Noah Gallagher has been the J’s Director of Ranch Camp since January of 2016.
Always the quintessential “life-of-the-party,” Noah has been able to share his passion for Ranch and the Jewish community to hundreds of young children throughout Colorado. Together, he and his lovely wife, Lauren, have three children––the twins, Daphne and Leo who are 4.5 years old (according to Noah, “they will correct me and tell you they are 4 and 7/12”) and Tess who’s 18 months.
The Gallaghers have helped shape the tradition that is “Ranch Camp” for Jewish youth, and we’re pretty darn pleased to have them as a part of our J Fam.
What’s the best thing about being the Director of Ranch Camp?
Noah Gallagher: I open each session by challenging everyone to create a perfect community. When you remove the pressure of school and the distraction of screens and put people in close quarters, they have this unrivaled opportunity to be their best selves. A parent told me that, when she asked her son how was camp, he replied: “I am a better person.” Helping create that environment and watching that happen, that is the best part. Shabbat services at camp with my family is the other best part.
What JCC programs do your children partake in?
NG: All three are in the Early Learning School. The twins do the School’s Out camps, and they have been doing after-school enrichment for the past year. They’ve loved soccer, dance, and art.
What does your wife, Lauren, do? How did you both meet?
NG: Lauren works with pharmacy data at CVS Health. We met when we were kids at summer camp! We stayed connected through mutual friends. We ran into each other at a conference in 2005, decided to meet for lunch, and I guess that was our “first date.”
Did you go to Ranch as a child? Did you always want to be the Director of Ranch Camp?
NG: I went to Camp Young Judaea in Wisconsin, where I served as director for eight years prior to coming to Ranch Camp. Ranch Camp is unique in the world of Jewish Camps, and I had campers and staff over the years that attended, so I knew about it. When I learned about the opening for director, and took the time to get to know it, I fell in love.
What is your family’s favorite fall activity?
NG: We try to get the family out hiking. The twins love it, once we get on a trail. Also, we bribe them with chocolate.
Why do you love the J? What does it offer other families within the community?
NG: I will sometimes leave my office to work in the lobby. I love the chance to see campers and their families come in to do one of however many programs we have to offer or those that are housed at the J. When older alumni recognize me or learn that I am the Ranch Camp Director, they stop to talk and share stories of lifelong connections to the J and incredible memories from their time at camp. When I visited the J for my interview, I loved watching the teachers escort the kids through the halls. They sang songs the whole way, and the kids waved at everyone passing by. After I was offered and accepted the position, dozens of people, particularly folks connected to the J, reached out with offers of help with our move, friendship, and guidance. We had to make a shared document to keep track! When we found out we were expecting Tess, we signed up for JBU. Even though it is for first-time parents, we know so many people for whom their core group of friends is their JBU cohort. We’ve made great friends through that program. We are actively working on year-round program offerings at Ranch Camp, which will add a dimension to what the J can offer. It hasn’t been done before. There is just so much happening right now; the J is in such a good place. I look forward to being a part of helping the J and Ranch live up to potential.
We hear you’re an awesome photographer. How did you become interested in that?
NG: Thank you! I learned how to use a camera and some basics from a friend in high school. After that, I did not pick up a camera until Lauren and I were expecting the twins. I wanted to have great photos of my kids. It has since become an obsession and a hobby, and I do photos for the J. The Ranch Camp Instagram has become a great creative outlet. Everyone should probably follow @jccranchcamp.
The Gallaghers are one of a kind, and their beautiful children make us smile each and every day here at the J.