Jul 16, 2018

Posted by: Kelsey O'Hara

Nefesh Mountain

Session 3, Day 5

For many campers, as it has been in other sessions as well, the evening programs are the most memorable of Ranch Camp activities. Though most of the programs are the same from one session to the next, the people involved (especially the campers) make each individual program as different as night and day. Even the campers who have been here for years can count on every night being a new experience.

These past two nights have been no exception – in fact, they may have been the most unique and exciting evening programs of the summer.

Tonight’s evening program was Ranch Camp Idol. It’s a rainy day program, not used every session, but always in programming’s back pocket in case of inclement weather. This, however, does not mean that it’s not as exciting as the other evening programs. After dinner, the camp split up into cabin groups to choreograph dances to songs of their choice before meeting in the Mo to perform them.

Ranch Camp Idol is such a special activity in part because the majority of the night is created by the campers. The dances they create exemplify the ways they have learned and grown in just these few days, working together to support their fellow campers and using their creativity to think outside the box. This show was particularly special. Each cabin’s performance was evidence of their connections to each other, and the support that the kids had for each other without prompting from staff was inspiring.

On the day before, Saturday, Ranch Camp was honored to welcome the band Nefesh Mountain into the community, a Jewish bluegrass group from New York. They first lent their musical talent to Havadalah, the closing ceremony of Shabbat, making the ceremony stand out from weeks past. The camp then migrated to the Pavilions, where the band put on a concert to be remembered.

This particular kind of music was new to some, and the younger kids particularly were unsure of what to expect. It did not take long for the uncertainty to vanish, as the group was welcoming and inviting, engaging campers of all ages and ensuring that everyone was enjoying themselves. As the music rose to a crescendo, the entire Ranch Camp family danced together, close to the stage and on it, not just a concert but a celebration of Judaism, community, and especially family. It was a perfect moment, a feeling that transcends words, full of the knowledge that this group of people is not only connected by a common location, but by the values and human connection that makes our family whole.