Broken Hearts, Clear Minds

 

With profound sadness, we have cancelled our previously-planned, in-person programming for Summer 2020 at both Ramah Day Camp, and Camp Ramah in the Poconos, including our Tikvah Family Camp and our Alumni Weekend.

 

Below are resources, details, and opportunities for our camp community to come together and support one another during this time. Click here for information specific to the Overnight Camp. 

 

Read the full message to our community here.

Stay tuned and keep an eye out for more programming from Ramah Day Camp and Camp Ramah in the Poconos.

Below are resources to help you navigate this disappointment and loss and help you support your children, and yourself, through this difficult time.

+ How to Help your Child(ren)
+ Coping Tips for Tzevet (staff)
+ Social Stories

Additional Resources:

Supporting Kids During the Coronavirus Crisis (Child Mind Institute)
Resources for Supporting Childrens’ Emotional Well-being during COVID 19 (Child Trends)
COVID 19 Resource Guide for Children and Adults (JED Foundation)
That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief (Harvard Business Review)
Brenae Brown on Empathy
How to be Your Best Self in Times of Crisis (TED Talks)
Helping Teens Make Room for Uncomfortable Emotions (New York Times)
Emotional Regulation (Centervention)

If you are concerned about the duration, intensity or frequency of your child’s response, please reach out to a mental health professional in your area or one of our Camp mental health support staff, listed below.

Camp Ramah in the Poconos Mental Health Support Team

Rachael Abrams
Director of Camper Care

Orlee Krass
Tikvah Director

What factors did you consider in making this decision?

As a Pennsylvania camp, we must follow all state and county guidelines. At this time, State of Pennsylvania ordinances do not permit gatherings of more than 10 people - and there is no indication that gatherings of over 500 will be permitted anytime this summer.

But the single most important consideration was the health and safety of our campers and staff. We consulted extensively with the National Ramah Medical Committee, and reviewed guidance from the American Camp Association and the CDC. It is clear that everyone acknowledges there will be no way to ensure that there will be no COVID-19 in a Camp setting this summer. With that knowledge, we determined that we could not risk infecting our Camp community – or risk having someone from Camp bring the virus back to their home community.

Why did you decide to cancel now? Couldn’t you have left the option for second session open?

We certainly considered leaving the door open for second session; but in light of the medical information, it is clear that in the absence of a vaccine, there will be no way to ensure that there is no COVID-19 at Camp this summer. We believe being upfront with our Camp community is the right and responsible thing to do.

Furthermore, even if we could open this summer, it is becoming increasingly clear that there will be significant challenges to operating as we are used to. Food supply chains, medical supply chains, a lack of international staff, and various other details that allow for safe camp operations this summer are likely to be challenges to camp operations until the pandemic has subsided.

Why don’t you just run shorter or smaller Camp sessions later in the summer?

We are open to that idea, but right now it isn’t clear what might be safe and possible for later in the summer. If there is a safe and sensible opportunity to offer programming at Ramah Poconos and/or Ramah Day Camp this summer, we absolutely will.

What about Tikvah Family Camp or Alumni Weekend?

Unfortunately, all Summer 2020 programs have been cancelled. While there may be a chance for some social-distancing programming for our camp community, we feel it is best to cancel all previously scheduled programming at this time.

Will you be offering “virtual camp” online?

While nothing replaces the magic of being at camp, the Ramah Poconos team continues working on ways to provide opportunities for engagement over the summer. To begin, we are scheduling camper edah Zoom meetings for the coming days and weeks as part of our Communication Plan. Looking forward to the rest of the summer, our team is hard at work designing the most meaningful virtual and physically-distant experiences we possibly can to offer our community this summer.

What about my family bill?

In about a week all Camp families will receive an email with details offering three options:

  1. Donate all or a portion of your 2020 tuition to Camp Ramah in the Poconos and Ramah Day Camp. These donations will be matched on a 1:1 basis by our All Together Now COVID-19 Relief Fund. Please know that 95% of our year-round revenue is based on camp tuition, and even without camp occurring this season, we anticipate a 2.6 million dollar deficit. Please consider donating as much as you can in support of the year-round team, our facilities upkeep, and the virtual programming we continue to offer during this time.
  2. Roll-Over all or a portion of your 2020 tuition to Camp Ramah in the Poconos and Ramah Day Camp. Roll-overs are helpful in that they will help our organization with cash flow. If you are unable to donate any or all of your tuition, we ask that you please consider rolling-over as much of your tuition as possible as a credit towards next summer.
  3. You can request a refund of any or all of your paid tuition. Families will have until June 30th to make a final decision regarding your family bill. Anyone who does request a refund should know that refunds will be offered on a rolling basis over the course of the next 90 days. If you would need to accelerate your individual refund due to a pressing financial need, please communicate with us and we will do our best to accommodate your request.

What if I was awarded a scholarship for summer 2020?

In terms of our own scholarship process, due to the likelihood that many families will experience financial hardship in the coming months, we have decided to launch our scholarship process earlier in the coming year, helping families to know exactly how much assistance Ramah can offer them towards summer 2021.

What about summer staff? What will happen to them?

As soon as we made the announcement, we held a Tzevet (Staff) Town Hall so that our staff could gather and process this news together. Unfortunately, since we will not be operating camp this summer we are not be able to hire them as we usually do. We are exploring options for continued staff training, leadership development, online programming creation, and even socially-distanced regional programming. We hope that we can find ways of ensuring that our fabulous tzevet have meaningful summers as well. Of course, we cannot wait for the opportunity to re-hire staff for summer 2021.

What about Ramah’s Sukkot Retreat planned for the Fall?

We have not yet made decisions about our fall programs and we expect a final decision on Fall retreats sometime in August. We certainly hope to be able to offer these programs again.

What are the 2021 camp dates?

Ramah Day Camp Full Summer: June 21, 2021 - August 13, 2021
Tikvah Family Camp: August 18, 2021 - August 22, 2021

When will registration for 2021 open?
This summer

If you have any other questions, or would like to speak to a member of our year round team, please reach out to us directly. Contact Information below.

If you have other questions or want to speak to us, please be in touch.

Joel Seltzer
Executive Director
joels@ramahpoconos.org

Elana Rivel
Day Camp Director
elanar@ramahpoconos.org

Rachael Abrams
Director of Camper Care & Staff Development
rachaela@ramahpoconos.org

Orlee Krass
Tikvah Director
orleek@ramahpoconos.org

It is important for our entire community to understand the devastating financial impact this decision will have on our not-for-profit organization. Supporting our year-round professional team, our maintenance crew, and the upkeep of our campuses are all costs that rely on camper tuition. We are asking all parents to consider donating all or a portion of their paid tuition to camp at this time. All tuition donations made back to camp will be generously matched dollar for dollar because of the support of a generous donor family, our board of directors, and the All Together Now fund of JCamp180 and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.

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