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 our mind. But as John Lennon noted, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans”, and so in an instant, the trajectory of our life was changed forever.
We agreed to serve as the co-directors, and to say the least, our plans were ambitious:
- Provide a continuity in leadership that the camp had been lacking
- Bring much needed updates to the physical site
- Enhance Judaic and Israeli engagement aspects of the camp program
- Put in place systems to increase the safety and functionality of tripping camps
- Improve the quality of program offerings and enable campers to customize their camp experience
- Maintain the character and history of camp that we and so many others held dear, and re-engage the alumni community
I am pleased to say that over the last 8 years, we have achieved these goals and established a course that will enable camp to excel well into the future. And so it is incredibly bittersweet for Gilad and I to say goodbye and step down as co-directors for the camp. I started attending Ranch Camp as a camper at the age of 12 and have only missed 4 summers since then. Gilad and I met at Ranch Camp 14 years ago and our professional and personal lives have been intricately connected to the camp since that time. In short, although we will not be working for Ranch Camp day in and day out moving forward, Ranch Camp has been and always will be our home.
We want to express how extraordinarily appreciative we are for the opportunity to serve Ranch Camp in this capacity. One of our favorite aspects of this work has been to witness the growth of campers and staff over the years. Through their growth, we also were able to learn and grow ourselves. We are grateful for the chance to lead a place that we love so much and are proud for what we have been able to achieve as directors. We are also excited to see how Ranch Camp will continue to grow into the future. We know that many families and staff members have developed a strong connection to us personally and trust in us professionally, and we want to assure you that we are confident that the camp will continue to have a strong leadership team moving forward and that they will create amazing summer camp experiences for years to come. As Gilad and I like to say, Ranch Camp was before us, and certainly will be after us.
While we do not know exactly what the future holds for us, we will definitely remain in Colorado and active within the community- we hope to see you around! The life of a camp director, while incredibly rewarding, is also very challenging. We are ready to resume a more “normal” lifestyle in which we can spend more quality time as a family and pursue the things we love outside of camp. A year ago we moved to our own beautiful horse property to the south of Larkspur and we are selfishly looking forward to a less hectic schedule that allows us to spend time at home, doing DIY improvements and gardening, riding our horses around the neighborhood, and investing time in our most precious camper, Sivan Shwartz, our almost 2-year old daughter. It is our hope and intent to stay involved with camp in a lay capacity and continue to give guidance and support to professional camp staff. We hope you will wish us well on our way, as we are very excited to start writing the next chapter of our story.
We would like to thank Gina (McReynolds) Judd, our phenomenal Assistant Director and friend for her amazing leadership, support, and camaraderie over the past 11 years that we have worked together. As a team, we have built something beautiful and lasting. Thank you to parents, campers and alumni for participating in camp and helping us build memories that last a lifetime – without you, we would have just been very qualified people with an amazing facility and program with nothing to do. Gratitude to our camp donors and advisory committee members that gave of themselves financially and with their time to support scholarships, capital projects, operations, and other initiatives. A special thank you to Melinda Goldrich for her considerable generosity, friendship, and wisdom – your commitment to facility improvements over the last decade has touched almost every aspect of the site, while still preserving the character and feel of Ranch Camp. And to the staff that have served with us and beside us over the years, we thank you for working tirelessly to create an environment that positively impacts the lives of children; although the work was hard and the days were long, we all know that we could never give as much as we took away.
With love, appreciation, and humility,
Miriam and Gilad
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