Planning for Camp in Summer 2021

We are excited to open our doors once again this coming kayitz (summer), and we are confident that we will have all of the necessary protocols in place to ensure a safe, healthy, and fun-filled experience for our campers and staff.

 

We are sharing our blueprint for how we will operate safely this summer (and with our Ramah ruach intact!) while we manage a COVID-sensitive environment. Remember, we are camp people. We are – and will remain – flexible through this period of planning and into our summer operations, and we appreciate your flexibility as well.

 

We are working with the National Ramah Day Camp Medical Committee (chaired by Camp Ramah in the Poconos Medical Committee chair Dr. Mark Joffe), with the American Camp Association, and the CDC in making sure we have clearly stated protocols and best practices in place. We also have a local medical team who will be working with us throughout the spring and summer to refine the protocols based on the Montgomery County Department of Health’s guidelines and to consult as situations arise.

 

Our plan for safe and fun operations for kayitz 2021 (June 23 – August 13) includes:

Campers will be in tzrif (bunk) groupings of 25 campers maximum, with approximately 3-4 staff per tzrif. In order to protect all of our campers and staff, masks will be worn by everyone, at all times, aside from eating and swimming.

As much as possible, camp programming will be run outside, under tents, or on our fields. We are partnering with Perelman Jewish Day School and will have access to their school-year tents in addition to tents specifically purchased for our camp use.

The building will be used for changing rooms, bathrooms, our main office and our mirpa’ah, our nurse’s station. Ventilation systems are already in place inside, including fans, windows and upgraded filters. Additional portable bathroom facilities and washing stations will be placed around campus as well.

Campers will still participate in our range of programming including the ropes course (with new elements!), sports, omanut (arts and crafts), performing arts, teva (nature), swim, and more, all done according to our safety protocols.

For our older campers, who generally have a great deal of choice in their daily schedule, we are looking to provide increased variety with some fun additions along with some opportunities for choice throughout the week.

We will not be running our typical out-of camp trip days, though we are exploring controlled-environment hiking and other outdoor camping experiences for our older campers.

Lunch will be eaten outside, by tzrif. Due to COVID related protocols, we will not be able to offer hot lunch for our campers this summer. Families will be asked to send in dairy/pareve lunches. We will continue to provide morning and afternoon snacks.

We will be providing daily transportation to and from camp. Campers will be seated, one per seat (aside from siblings), in assigned seats, loaded from the back of the bus with all windows open. Our Director of Transportation is monitoring what is happening in the school system and we will adjust as appropriate. If needed, we will add busses to routes in order to limit the number of campers on a bus, and/or will use larger busses.

We will be offering our daily swim program. We will provide both skill-based swim instruction and time for free swim, while limiting the number of campers in the pool at any given time. Campers will change at camp so as to limit potential contact with non-camp individuals and spaces. Transportation to and from the pool will be provided in a similar fashion to that of the daily transportation (mentioned above).

Weekly Havdalah and Shabbat celebrations, Yom Yisrael and Maccabiah, will happen this summer! They may not look the same as in previous years, but they will remain a part of what makes RDC so special. Current protocols won’t allow us to have outside family and guests visiting our campus this summer, yet we are still imagining creative ways to bring some of these camp traditions into your homes!

It is our intention to offer the traditional Sha’ar program, with a mix of Israeli and North American staff. As we move into the spring and better understand the implications of visas, vaccines and housing our Israeli staff, we will determine if we need to make any programmatic changes. We will, of course, continue to be in communication about this.

Rainy days are bound to happen. With our tented spaces on campus, we anticipate being able to offer a typical programmatic day in a light rain situation. For heavy rainstorms with thunder/lightning, we will be able to offer programming with the use of the PJDS building, our year-round offices on campus, and space in Gratz College. If we are expecting a more severe weather situation, or multiple-days of such, we would potentially move camp virtually.

This new form, for all families to complete, is to inform us of any social-emotional, mental and/or physical health changes your family has had this year, either as a result of COVID-19, or for other reasons. It will help us in planning for summer, assessing individual camper needs, and ensuring we create an environment of support and care. This form will be available in your CampIn Touch accounts by Friday, March 5 and will be due by May 1st, along with the other forms. We thank you in advance for being our partners and taking the time to complete it thoroughly.

To reduce the risk of spread of infections, and allow for rapid identification of suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19, the American Camp Association handbook recommends limiting non-essential visitors into camp. Therefore, we will be unable to support drop-in tutors or therapists on site this summer. If you would like to discuss this further, please be in touch directly with Elana at ElanaR@Ramahpoconos.org.

We know that camp affordability is a struggle for many families, and even more so this year. We are fortunate to have donors who believe in the impact of sending children to Jewish camp, and to Ramah. We encourage you to apply for financial assistance through our scholarship process. Once your child is enrolled with a deposit, the forms will be in your account. If you are unable to make the $500 deposit but would like to apply to camp, please be in touch with either Elana, our Director, Elanar@ramahpoconos.org or with our Registrar, Debbie Lacks, DebbieL@Ramahpoconos.org.

We will continue top update this page as we get closer to the summer. If you would like to discuss any of these or additional concerns with me, please email Elana Rivel, our Day Camp Director, to schedule a time to speak with me.

 

We are laser focused in bringing fun, educational, social, and joyfully-Jewish programming to all of our campers and staff this summer – and it is through your trust and partnership we will achieve this goal.

 

ENROLL TODAY