Camper Support at Camp Ramah in Canada
At Camp Ramah in Canada, we strive to ensure that all campers have a successful summer. To do this, we have a primary focus on each camper’s safety and providing a safe space to address their mental, emotional, spiritual, physical and social health and well-being.
Camp Ramah in Canada is unique in that we have a Camper Care Team that consists of our Medical and Yoetzet Teams, and is directly supported by the Camp Directors.
- Medical Team: The Medical Team at Camp works in The Marp and is always staffed by a Nurse and a Doctor. The Medical Team is responsible for the management and delivery of medical care, physical health and distribution of medication for campers and staff.
- Yoetzet: Each Edah (unit, age group) has a Yoetzet (advisor). Our Yoetzet are all professionals that work with children and are often parents themselves. At camp, the Yoetzet spends time with chanichim and tzevet so that they may better understand the individual, the group and their dynamics. Yoetzet are our coaches, advisors and support systems.
To set everyone up for success, we encourage communication and planning. If you feel your camper has needs that we should know about, please be in touch with Naomi Dzaldov, Camper Care Coordinator, email@example.com so that we can put you in touch with a member of the Camper Care Team. Having these conversations helps our Camper Care Team get to know your child and ensures that if challenges arise throughout the summer, we are prepared to support them in a way that helps everyone feel successful. We want to hear from you!
A conversation with a member of our Camper Care Team will be an opportunity for you to share information about your child as well as strategies that you think may work for them throughout the summer. Some successful strategies that we have utilized in the past have been supporting sessions with pre-existing therapists, daily quiet time or small schedule modifications. It is always easier to have these conversations before the summer than after camp starts. We want to be proactive when supporting your child.
Most times, these conversations will create a happier, more successful summer for everyone. However, we need to acknowledge that there can be times when a camper’s needs cannot be supported at camp. Our cabins require campers and staff to live in a congregate living environment. Our camp counsellors are young adults, many of whom were campers themselves and are trained to be camp counsellors, not professional therapists. Campers of all ages are given age-appropriate opportunities for independence, while most of the day they are accompanied by at least one staff member, we are not able to provide one-to-one support at all times. Our hope is that all campers, perhaps with some support are able to fully participate in the vast majority of camp’s programming and navigate our day-to-day schedule.
Should we identify a camper before or during the summer that is unable to meet these expectations, the Camp Director, in consultation with the Camper Care Team will determine the camper’s ability to enroll or remain at camp.
Homesickness is a normal part of the camp experience. For most campers, feeling homesick abates over the first few days as campers are adjusting to camp. There are some things that parents/guardians can do help manage homesickness before campers arrive:
- Some worry and apprehension is normal, especially for first time campers, but campers that want to be at camp and are part of the decision to attend are usually the most successful
- Let the kids know that you want them to have a great time at camp! It’s okay to say things like “I’ll miss you AND I want you to have a great time.”
- Let them know that they can have fun and feel homesick at the same time.
- Help kids feel comfortable by encouraging sleepovers with friends.
It is our experience that calling home is not helpful for campers as they navigate feeling homesick. It can disrupt the process of adjusting to camp and can lead to greater worry or stress for them.
Our counsellors, supported by the Camper Care Team are well equipped and trained to manage homesickness and care for our campers. If there are any significant or ongoing issues, your child’s yoetzet will be in touch with you.