The Dominican Republic
Eligible Grades: Entering 10th and 11th grade
With over 60 years of experience offering amazing domestic wilderness adventures, Ranch Camp is excited for our second year offering a service-focused international masa (journey) to the Dominican Republic! With a strong focus on service, teens will experience service work improving water resources, working with local youth and supporting other infrastructure projects near the beach side village of Puerta Plata. This community will be our home away from home, allowing us to immerse in the culture of this small, vibrant community. An undercurrent of this whole experience will be learning alongside 3 Adventures home bast staff and focusing daily on the concept of Omed, which means “to stand.” We will be find ways through active social justice to see what is means to stand what what we believe in, stand up for others, and to stand for ourselves.
Check out the 2016 Trip Video (Short Version) created by last summers’ R.C.I. campers!
Service Projects: Service Projects will focus on two main areas: infrastructure and youth work. Campers should expect to participate in over 30 hours of community service on the Dominican Republic RCI trip.
- Infrastructure projects – Campers will volunteer on sustainable projects, including the construction of schools and medical clinics from recycled materials. Students will also work on a variety of other projects to impact the health of the community, including distributing and monitoring water filtration systems, installing clean-burning cooking stoves, and building vertical gardens.. Rural Dominican Republic is home to some of the lowest standards of living in the country with many residents lacking running water, electricity and sewage. Projects are done alongside dedicated locals and will depend on the actual needs of the communities at the time.
- Youth Work will be a chance for our group to take a lead role in organizing special activities for the children living in Puetra Plata and support the local community by giving the children opportunities to play, learn and interact. We will work as a group to plan and execute an amazing program! This is also our chance to speak with, play with, and give back to the next generation of our host community. Most importantly, you will be a friend and role model to young children who have limited exposure to the rest of the world.
- Jewish Connections in Sosua – One question you may be asking it, why the Dominican Republic? And while there is more than one answer (opportunities for meaningful service, unique and beautiful surroundings), what attracted us was the Jewish history surrounding the Dominican Republic. During WWII, European Jews were seeking refuge from hostilities in Europe and were looking for places to migrate. Few countries took a stand to help with one exception being the Dominican Republic, who offered land and agricultural work to Jews fleeing from Nazi oppression. Thus the farming and dairy producing community of Sosua was born and became home to Jews from throughout Europe. We will learn a lot more about this story and meet people who experienced this miraculous and tumultuous journey.
Itinerary 2016 Example
June 24th – Arrive at Ranch Camp
June 25th – Get to know your RCI group and learn about the history of the DR, specifically of the recent Jewish history of Sosua and prepare for travel!
June 26th – Leave for the Dominican Republic! Arrive in Santa Domingo, meet with Global Leadership Adventure Guides and head to nearby Puerta Plata where we will be based in the GLA dormitory. **International families – there can be opportunities for families wishing to join us from overseas to meet us in the Dominican without first flying to Colorado – please contact us for more information.**
June 26th & 30th – Work directly with the local communities of Puerta Plata assisting projects related to water filtration, building schools and medical clinics and working directly with local youth. Time each day will be spent contributing meaningfully to these crucial, on-going projects. When we have completed the days portion of community service we will still have time to interact with local communities learning about their vibrant culture, visit the beautiful Carribean beaches that are right on our doorstep and see other amazing pieces of the Dominican Republics beautiful culture and natural resources.
July 1st – As we move into Shabbat we will be leaving the Puerta Plata GLA base after breakfast and traveling the short distance to Sosua. Here we will spend the day relaxing near the turquoise waters of the Caribbean. As the sun sets we will move into a Shabbat experience. We are also very hopeful to be able to partner with the Jewish community of Sosua for an authentic Shabbat experience! More to come as we work with needs of the Sosua community. Overnight in Sosua or back at the GLA home base.
July 3rd – 4th – For two days we will partner again with the local community to support infrastructure projects, spend time with local communities, hike to see beautiful landmarks and visit other amazing places!
July 4th – Travel day as we fly home to Denver and return to our Ranch Camp community!! **Families wishing either to meet their camper in the Dominican Republic and continue traveling or to have their campers fly home or to a different location directly from the Dominican Republic should contact us well in advance to sort out logistics.**
July 5th – 9th – We will spend our final days and Shabbat at Ranch Camp home reconnecting with our camp community, sharing our story with our Ranch Camp family, and with the Denver community, and experiencing a few final days of what made us fall in love with Ranch Camp.
July 10th – Our journey ends as each RCI participant will go their separate ways carrying with them the memories of an amazing, impact filled summer experience!! **See below for options to extend your summer to include Teen Village or SIT/WIT programs at a discount.**
Safety = Our Top Priority – On any and all of our Ranch Camp experiences, safety is our top concern and a trip to the Dominican is no different! To ensure a smooth, successful adventure we have chosen to work closely with Global Leadership Adventures who will be our professional guides in country. They were chosen with intention and in large part due to their exemplary safety record not only in the Dominican Republic but around the globe. Global Leadership Adventures will be providing us professional international and local guides, proven transportation and secure lodging. They will also provide us with around the clock, 24-hour in-country emergency support and International SOS Evacuation Insurance. Each camper will also be required to be a part of our group travel insurance policy and will be also required to carry personal health insurance. As with all of our trip camps, our staff will also have a plan from each point on the trip detailing the nearest hospital and health clinic. .
Travel and Documentation – All participants are required to have a valid passport to enter the Dominican Republic. Participants traveling from the US will not need a travel visa – if you are joining us from outside the US, please check your country’s individual requirements. The CDC recommends entering the DR with the following additional vaccines: Hepatitis A and Typhoid. As stated above, each participant must carry personal health insurance. Ranch Camp will also provide a comprehensive group travel insurance policy with will cover in-county health needs, emergency room visits and travel needs such as luggage. The price of your trip includes round-trip international airfare from Denver International Airport and we ask everyone traveling with from Ranch Camp use this service. If you are hoping to join us from out of the country, please contact us well in advance! **Please keep in mind that we will be continually monitoring the Zika Virus. The CDC has currently not restricted travel.**
Food and Dietary Restrictions – As opposed to other Ranch Camp experiences, and due to being in places where it is difficult to access food that has a Kosher certification, the RCI Dominican trip will be Kosher style. There will be no mixing of meat and dairy, no pork, or other restricted foods and, whenever possible, we will be providing food that is Kosher. However, we will be eating food from local communities which will not be certified Kosher. We will be able to support most dietary restrictions including vegetarian, vegan, nut-free, etc. If you have severe food allergies requiring an EpiPen, or a heavily restricted diet, please notify us well in advance so we can make sure that we are able to accommodate you with our local food sources.
Options for Program Extension at Ranch Camp
RCI + Teen Village – (entering Grade 10) This tremendous combination will be give you A LOT to write about in any “what I did this summer” essays and on your college personal statement!! To add Teen Village to your RCI Dominican trip you will return to Ranch Camp and Teen Village will begin the same day RCI Dominican ends. A visiting day will be allowed for any families interested. Teen Village is the capstone Ranch Camp experience and is not to be missed. It includes a month-long Tiyul n’oded, TV participants will journey out on a 21-day adventure outside the gates of Ranch Camp. This intensive wilderness experience includes a 10-day backpacking trip, white water rafting, hot springs, mountain biking, canyoneering, festivals, rodeos and more! To learn more, click HERE. **Signing up for both RCI + TV and you will receive 15% off Teen Village!**
RCI + SIT – (entering Grade 11) A perfect complement to the RCI Dominican is to return to camp for the iconic Staff-In-Training summer! A summer spent at camp as leaders, our SIT group lives in cabins, supporting cabin staff and are also able to choose a specialty area at camp to specialize with such as ropes course, music, sports, art, swimming, etc. As a part of the SIT cohort, you will be mentored by camp staff to be the future leaders of the JCC Ranch Camp!! To learn more about the SIT program, click HERE. **Signing up for both RCI + SIT and you will receive 10% off Dominican Republic R.C.I.**
RCI + WIT – (Grade 10 – 11) For our horse enthusiasts we invite you to stay and join us for our amazing Wrangler-in-Training Program! **Signing up for both RCI + WIT and you will receive 10% off Dominican Republic R.C.I.**