Dear Ramah Day Camp and Camp Ramah in Wisconsin communities,
Summers at Camp Ramah are about many things, including – as we like to say – fun, friends, and Jewish living. None of that is possible, however, without our basic core mission: to keep all Ramahniks healthy and safe. That mission leads us to today’s announcement of a delay in the start of our camp seasons at both Camp Ramah in Wisconsin and Ramah Day Camp. At this point, the earliest dates for opening camp would be Tuesday, June 30, at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin and Monday, June 29, at Ramah Day Camp. We will be back in touch by Tuesday, May 26, with an update on the feasibility of starting camp at that time. This decision was reached after extensive consultations with medical, public health, and camp experts and with the full support of our Board of Directors and year-round staff.
Based on the current situation, including available data, government regulations, and our health standards, it appears unlikely that we will be able to run camp at all this summer, though we remain hopeful that we can join together for at least part of the 2020 camp season. Below we lay out additional details regarding our decision-making criteria and next steps for our summer plans.
For those campers enrolled in Ruach Ramah A your enrollment will be updated to Ruach Ramah B and Garinim/Taste of Tikvah A has been shortened by two-weeks. More information can be found on our Frequently Asked Questions page.
Click here to read Jacob’s reflections on this decision and what happens next.
Will we be able to open our camps in Conover, Wisconsin, and Wheeling, Illinois, this summer?
We’re not sure right now. What we do know is that, in order for camp to happen, the current realities surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic need to change in significant ways.
Certain governmental and other relevant organizations would need to give us permission to operate. These include but are not limited to: State of Illinois, Cook County, State of Wisconsin, Vilas County, Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the American Camp Association, and AMSkier, our insurance provider. Additionally, the National Ramah Commission, its medical committee, and our own Ramah Wisconsin medical committee, would need to establish protocols and procedures for keeping our camper and staff populations safe.
What is our timetable moving forward?
By late-May – We will update you by May 26 on plans to open camp beyond our current two-week delay.
By mid-June – We anticipate making a final decision about plans for the summer.
If camp in its traditional manner is not possible this summer, we will do everything we can, within governmental guidelines and best public health practices in place at that time, to offer creative ways for subsets of our camp population to have in-person experiences at one of our campuses or elsewhere during July and August.
It is possible at any time that, due to governmental or other decisions outside of our control, it will become clear that we cannot operate camp at all. If this happens we will immediately be in touch.
If there is no camp this summer, will Camp Ramah survive?
Yes yes yes – with your help! The fiscal implications of closing camp are serious as our business model balances out year-round expenses and investments in the summer – which we have already made – with tuition revenue for the summer. Generations of camper parents, alumni, and philanthropists have mobilized before to find the financial resources to help Ramah survive and thrive. The challenge of this moment, we expect, is unique, and will require everyone’s help to navigate and eventually overcome. All of us stand in the footprints of the founders and supporters of camp for the last 73 years, Jewish visionaries who believed deeply, as we do, in Ramah’s power to shape the lives of our campers and staff, producing friendships, memories of amazing summers, and offering an inspiring vision for Jewish life.
How will you handle summer tuition paid or upcoming payments?
We will not process any additional tuition payments until we have firm plans in place to open camp for an abridged season.
Once a final decision is made about the summer, we will outline options for how you’d like to direct tuition payments for the 2020 summer, which will include:
Donating all or some of tuition to help camp through this unprecedented financial challenge and set Ramah up for success in 2021 and beyond.
Applying tuition towards summer 2021
Requesting a refund
For any billing questions please email us at email@example.com and we will address your personal financial circumstances in a timely manner.
Will Ramah offer any type of programming this summer?
Yes, we plan to continue our Kikar from Afar virtual programming. We will enhance this presence in the middle of June when we were initially scheduled to open. If camp is cancelled, our summer calendar of activities will include camp-wide peulot erev, cabin and eidah focused gatherings, opportunities for engagement with Shabbat programming, and more! In the next couple of weeks we will share more information in addition to our ongoing calendar of programs.
Will there be one decision for both Ramah Day Camp and Camp Ramah in Wisconsin?
Not necessarily. Our goal is to maximize everyone’s ability to partake in a summer at camp, whether at our day camp or overnight camp. The set of factors upon which we will rely to make a decision may yield outcomes in which the camps operate in different ways, for different periods of time, and/or one opens and the other does not.
Will all overnight and day camps in our region or the country make the same decision?
We work closely with two networks of camps: our sister Ramah camps across North America, and a set of Midwest Jewish camps based out of Chicago, Milwaukee, and the Twin Cities. We have the utmost respect for those camps’ professional leadership and defer to them, without judgment, to make decisions in the best interest of their communities. We wish their lay and professional leadership chizzuk (strength) and chochmah (wisdom) in making these difficult decisions.
Please be in touch if you have any additional questions. Also, continue to visit and participate in our Kikar from Afar programming — it has been great to see so many of you staying connected to our Ramah community during this time.
Jacob Cytryn, Executive Director
David Kushnir, Board President