2020 will be a big summer for Ranch Camp. For three nights this summer, my soon-to-be 6-year old twins will sleep in a cabin as campers. They will share that space with kids that grew up with them at the Early Learning School at JCC Denver and at Camp Shai. I cannot begin to express the joy I experience when people I know from the ELS and Camp Shai stop to tell me that they signed their kid up for Ranch Camp.
This year was a fantastic year for Ranch Camp. We received and implemented a two-million dollar gift from the Sturm family. Our survey results were proof positive that Ranch Camp stands among the very best Jewish camps in North America. Ranch Camp was open and utilized for more days outside of the camp season than any year on record. Above all, our community connected with each other in new ways, welcoming new and returning members, and creating a warm and safe space.
One of the most exciting major infrastructure improvements, made possible by the Sturm family gift, are two new communal bathrooms. These new bathrooms in each village offer an incredible upgrade to our current facilities, but even more so, they allow us to allocate housing to campers by age, rather than gender. While campers will still be in housed in cabins by their gender identification, they will now be surrounded by peers at the same development stage as them, allowing for more intential relationship building and stronger unit identity development.
We were ecstatic about the results from the Summer 2019 satisfaction survey which collects data on Jewish camps nationwide. Our results demonstrated continued improvement in almost every metric. It’s through our partnership with you and our community that we are able to create a successful space for every camper to feel at home. Some of our highlights were that campers really enjoyed the food, nearly all of you recommend your friends send their kids to Ranch Camp, and campers got to try every activity we wanted them to experience.
In addition to our amazing summer camp program, Ranch Camp is becoming a destination retreat spot for synagogues, youth groups, and family life cycle events. Our 2020 season is nearly booked, and Bar/Bat Mitzvah weekends are prioritized for 2021. We are investing resources in year-round campus accessibility, which is a benefit to our retreat and summer camp programs.
With that we’re closing out not only a year, but also a decade. A decade where new campers, staff, and community members have joined us. Where campers have become staff, and alumni have become camp parents. We redefined what it meant for us to be an inclusive community, working to make sure that everyone who walks through our gates knows that they are safe and a member of the Ranch Camp family. We worked to reinvest in our infrastructure, creating a beautiful partnership with the Sturm family and other incredible donors. This past year we reached new heights. This past decade we opened our gates and grew our community. Over the last 67 years we’ve built upon a rich history and path laid down by those before us and continue to aspire to the greatness that Ranch Camp can be as we look towards the next year, decade, and beyond.
I am excited to have my kids at Ranch Camp this summer and to join a community of which I am proud. Thank you for all of your support to help us continue to become the best we can be and for making us a community that prioritizes the health, safety, and wellbeing of everyone who walks through our gates. We are so grateful for our community.
Noah Gallagher | JCC Ranch Camp Director