Jun 28, 2018

Posted by: Kelsey O'Hara

A Sunny Day

Session 2, Day 4

In the past, outside factors were the only things that influenced a family’s decision of what session of Ranch Camp they want to send their child to. When did school start, when did it end? Did they have a vacation to plan, a family event to attend? They chose the session based on their schedule – every session was the same anyway.

But last year, that all changed – and the change continued this year. Instead of three identical sessions, each session of Ranch Camp is a little bit different. Now, families have more guidance in choosing which session to attend. They might choose the first session, two weeks of classic Ranch Camp action, or maybe third session, which is longer than the others, and gives campers the opportunity to experience even more activities and programs. Of the three sessions, perhaps the most unique is session two.

The mornings of second session begin in the same way that all others do. Campers wake up and get dressed, then come with their cabin to Degel, the morning circle. Breakfast is at eight, and then there’s some cabin time for campers to clean their cabins, do unit activities, and get ready for the day.

This is where things are different. In the other sessions, campers travel around in their bunks and activity groups to activities all around camp. But in second session, campers go from their cabins directly to the commons, where they split up into their tracks!

The track system is fairly new to camp, first implemented last year, and the main thing that draws kids to second session. With the exception of Chalutzim (the youngest unit), who are still getting to know camp, many of the older kids know exactly what part of camp they like and which parts they don’t. Some want to spend their time mountain biking and climbing ropes, while others opt for less active pursuits, like theatre or arts and crafts.

There are four different track options available to campers: outdoor adventure, sports, arts and culture, and beginner horsemanship. The Equestrian Program is also offered this session, as it is first and third. It doesn’t take long for campers to split up into their groups, as each was excited and enthused about the track they had chosen. Some went to the sports field, others to the ropes course, some to the corral, and others to the art room.

On a usual day, campers would have an hour of Menucha (or rest hour) after lunch before joining back with their cabin groups to do one cabin activity, and then one chug (or free choice activity.) But today wasn’t a usual day, as temperatures began to break 100 degrees. To give everyone a reprieve from the heat, Menucha was half an hour longer than usual. Then, in a successful attempt to beat the heat, regular activities were replaced with a homemade slip n’ slide and a pool party! Campers had a blast as they slid down the slip n’ slide and splashed around in the pool, the incredible temperature having no effect on their morale.

The fantastic day was topped off with a brand-new evening program, created by the LITs, or Leaders in Training. They are one year younger than SITs, and are preparing for their SIT year. The program they created was an overwhelming success, as cabins worked as teams to compete in a variety of “game shows,” from a Food Network competition to Family Feud and Jeopardy.

Things at camp don’t always go as planned. Sometimes things happen that are out of anyone’s control, such as an incredible heat wave. But that never puts a damper on the good time that every camper is bound to have every day. In this environment of community and encouragement, a sudden change in schedule isn’t so scary – and sometimes, the “rainy day” (or in this case, “sunny day”) activities end up even better than what was planned. Without the heat, campers wouldn’t have gotten to spend an hour on a huge, homemade slip n’ slide – and without the quick and creative community at Ranch Camp, the summer here wouldn’t be nearly as exciting.