Generations Celebrate the Tradition of Summer Camp  

Walking across camp last week, things seemed quiet. You could hear the wind blow, the birds sing, and the squirrels scamper but compared to the normal chatter of a summer day, things were quiet. I found a moment to reflect in the quietness, a rarity during the summer, and the tiredness I felt was replaced with feelings of gratitude and pride. We did it, another summer in the books, with Family Camp as the cherry on top of a long-awaited strawberry milkshake. The opportunity to bring our community together for Family Camp was second to none and the perfect wrap-up to our summer 2022 season.   

 This summer, we welcomed over 30 families for a weekend filled with all the best Ranch Camp has to offer. From the high ropes course to horseback riding to our family Maccabiah and Mac-o-Peel, the weekend had something for everyone. We started on Friday evening with a classic Ranch Camp Shabbat service and dinner; our chef’s brisket and homemade babka are the stuff of legends. After we said “Lila Tov” to the campers, our adult schmooze led to the best game of giant Jenga of the summer. Saturday morning brought a beautiful day for our mini rodeo complete with a western-themed photo booth and horseback rides. Aside from the rodeo, families climbed up the rock wall and zipped down the zipline, learned how to make lanyards in the art room, and explored the outer 400 acres of the property.   

 After a much-needed menucha (rest hour) we geared up for our family Maccabiah (a full camp color war), and the Mac-o-Peel (a relay race across camp). Families divided into three teams and made their way to Mac-o-Peel stations where they would race to sort M&Ms with their noses, break apart and put on frozen t-shirts, and knock over a soda can pyramid before getting to Niven field for a final game of over-under sponge pass. We wrapped up the night with Havdalah at the campfire, s’mores, and  our Ranch Camp Director, Ryan’s infamous heartfelt storytelling of the Lorax.   

 Out of all the activities and games we had planned for the weekend, my favorite part of Family Camp was something we hadn’t actually scheduled. If you’ve ever been to Ranch Camp, you know that the Mo (our rec hall), is a building filled with history. Its walls bear the signatures and plaques of campers and staff from decades past. Watching alumni parents and caregivers find their names in the Mo to show their kids, passing along their love for Ranch Camp, was my rose of the weekend. We sing “L’dor Vador” at camp every week – a song we’ve sung since I was a camper. The lyrics exemplify the importance of passing our traditions from generation to generation, but also the value of creating new traditions to pass on. Family Camp turns these lyrics into a reality allowing parents, caregivers, staff, and current and future campers to share in creating the memories that make Ranch Camp everything that it is today and will be in the future.  

Until next summer,  

Katelyn Skeen, Assistant Director of Ranch Camp