by Matt Kaufman
on May 07, 2021
In this week’s video, Jared and Jackie go outside and discuss our new dining areas and remind us about the power of camp!
Greetings and welcome to Ramaquois. This week’s video is in a new location. It’s our favorite place. Because of the weather, we’re able to get outside. We are standing here on Legends Path. I’m Jared. I’m one of the directors here at Camp and in the same screenshot today is Jackie, how are you doing, Jackie?
Nice to be outside at camp, and we are socially distant from each other. And because we’re both vaccinated, we’re able to be outside and close, but not too close. So it works out really well. We are standing right now on Legends’ Path. For those of you that don’t know what Legends’ Path is. This is a place that we honor our long timers. If you’ve been at Ramaquois for six years or longer, you become a Ramaquois legend, and we honor you with a brick on our path as a way to recognize your longevity and what we hope is an excellent experience that you have had here. Behind us, you might be able to see to the side we are doing some construction where we’re developing some more of our outdoor dining, and in the distance, we’re doing a lot of other work to be able to move all of our campers seated outside. So we have a much healthier and a really engaging, wonderful experience at camp this summer. We thought it would be nice to be outside today so we can talk to you a little bit about all the excitement that we have coming up this summer. How great we think it’s going to be. We want to stop focusing on what we can’t do. We want to talk about all the things that we think we can do and how excited we are for those things to happen. As always, we will continue to be as transparent as possible with you and give you all the information we have available. Make it as much fun and as exciting as we possibly can, so ready to go.
I’m ready to go.
Let’s go. Let’s do it.
All right. I’m so excited to be outside today. This is proof to everybody. Because some of the questions that we have got is why do I always have virtual background when we’re doing the videos? But this is proof. I am at camp, but I have been at camp. So it’s nice to be able to have the opportunity to show that to everybody. I think, like Jared said, we’ve been so focused on COVID protocols and how we’re going to keep everybody safe at camp, we don’t want the “at camp” part to ever be lost, because that’s the reason that we’re all here, and that’s the reason you’re all coming, because camp is just such a special place. So this is a great opportunity to focus on that and not focus on COVID. What I like most about camp is the sense of community that’s created here that makes it a safe haven for children to try new things, make new friends, go out of their comfort zone and have shared experiences within their group that makes Ramaquois their summer home.
Yeah. I think that’s one of the things that most people should really look forward to about the camp season. They have an opportunity to feel like they’re part of something special. And I think it’s one of the things that makes Ramaquois very special and very unique. And one of the things to which we’re looking forward the most. I think of so many campers we’ve had here over the years. I’ve been here a really long time. I don’t want to admit how many years. I don’t want people to know quite how old I am. But all the decades I’ve seen so many people come and go where they just feel like they’re part of something special. I think it’s one of the reasons why we have our uniform policy. It’s no different if you watch a sporting event and everybody on the team, all the coaches, all the trainers, everybody wears something that has a team logo on it. And they feel like they’re part of something special. And I think at Ramaquois, all of our campers and all of our staff feel the same way. For me, Jackie, I think one of the things I really love about camp and something that people should really be looking forward to is the opportunity for kids to take healthy risks. I love the idea that you can come to camp. You can try something new, something unique, something special that maybe you wouldn’t have had a chance to do before. And camp is such a place where you feel empowered to try something new. You don’t feel like you’re out of place. You’re doing something with the support and the love and the friendship of everybody around you. So I don’t know if you could see it in the shop, but right over my shoulder is our zip line. One of my favorite things about the zip line is, first of all, we don’t make anybody do it. But most kids, when they have an opportunity, they want to go on the zipline. And my favorite thing about the zip line is that once they’re harnessed and once they’re up on the platform and the staff member hooks them into the line and we give them the all clear, nobody gets pushed off the platform. Each child has to take that healthy risk of jumping. And it’s such an incredibly empowering feeling for kids to know that they have an opportunity to try something that’s safe that they know there are people looking out for them and that they could try something new. And the trying something new is not just activities. We see that at lunch, kids trying new food. So all the parents watching this to say, my child never tries anything different, you have an opportunity to find out that your children saw from their friends and they could try something different. I’m sure you’ve had experiences like that, too, just trying something unique and trying to feel totally safe.
Absolutely. And even when we decorate in the off season, we mention activities that children have never heard of. It happened fairly recently when there was a family from Manhattan that came to tour. And I mentioned that the young girl could go to archery. Her face lit up. She said, Do I get to use a bow and arrow? And the excitement gave me chills because her face lit up at trying something new that in Manhattan going to school, she would not have had the opportunity to do we see it all the time, which is just so wonderful. And it’s so empowering for us and for them to be able to offer these experiences and then for the children to take advantage. And we get the joy of sharing it with them. And in terms of sharing it with you, through photos and phone calls and emails. So it’s wonderful.
I think one of the other important things that we really like to emphasize at Ramaquois. We have a saying that we try to emphasize not only with our staff but our campers as well, and that is to leave it better than you found it. And the question we often get is, well, what is it. Leave what better than we found it? And I think that’s the best part of the camp experience is figuring out what the it is. Is it that I want the camp to look clean and treat it like it’s my home. Sure. Is it that I want my friendships to be better than they were when I first got here? Absolutely. Do I want to try new things and just end up with a much better situation than I had before? Absolutely. Those things are all incredibly important parts of the process.
And in leaving it better than you found it, Jared told you we don’t know what that it is, and we don’t tell anybody what that it is. What’s really wonderful to see is that it does not take our staff very long at all to realize that that it is your child. Our goal here is to leave your child better than they were when they came here and to impact them in such a positive way. And I know we didn’t say we said you weren’t really going to talk about COVID, but I’m just going to go back for one moment this summer, especially that social and emotional growth that these children need so desperately is a focus for us. And we are aware of the colossal responsibility and opportunity we have to help them so dramatically to fill in a little bit of that gap.
Yeah. I think it’s been a challenging year for everybody, and we’re so excited for the opportunity to be able to give all the members of our community, the opportunity to really grow as people, to do all the things we said before, those healthy risks, better people and really have that social emotional growth that I think has been lacking for all of us. So we’re so excited about that opportunity and really looking forward, I’d like to add one other thing, just as long as we’re talking about some important values. At the beginning of our video, we mentioned, we’re standing at Legends Path, where we honor people that have been here for a long time. And I think one of the things that is important to share with members of our community, just as a reminder to those who have been with us before and as a heads up for those that are newer to us. But when you get a brick on Legends Path, it has your name and the number of years you’ve been here and the year you got your brick. But the part that’s so meaningful is we give each recipient the opportunity to choose their own word, one word that defines their experience. And if you walk up and down this path and you read every brick, you won’t see words like basketball, soccer. You’ll see things like love, family, friendship, home, exhilarating, amazing. And those are the things that I think are so exciting and what we’re so excited about camp coming and why we can’t wait for camp to be here already and how exciting that is for all of us.
Yeah, absolutely. And then also the leaving it better than you found it. Your children are leaving us better than they found us. When they get a brick, they’re part of Ramaquois. It is permanent. They are part of the fabric of Ramaquois and the culture of Ramaquois as much as the physical plans of Ramaquois. So you sending your children to us makes us better. So thank you for that as well.
Absolutely. So it’s been an awesome opportunity to be outside, finally, some more cooperative weather and to be able to share some of what we think is the beauty of Ramaquois with you in this week’s video. Don’t forget, as we always remind you is that if you have forms to fill out or clothing to order, please do that much sooner than later. We really love to get all that done in a timely manner and not have anybody say, oh, yeah, I forgot. So if you can really take care of that if you haven’t already, we really appreciate that.
If you have any questions or just want or need any feedback, you can always email us. My email address is Jared at Ramaquois. That’s J-A-R-E-D. At Ramaquois.Com. And please feel free to send us a message or give us a call at the office 845-354-1600. We’ll be happy to answer any of your questions be in touch with you soon. What do you think? Don’t forget to follow us on social media, Facebook, Instagram. We try to have some updates, and some fun stuff there, too to get you excited about camp coming up.
I think that’s it. What do you think?
I think let’s get it together this week.
All right. Together. You ready. Here we go.
One, two. Three. Have fun, there’s a camp out there!
Matt has spent his summers at Camp Ramaquois since 1984 — as a camper, counselor, and in various administrative positions, including his current role of Associate Director. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering from Cornell University. At camp, Matt works in program development, staff training and camper engagement. He has served as the program chair of the Tri-State Camp Conference and authored a book about summer camp staff training entitled The Summer Camp MBA. Outside of camp, he enjoys hiking, reading, website development, and spending time with his wife, nieces, nephew and dog.
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