Faces of Israel Camp Tour: Ramah Outdoors, BBYO and Moshava

posted on july 26, 2011

The whirlwind has begun!  Before heading out to visit BBYO Kallah and Moshava Indian Orchard this past weekend, I was invited to add some “Israel oomph” to Ramah Outdoors’ summer line-up.

It was exciting to visit such a young camp at the beginning of its journey and the Ramah in the Rockies campus is charmingly rustic.  I led an evening program for staff on Tuesday night, which featured a high level discussion on the sometimes-humorous and sometimes-frustrating marriage process in Israel.  The Wednesday night program got teen campers thinking about the difficulties of policy-making in Israel, understanding the nuances of the current political system and learning about small victories for religious pluralism in Israel.  Ramah will be using Faces of Israel for follow-up programming during this and future summers.  On a non-related note, the lack of food waste (and presence of delicious healthy food!) at Ramah Outdoors was remarkable and should be a model for other camps.

The trip to Pennsylvania on Thursday was very eventful.  I began traveling at 1:30 am and – due to delays and other mishaps – continued traveling for the next 21 hours.  An exercise in patience.  When I finally made it to Lake Como, I ran a session at BBYO Kallah, which was a definite success.  I broke the kids into groups for a conversation about religion and state issues, and debuted a new discussion prompt:  “Israel should be more like the United States / The United States should be more like Israel / Neither.”  This led to some fun arguments and conversation about whether the countries could or should learn from each other.

I spent the weekend with Moshava where I ran a program for 350+ staff.  Though the room was well over 100 degrees and the program started at 11 pm camp time, it gave both the American and Israeli staff some food-for-thought and initiated conversations that continued through the weekend.  I was thrown a fun surprise when – 5 minutes into the program – the camp director instructed me to give the entire presentation in English and Hebrew since Moshava has a particularly large mishlachat.  This gave my high school Hebrew a particularly good exercising, which is needed from time to time.

A quick post on Camp Coleman is to come, and then I’m off to visit the Wisconsin camps this Thursday!

written by amy beth oppenheimer