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Ramah Poconos and Ramah Day Camp in Philadelphia

Child Safety Policy and Procedures


Camp Ramah in the Poconos and Ramah Day Camp in Philadelphia (“Camp”) are vibrant summer camp communities, where children learn and grow in an intentional setting, surrounded by life-long friends and nurtured by spirited role models. Across all of our programs, Camp is infused with the traditions and values of Conservative Judaism: love of mitzvot, Hebrew language, and the land and people of Israel; commitment to inclusion and Tikun Olam; and the joy of learning and prayer.

Camp aims to provide children with a positive and enriching Jewish camp experience. We are deeply committed to protecting the young people in our communities so they feel safe at all times and we strive for the highest standards towards protecting them from abuse. Camp prioritizes safe and inclusive environments free from abuse, bullying, sexual misconduct or violence. We must all work together to prevent harm. Campers are expected to use good judgment and common sense, treat fellow community members with respect, and avoid causing harm. We ask all members of our camp community - staff, campers and families - to review this policy and commit to doing their part to honor the policy and its spirit.


Our safety process is guided by the Camp Safety Team, a group of dedicated staff members who have been entrusted to oversee our abuse prevention efforts and to receive and respond to reports of harm affecting the camp community. The Camp Safety Team is committed to responding to reports of harm promptly and thoughtfully using trauma-informed practices. The Camp Safety Team seeks to arrive at decisions by consensus. The members of the Camp Safety Team are:

Camp Ramah in the Poconos:

Ramah Day Camp:


Screening and Education

We make efforts to screen and hire staff that can embody the joyful spirit of camp without compromising the degree of professionalism and judgment needed to maintain a safe and healthy camp environment. For purposes of this policy, staff includes full-time, part-time and seasonal employees, as well as short-term employees and volunteers. Before campers are entrusted to their care, staff must complete a background check in accordance with applicable laws, affirm their commitment to our safety policies, and receive training on abuse prevention and our procedures for reporting and responding to harm.

Behavioral Expectations for Staff

Camp holds staff to the highest standards. Physical, sexual and emotional abuse, grooming behavior, and romantic or sexual relationships with campers, including those who are 18 years of age or older, are prohibited. Refer to the Staff Safety Policy to review all staff policies.

Camp strives to create a safe, healthy, and secure environment at Camp, to help children develop self-control and to help children assume responsibility and understand the impact of their actions. Clear and consistent, age-appropriate rules and limits are established at Camp. Any consequences used will relate to the child’s specific actions and will be handled in a safe and timely fashion per this policy. No physical or corporal punishment is allowed. No verbal abuse or humiliation, scare tactics, or other controlling measures are allowed. No methods associated with the deprivation of food, water, or shelter, or extended isolation are allowed. No punishment of any kind for bedwetting is allowed.

Mandated Reporting Policy

In accordance with Pennsylvania law, all Camp staff and volunteers are required to comply with legal mandatory reporting requirements, which consist of reporting both OUT to civil authorities and/or law enforcement as required, and UP to camp leadership or a member of the Camp Safety Team. For more information on staff reporting policies, please see Staff Safety Policy and Procedures.


Our Camp and campers are guided by the following 3 key values:

1. Kehillah K’doshah/Holy Community
We exemplify the qualities of Kavod (respect) and kindness in interactions with everyone, both during the summer as well as the school year.

  1. We respect the feelings and emotions of others. We talk with kind words, invite others to join us and take care not to exclude or humiliate others.

  2. We respect the property of others and of our Camp. We do not take, deface, destroy, or alter property that does not belong to us.

  3. We treat all members of our community with respect and kindness throughout the year, including respectful interactions while texting and using social media.

2. B’tzelem Elohim/In the Image of God

We view each person as worthy and unique. Our diverse community is an essential part of who we are and every member of our community is valuable.

3. Emet/Truthful Communication

Safe and successful summers are built on trust and partnership.

In alignment with our mission, and in partnership with camper families, we strive to help campers learn to make safe and healthy choices, to take responsibility for the choices they make, and accept accountability for the consequences for inappropriate behaviors.

Bullying is Prohibited

Bullying is Prohibited. Bullying will not be tolerated at Camp, and reports of bullying will be taken very seriously by staff and the Camp Safety Team.

Bullying is aggressive behavior, often repetitive, involving a real or perceived power imbalance that is intended to harm another person physically or emotionally.

Bullying can be physical and include unwanted physical contact, threat of physical contact or the use of physical force intended to cause harm.

Bullying can be verbal and include threats, insults, teasing, slurs, spreading rumors, and intentionally socially isolating someone.

Bullying can be sexual and include unwanted touching, sexually suggestive comments and gestures, sexting, spreading rumors or illicit images or threatening to do so and intentionally invading someone’s privacy.

Bullying can be cyberbullying and include the use of electronic communications and social media to threaten, insult, tease, embarrass, harass, share illicit or embarrassing images or spread rumors.

Bullying can happen among friends and, even when intended playfully, can cause harm.

Sexual Activity Between Campers is Prohibited

Camp understands that romantic relationships between campers are likely to happen. Displays of physical affection (such as kissing, hand holding and hugging) between campers are allowed, so long as they are consensual. However, sexual activity (such as sexual touching, intercourse, oral sex and other sexual behavior) between campers is not allowed at Camp, even if consensual.

Consent means there is a mutual agreement between the parties to engage in physical contact, and that the agreement is clear and arrived at knowingly and voluntarily. Consent that is coerced is not voluntary. Consent to one kind of physical contact is not consent to any other kind of physical contact. Consent can be withdrawn at any time under any circumstances.

By law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a person under the age of 13 is not capable of consenting to sexual activity.

Alcohol and Drugs are Prohibited

Camp is an alcohol- and drug-free space. Campers are prohibited from possessing, consuming, or being under the influence of alcohol, controlled substances, illegal drugs, tobacco/marijuana in any form, vapes, or non-prescribed drugs at camp.

Firearms and Weapons are Prohibited

Campers may not bring firearms or other weapons, including utility knives to Camp.

Electronic Devices are Prohibited

Camp expects campers to be unplugged at Camp. Campers are not permitted to have electronic devices at Camp or to use staff’s personal electronic devices absent an emergency or without express permission from the Camp Director.

Leaving Camp Property without Proper Authorization is Prohibited

Campers may not leave Camp property without advance authorization from the Camp Director.

Graffiti and Vandalism is Prohibited

All campers and staff are responsible for maintaining the physical condition of Camp. Any vandalism or destruction of Camp property by members of the community will result in a phone call home, the potential for expulsion from camp, plus an assessment for any maintenance costs. The assessment will be charged to the camper’s family and re-enrollment will not be permitted until the assessment is paid in full.

Physical Risk of Assumption

Camp makes efforts to create a safe environment for all campers. Campers are reminded of the inherent physical risks that exist in nature, on and near the water and the rock climbing wall, and when operating machinery in the gym. Campers are advised to remain attentive and take precautions to ensure their own physical safety and that of others in those circumstances.


Camp seeks to support our campers however they identify. To do this Camp will:

Campers are never forced to share any of the above information with Camp or staff. Sometimes, campers may explore their identity at Camp and use different pronouns or names than they do at home. In these cases, staff and the camper care team will follow the camper’s lead and support them.


Making a Report

Campers who have experienced, witnessed, or learned of a harm or potential harm affecting themselves or others are encouraged to report it to the Camp Safety Team or other trusted staff. Should a camper wish to contact a guardian/caretaker before making a report, the camper should alert a member of the Camp Safety Team or other trusted staff.

Retaliation Prohibited

Retaliation against a camper for reporting a harm or potential harm is strictly prohibited. Anyone who engages in retaliatory behavior may face disciplinary action.


Reports of possible violations of this policy by campers will be responded to by the Camp Safety Team. In doing so, the Camp Safety Team will be guided by the following process.


Upon learning of a report of harm, the first priority is the safety of all affected campers and the camp at large. The Camp Safety Team will take immediate steps to ensure the physical and emotional safety of any affected campers.


The Camp Safety Team will work with staff to ensure that any external reporting obligations are promptly met.


The Camp Safety Team will determine what information about a given situation can be shared, and with whom, balancing the community’s interest in transparency and the privacy interests of the affected parties. Staff should exercise discretion and consult the Camp Safety Team before engaging in communication about any report.

Situations that present at Camp are personal, private and complicated. Camp will always be in touch if a situation impacts your child. While you are free to contact us at any time, please understand that, given privacy considerations, Camp will not provide information to families not implicated.


The Camp Safety Team will undertake an inquiry to learn what happened. Depending on the nature of the report, the Camp Safety Team may use staff or external partners to conduct the inquiry.

Interviewing Campers

Gathering information about an incident may involve speaking with campers, and the safety team will speak to campers to gather information as needed throughout the typical rhythm of Camp. Should the Camp Safety Team elect to have an external partner participate in the inquiry, caretakers will be notified and invited to be present. Caretakers will not be allowed to interfere with or record interviews. Caretakers who decline to allow their camper to participate in an interview must be aware that the failure to participate may prevent the Camp Safety Team from learning relevant information, and may impact the Camp Safety Team’s decision about whether the camper may remain at Camp.


The Camp Safety Team appreciates the privacy interests at stake when responding to reports of harm affecting campers. The Camp Safety Team will treat any report as highly sensitive, sharing it only on a need-to-know basis. Reports to the Camp Safety Team cannot be treated as confidential, however, as there may be instances where a report of harm triggers a reporting obligation under state and local law, or warrants alerting a camper’s caregiver.

Disciplinary Removal Decisions

The Camp Safety Team will use the information learned during the inquiry to make decisions about disciplinary actions. Violating the behavioral expectations set forth in this policy may result in immediate dismissal from Camp. Camp reserves the right to immediately dismiss a camper from our program without prior warning. Decisions are final. Depending on the circumstances, and in its own discretion, the Camp Safety Team may impose disciplinary action short of dismissal.

Dismissal Logistics

Should your camper be dismissed from Camp, a member of the Camp Safety Team will immediately be in touch to discuss logistics of dismissal. We recognize that leaving camp early is serious and will do everything we can to make it as comfortable and confidential as possible. Our protocol for sending a child home is designed to be as sensitive to the child impacted as possible and to also keep in mind the experience of the other campers and Camp community.

If a camper is dismissed from Camp, administrative fees and tuition will not be refunded and future enrollment may be prohibited. TRAVEL COSTS INCURRED DUE TO DISMISSAL WILL BE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE GUARDIAN/CARETAKER.

When a decision is made that a camper is leaving Camp:

We strive to have a senior staff member meet the guardian/caretaker when they arrive to pick up their camper. There are times when other events happening at Camp may preclude this from happening.

Mental, Emotional, and Social Health (“MESH”) Policy and Procedure


Compassion and kindness are qualities that are at the foundation of our Ramah community. We strive to create an inclusive and welcoming camp environment and support campers with issues related to mental, emotional, social and behavioral health and wellbeing. Our Camper Care Team, also known as Yoatzim, oversees this process and is supervised by the Camp Director.

Camper Care Team

Our Camper Care Team/Yoatzim provide support and resources to campers and staff and are the primary liaison to families of our campers. We work year round with families to develop support plans for campers during Camp. Yoatzim help staff to implement these plans during the summer. Yoatzim do not act as therapists and Camp is not a therapeutic environment. When appropriate, we facilitate connection between campers and therapists at home.

Participation Guidelines

Safe and successful summers are built on truthful communication and partnership. We will be unable to adequately support your camper should critical information about their well-being be withheld. All campers must complete their health and intake forms. Camp expects caretakers to share information regarding mental, emotional, and social health and encourage that they err on the side of over-disclosure. Failure to share relevant information may result in denial of admission to Camp. Please do not withhold information about the following or related issues:

When significant mental health or behavioral issues are disclosed before the summer, we will work with the camper’s family, and their existing mental health team, to evaluate if Camp is the right setting for this summer. Our focus is on the safety of the camper, the impact on the broader community, and whether the guardians/caretakers, mental health team, camper and staff reasonably believe, given our resources, that we can develop a plan that will help ensure a successful summer.

Campers in the following situations may not be allowed to participate in Camp:

Mental, Emotional, and Social Health and Wellbeing Struggles at Camp

If a camper appears to be struggling at Camp:

Camp will not be able to offer adequate support and will need to send home a camper who expresses or is dealing with the following challenges:

In handling any issue of camper safety, Camp will treat the camper and the matter at hand with respect and confidentiality. Staff cannot promise a camper that information will not be shared with guardians/caretakers. If there is a concern about a camper’s mental, physical, or emotional safety, guardians/caretakers will be contacted.

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