The Big Idea at Ramah Day Camp

BIG IDEA @ Ramah Day Camp Greater DC (BI-RDC), launching this kayitz (summer), is a partnership between the Israeli-based technology camp BIG IDEA and Ramah Day Camp Greater DC.  For the past 15 years, BIG IDEA has been creating meaningful experiences for kids and teens, mixing technology, digital arts, Israel programs, and social bonding. We are excited to bring Israel, and the startup-nation vibe, to current 4th to 7th grade campers through this partnership.

BIG IDEA hires and trains Israeli shlichim (staff members) who are skilled and full of passion to lead the specialty workshops. The workshop programs include their content and methodologies that are based on 15 years of experience, training, know-how, and marketing support. In addition, BIG IDEA hires and trains an Israeli site supervisor who will join the shlichim at camp. Ramah Day Camp will hire and train any other staff joining the group, including a dedicated yoetz(et), camper care specialist.

Campers will be able to register for one or both 2-week sessions (June 24-July 5 and July 8-19), held at a site just around the corner from our main Day Camp location in Germantown.  Campers will participate in a combination of technology-based workshops and “unplugged” arts & sports activities alongside the Israeli staff in a dynamic and engaging way.

This brief video highlights a couple of the technology workshop options.

Family Pizza Night & Escape Room w/BIG IDEA – April 1st

Idany Saada will be here from BIG IDEA Israel to lead this fun event and do a Q&A w/ Rabbi Jill about camp. Perfect for families with children in 4th-7th but younger siblings welcome. The event is free but registration is needed so we know how many families to expect. The fun will take place at Congregation Beth El.  Please RSVP here.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What are the “Key Features” of BIG IDEA @ Ramah Day Camp Greater DC?

A: BIG IDEA Key features include:

  1. Innovation: Campers have the opportunity to develop and work on their technological ideas, fostering skills in innovation, problem-solving, and teamwork.
  2. Jewish Life: The program often incorporates Jewish learning, values, and Israeli culture into the BIG IDEA workshops, helping campers connect their Jewish heritage with their creative endeavors.
  3. Personal Development: Campers are encouraged to discover their passions and then take on leadership roles in their workshops, enhancing their leadership skills and self-confidence.
  4. Community and Connection: The camp experience fosters a sense of community and belonging among campers, helping them build lasting friendships and connections.
Q: Where is the camp and what is its connection to the rest of Ramah Day Camp Greater DC?

A: BI-RDC will take place at the Neelsville Presbyterian Church, less than ½ mile away from the Wellspring Conference Center, the main Ramah Day Camp location.  This means that campers in BI-RDC will be able to share transportation with our main site, join for our daily aseifat boker (short morning gathering) and even free swim on Fridays.  The close proximity also allows for our senior team, including our nurse, and other camp staff, to easily go back and forth between sites.

Q: How do the sessions work?

A: In this pilot year, BI-RDC will run two 2-week sessions, limited to 40 campers each.  Campers can register for one or both sessions (June 24-July 5 and July 8-19).  Workshops and unplugged options will change by session so campers will not get bored!

Campers must register for a full 2-week session.

Q: What will the daily schedule look like?

A: Buses will be provided from stops in MD, DC and VA, in conjunction with our main Ramah Day Camp program.  Campers will begin their day with tefilot (egalitarian prayer service) before heading into their first workshop, where they will choose two 90-minute sessions.

Workshops may include: Graphic Design, Animation, You Tube Show, Gaming Lab, Web Design, Mobile Apps Development, Lego Robotics, DJ Mixing, 3D Modeling, or Minecraft (still TBD but campers will have some choice).

In addition, campers will also choose two 30- minute daily “unplugged” sessions. During this time, campers will get to specialize off screen in an art, sports, or “brain game” of interest and participate for the entire week so they can really develop their skills. Examples may include: fabric arts, crochet, chess, gaga, soccer, flag football, and more!  Fridays, campers will have the option to participate in free swim with some of our other Ramah Day Camp campers.

Of course, in typical Ramah fashion, we will provide two snacks a day, and you provide a dairy or parve, and nut-free, lunch.

Q: Is my child going to be on a screen all day?

A: Your child will not be on a screen all day! They are mostly going to be social, working in pairs and teams, building new things, solving problems, and overcoming challenges. While screen time at home usually means consuming content or playing games, at BI-RDC campers acquire skills that change that into valuable creations and a bridge to building new deep connections with each other.

In addition, we let their brains take many breaks during the day, including the “Unplugged” sessions (see above).

Please see the FAQ above for information about our “unplugged” sessions.

Q: What makes this different from other technology-based camps?

A: Everything you love about Ramah comes with the BI-RDC package.  This means that Jewish living and values are incorporated into the fabric of camp.  From daily tefilot and brachot to Hebrew language and learning Israeli history and culture, campers will be connected to Judaism and Israel.  In addition, Ramah’s values are to build community among campers and staff and to make sure that each person is cared for in accordance to their individual needs. We want to work with you to help set up your child for success.

It is important to us that your camper LOVES their workshops.  It is also important to us that this is more than just a technology camp.  We want them to make friendships, connect with their counselors, and have a great time learning new skills and mixing it up during their “unplugged” sessions.

This is a partnership between one of the most trusted tech camp programs and brands, BIG IDEA.  We are incorporating our curriculum and program with one that has proved to be one of the best out there, with thousands of kids in Israel, and globally, going through it over the past 15 years.

Q: How does this camp appeal to a variety of campers?

A: We know that choice is important to children, especially as they get older.   They will have some choice in their workshops and in their unplugged sessions. In addition, we want to make sure that there is a variety of workshops and unplugged offerings to appeal to a diversity of audiences, ages, genders, experiences with technology, and interests.

Q: My child is already registered for Ramah Day Camp. Can I switch into this program instead?

A: If your child is currently in 4th grade and we still have room in BI-RDC then YES, we would be happy to switch them into this program.  If you registered prior to the early bird deadline, you will need to pay the $40 per session tuition difference.  Please contact Associate Director Sharon Rosenberg Safra if you want to make a program switch.

Q: Is Financial Aid available?

A: Yes, we do all that we can to make it possible for everyone to experience a summer at Ramah.  A financial aid form will be made available in your Camp Minder account after you register for camp and pay your deposit.  The application deadline is February 12, 2024.

If you have questions about the financial aid process, please contact Sharon Rosenberg Safra, Associate Director.

Q: This all sounds fabulous! How do I sign up?

A: The link to our online application for both new and returning families can be found here.  On page 1 of the application, it will ask you to select a session.  Look for the “DC Day Camp Big Idea Program” option.  Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.