L’DOR V’DOR, FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION
Since 1953, the JCC Ranch Camp has been creating Jewish memories and friendships that last a lifetime. Located in Colorado’s magnificent Black Forest, the Ranch Camp provides children entering grades 2-11 with a truly western Jewish experience. Over the last 60 years of operation, JCC Ranch Camp has established a strong tradition of community that is built around and devoted to our campers. It is a place where life-long friendships are born, Jewish identities are discovered and nourished, and children are challenged to grow in mind, body and spirit.
Favourite outdoor hobbies:
Mountaineering and hiking, including wild camping when out in the mountains. Wildlife watching, especially of the bird variety. Fell running and mountain marathons. Playing rugby.
4.Why do you enjoy spending time in the outdoors and doing these activities? What do you get out of it and how does this improve your life/who you are?:
I enjoy spending time outdoors because there is so much to see and do. I can get closer to nature and get a huge sense of achievement from spending time in the outdoors. When you stand on top of your first mountain or manage to identify a strange bird you have just seen, it can make you feel great. Knowing what is around you makes walking and experiencing the outdoors that much better.
I love spending time outdoors because it keeps me fit and healthy. I go walking and running out in the hills and in the countryside, it’s far more enjoyable than running or walking on a tredmill in a gym. Every run is different and you can see so much. It is a good time to think and and good walk is a way to relax.
Watching wildlife can be very rewarding, seeing what the environment has to offer, all the sights and sounds.
Tell us a brief story of a time when you overcame a challenge in the outdoors or completed something you were proud of i.e a race, ride,expedition, job, etc?:
I am lucky to have had many challenging and also proud outdoor adventures, but one of the most challenging was completing (almost) the Lochaber Traverse in Scotland. It was actually my second attempt at the traverse, which is a 20 mile crossing of some of the highest mountains in the UK along an exposed ridge-line. It finishes by summiting Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK.
The first attempt had been with 2 friends in December 2008, a winter traverse. This required an early start to make sure we could cross the exposed ridge and get down from the potentially dangerous summit of Ben Nevis before dark. Starting the walk at 3:30am was a bit painful and we needed to reach the top of the ridge-line as it got light. We managed that, but soon realised that the conditions were not ideal. Funnily enough it was a lack of snow that was causing us the most trouble, having to put on and remove crampons for the snowy and icy bits and then take them off for exposed rock was taking too long, we could only see a few feet in front of us and the freezing temperatures coupled with the strong wind was dropping the temperature to -20 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit). One of the photos is from this moment in the trip.
We were not making nearly enough progress along the 20 miles, so a tough decision was made to take one of our planned escape routes down to lower ground and back to the car. Very disappointing. But with all outdoor adventures you learn a lot and the experiences will last forever. We had planned well and were very prepared, but the tough decision was definitely a sensible one as many people can be caught out by pushing on.
That was it for that attempt, but in May 2009, myself and one of our team from the winter went for a second go at it. This time in Spring which meant more daylight and better conditions. It was amazing to see how long it had taken us to get such a short distance on the previous attempt as we raced along the route this time. Making it to the last-but-one summit in 9 hours, looking across at Ben Nevis we decided that the weather conditions were deteriorating rapidly, losing visibility and wind increasing, we dropped off the ridge early and down to the nearby ski centre.
So we still didn’t complete the full 20 mile route, but part of the fun of these outdoor challenges is that they aren’t easy, they do take effort, commitment and some luck to complete. They wouldn’t be as exciting or rewarding if they were anything less. I might head back to Lochaber to give it another try someday, I would be good to give it another go in the winter but hopefully with some more snow and better weather next time…
My wife, Lauren, wears a JCC Ranch Camp vest just about every day, and everywhere she goes, people are eager to share their connection to camp with her. Upon finding out that we just moved to Denver with our two-year-old twins, these conversations are usually followed by sincere offers of help and support. Our social… Read more
Written By Gina McReynolds; Assistant Director, JCC Ranch Camp My greatest hobby (and addiction!) was developed at the age of seven in Ms. Fitch’s first grade class…..reading! After being awarded 2nd place in the first grade year-long reading contest (losing to Neal P. who out-read me by 3 books for a total of 266 books!)… Read more
On a fateful July day in 2007, while Gilad and I were serving as Corral Managers for Ranch Camp, the camp director at the time approached us as we were unloading hay into the barn and asked us if we would be interested in taking over the directorship of camp. The thought had never crossed… Read more