helping to secure the future of camp.  

I have personally witnessed the impact of this type of gift through my grandparents who sent their daughter, my mom, to camp over 50 years ago. That act, then, combined with their own philanthropic planning before they passed away means that even though they did not live to see their great-grandchildren as campers, the connection is maintained. And my children can foster their own connection to camp in a virtuous cycle that makes camp, each of us individually, and our communities better.

Whether your connection to camp began decades ago, or is just emerging today, please click here to access information about the Ramah Wisconsin Legacy Society.  Please join us and over 150 other Ramahniks who have completed a Declaration of Intent and help ensure that the camp experience we loved is available for future generations.