Posts in Staff Leadership Training
Ramah at Disneyland

A group of thirty participants at the January 2018 Bert B. Weinstein Institute, Ramah’s winter leadership conference, wrapped up their time in California with a brand-new Ramah experience - at Disneyland! This incredible four-hour Ramah Disneyland leadership training, entitled "Cultivating a Leader’s Impact,” was a highlight for the group, whose members represented our cohorts of “vatikim” (college sophomores), Ramah College Network Fellows, Ramah Service Corps Fellows, and rashei edah (division heads).

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Our Inspirational 2017 National Ramah Spring Leadership Training Conference

At the annual four-day National Ramah Spring Leadership Training Conference (“Winer”) last month, incoming rashei edah (division heads), Tikvah (special needs) staff, and Daber Fellows (Hebrew facilitators and ambassadors), came together at Ramah New England to train with Ramah professional staff, plan for the summer, and do a little rikud as well.

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Investing in Our Future: National Ramah Spring Leadership Training Conference 2016

The National Ramah Spring Leadership Training Conference brought together 75 Ramah staff members last week, marking the beginning of the 2016 camp season. (View the highlight video). The conference, which was held under sunny skies at Camp Ramah Darom in Clayton, Georgia, featured tracks for rashei edot (division heads) and staff members of Ramah Tikvah (special needs) programs, as well as Daber Fellows, who will focus on bolstering Hebrew at Ramah camps. As always, in addition to its array of educational content, the institute was infused with ruach at every level, from tefillot to rikkud to the inspirational “Ramah Talks” that staff prepared to capture their Ramah stories.

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2016 National Ramah Winter Leadership Training Conference

The 2016 National Ramah Winter Leadership Training Conference, held from January 4-7, was a tremendous success. This year’s gathering took place at Camp Ramah in California in Ojai under a mix of sun and much-needed rain. The four-day conference featured several tracks, including the Weinstein Institute for Counselor Training for second-year madrichim, as well as training for counselors of campers with disabilities (Tikvah), veteran staff (“vatikim”), division heads (rashei edah), and Ramah Service Corps Fellows. The 105 attendees at this year’s conference also included camp directors, assistant directors, and programming staff. Eleven Ramah camps were represented, including our newest camp, Ramah in Northern California. Kayla Levy, one of Ramah NorCal’s first staff members, shared that the inspiring week “embodied the innovation and ruach of camp that makes Ramah more than a two-month experience.”

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To Foster Inclusion, We Must Remember Exclusion

We have all felt exclusion at some points of our lives, but each of us likely forgot about it as quickly as it happened. Such is not the case for the numerous children and young adults with various different disabilities who attend Ramah camps across our network each summer. For them, isolation and exclusion may be the norm. Hopefully their summers at Ramah are different, and regardless of whether they are attending camp as part of a Ramah Tikvah program or an informal program set up to further our goal of inclusion, all staff members at every Ramah have an obligation to make it so.

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Coming Together As One

When you’re a counselor working with campers who have disabilities, you’re always on the lookout for new ways and activities to help engage the campers under your charge. There is no better way to pick up these new tips and tricks than to spend time exchanging information and experiences with other counselors who work with the same population. This is precisely what I did during the last week of May at the National Ramah Spring Leadership Training Conference at Ramah Darom in Clayton, Georgia. I spent the week collaborating with and learning from counselors from other camps all over the country who also work with campers with disabilities.

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Collaboration Is the Key: URJ and Ramah Working Together to Help Campers with Disabilities

For the past five summers, I have had the honor of working for the Mitzvah Corps program at URJ Kutz Camp. Mitzvah Corps is a special needs camping program for teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The program’s mission is to honor the unique characteristics of every camper and provide access to Jewish camping by creating individualized accommodations and modifications that allow every camper to succeed. So when my camp and I heard that National Ramah invited the URJ Camps to their Spring Leadership Training Conference training at Ramah Darom, we saw it as a great opportunity to collaborate with a different camp movement whose mission closely aligned with our own.

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