We recognize that our world is significantly different this year and we will be transparent about how we’re proceeding on the path towards a safe and successful summer 2021. While we are planning for a typical Camp summer, we will continue to review local and Federal guidelines and the recommendations of the Ramah Darom Medical Committee and of the American Camp Association.
We promise to continue open communication regarding how the COVID-19 pandemic may impact Camp Ramah Darom: our Camp dates, session lengths, camper capacity and overall plans for summer 2021.
We know that the world is in a constant state of change with new information unfolding almost daily. Amidst this unpredictability, we have crafted three pillars to help guide us in our planning:
- Safety First: Keeping our chanichim (campers) and tzevet (staff) healthy and protected will guide us in making decisions for what we can and can’t do, and how we may need to adjust along the way. We are working closely with a variety of agencies and organizations to establish protocols for operating in a safe and healthy manner. Key stakeholders involved in the development of our protocols include:
- Ramah Darom Medical Committee
- American Camp Association
- Georgia Department of Health
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
- National Ramah Medical Committees
- Foundation for Jewish Camping
- Kids Need Camp: We are doing everything we can to GET KIDS TO CAMP – in one space, away from technology, playing outside and having fun together.
- Stronger Together: Keeping our community connected during the coming year through programming is essential. We will be offering a variety of virtual gatherings and activities including new camper programs, aidah (age group) activities, community Kabbalat Shabbat and Havdalah programs and more. We are also beginning to welcome many Camp families back to our campus in Clayton via Mishpachah B’Ramah, our physically-distanced family getaways. We plan to partner with our families, community Rabbis and schools to see how Ramah Darom can best support our chanichim (campers) and keep the Ramah spirit strong. We recognize that a summer away from Camp with a 22-month gap, as opposed to a 10-month gap between summers, requires a greater need for connectedness and support.
Each summer our staff works hard to acclimate campers to the experience of being away from home and to support kids in making new friends as they leave behind the digital world. They guide children and teens in their efforts to try out new skills as they stretch beyond their comfort zone. While we know that our campers have experienced disruption to their lives in countless ways, we are confident that Camp remains a place where kids can relax and have fun, connect with friends, explore Judaism and feel a sense of belonging. We have an exceptional team of camper care professionals who will continue the work of meeting campers where they are at and partnering with parents to support a successful summer at Camp.
A new resource we have created this year is the Yoetz Porch. This will be a place for social and emotional support and resources for parents and families. We hope that these resources will be of help to families throughout the year and as campers return to Camp this summer.
Camp readiness is an important consideration in any summer, and we know you may be wondering whether your child is ready for a first experience, or ready to make the shift from two to four weeks away. We know that currently, we can’t rely on practice sleepovers or overnight school trips as indicators. However, there are many ways to assess how your child might adjust to a camp setting based on current information. As we get closer to Camp, we will be sharing specific ideas on how to best prepare your child for a successful summer.
We are also here to support you throughout the year. Please schedule a time to speak to a member of our camper care team about how to make the best determination for your child for Kayitz (Summer) 2021.
Yes, we are here to help in any way we can. If your family is in need of additional support to deal with these trying times, please reach out to Elana Yeffet, our Camper Care Coordinator.
We encourage you to sign up for one or more of our virtual information sessions to connect with other Camp families, ask questions, meet our team of professionals and more.
It is too soon for us to know the recommendations and procedures for the summer. We are working closely with our medical and health advisors to assess and design our safety and health procedures and we will keep you updated.
We are planning for a full return to Camp in summer 2021. Should we be required to limit summer attendance, or in the event the Ramah Darom Medical Committee or the Georgia Department of Health determine we are not able to operate Camp in 2021 due to COVID-related issues, we will offer full refunds to all affected families. However, if a family chooses to voluntarily withdraw prior to any cancellation announcement, or if a family chooses to voluntarily withdraw even if it has been determined we can safely operate Camp, they will be subject to the standard cancellation policy above. In these cases, we will address each situation individually and make exceptions only where there would be a clear medical risk to the camper as determined by the Chair of our Medical Committee. We appreciate your understanding and will communicate any changes, if required, as early as possible.
Unless you have previously arranged for your 2020 financial aid to be carried over, families will need to reapply for financial aid. We evaluate each year independently and we want to provide as much support as possible given any current situation your family may be facing.
More information is available on our Financial Aid page.
While first-year campers are still eligible for the One Happy Camper grant, the application will not roll over and thus you will need to complete the form again. Information and the application can be found here: jewishcamp.org/one-happy-camper
First, thank you for your support. We are experiencing significant financial loss from the COVID-19 pandemic. We are truly grateful for any help you might provide right now. Please support the Campaign to Inspire Ramah Darom’s Future, our COVID-19 Emergency Fundraiser.
If your questions weren’t answered here, please schedule a call and we will be happy to answer any further questions you might have.