Friday, April 12, 2013

Samara’s Corner

Introducing Ramah in the Poconos!  
Hey everybody! So when I wrote my last blog, it was about my life until today, but I forgot about Ramah and everybody was saying that I needed to write about it, but I decided that it would be much better if I wrote a blog post about it so, here goes…

What Ramah is…
Ramah is a chain of camps in America and Israel that are strictly Jewish, nothing else. There are only two that I know of in America—one in California and one in the Poconos. Naturally, being from the east coast, I went to the one in the Pocono mountains. Ramah has been around for very long time. The first time my mom went to Ramah, she was 9 or 10 years old, and she’s over 30 now, so you do the math. Ramah is not even just one camp anymore. It is a series of camps. I know there is a family camp, a day-care camp and a few others. I even have a t-shirt from 1981 for Ramah (designed by my grandmother), so think on that while I explain my experience. 

*Keep in mind that there are age groups that we're in, too,—Notitzim, Tziirim, HALUTZIM!!!!!, Bogrim, Machon, Shoafim, and lastly. Gesher.

The Rules and Tips of the Road…
The first thing that you have to remember at Ramah is that you are not the only one in your bunk, so when you “borrow” something from someone without asking (which you should never do in the first place, but it happens), give it back the exact same way that you found it, or you are so busted for the REST of the time that you are there. The second thing is that you should only pack the essentials in your duffel and take the rest (nail polish, cards, games, stationery, set books, sunscreen, bug spray, etc.) in another bag, so that you have enough room for everything. The third thing (yes, this is going to be awhile, so sit down and relax, especially if your child is going to Ramah this summer) is do not bring a cell phone to camp. I REPEAT, do NOT bring a cell phone to camp because they train the counselors to sniff out a cell phone from a mile away. Parents, if you give your child an “emergency” phone they WILL take it. iPods are fine, though, as long as they stay in the bunk. The fourth thing is that you should NEVER EVER EVER EVER bring a boy into your bunk if you are a girl, or opposite for a boy. I remember last year, a girl in my bunk had a crush on a boy, and brought him onto our bunk porch and flung the door open while a girl was changing for swim. The girl that did it was almost sent home from camp for the rest of the summer so DONT DO IT. The fifth and final thing is that if you only stick with people that you already know from other places, it WILL get very boring. So shake it up, make some friends, and have fun. That was the rules of the road.

I need to get some stories on set in 3, 2, 1, action… 
My Camp Experience (finally)
The first thing that I did for camp is my least favorite thing—packing. It was hard, organization-challenging, and boring, and I don’t have that many clothes with which to work. When I was done, I didn’t have that many clothes left, so I had to do the laundry every day. They took my duffel a couple days before camp started, so that I didn’t have to shlep it all along on the bus ride. I got on the bus and got there, and didn’t do anything in between except for say goodbye a lot. Then I was at camp, and it was on one of the mountains, so we changed our clocks (which, by the way, are a handy thing to bring on the trip, too), and we unpacked and got ourselves organized. Not just in the bunk, but in our heads, and the first thing that I saw in the bunk was plaques, and I mean in the rafters, on the wall, and a couple on the ceiling, too, and they were the only source of color in the bunk. There was a bathroom with two stalls, two sinks, and two showers, and a schedule for chores and showers on the door. There were also themes for every bunk. Mine was Candyland. (Do not ask me what my plaque was, because I was only there for half of the summer. For the rest of my summer at Ramah, I had a blast, but I want to chunk it down into paragraphs seeing that this one is getting big. 

I need schedules, schedules on the set in 3, 2, 1, action… 
Schedule Confusion
Now we get to the most confusing and best part of camp—ta da, scheduling. Now, I know what you are thinking—“well, I thought that we do that at home.” Well, you don’t. The second day that you are at camp, you figure out your schedule. The first thing that you do is go to the basketball court so that your counselors can show you all of the different sports and stuff like that. Then you go to omanut (oh-mah-newt) and see what arts you can do. Then you go to schiyah (sch like challah, e like eek! and ya like yacht). Yes, I have to do that. And then you go back to your bunk to see what you are going to do. The only things that are required are schiyah, dance, eating, sleeping, and the play. Don’t count on getting into everything that you signed up for, because Ramah is great, but they can’t please everybody. And you can also switch out of things, too. Like, I chose three different kinds of omanut and got two sports and teva. So naturally, I switched out. But they’re not that mean. They do let you have a second choice if you don’t get the choice that you picked. 

And I get the play on set in 3, 2, 1, action…
Yes, there is a group play, and yes, you are required to be part of it.  

There is a play for each of the groups that I mentioned. Every edah has a different play every year. Last summer, our halutzim play was Willy Wonka. We had to memorize all of our lines in Hebrew. I was Violet Beauregard (the girl that turns into a blueberry). It takes about three weeks to finish and make perfect, but it was really worth it.

I love camp and I’m going this summer as a full summer Bogrimer. So, see you there!

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