Alumna Profile: Yael Queen (Gesher ’05)

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My camp experience started in 1993 when I was 4-years-old and my mother returned to Ramah to take on Rikud. The summers I grew up knowing were those spent in Wingdale, NY. I remember being in the car, not understanding time or distance, feeling like camp was so far away. My mother explained the drive as four different legs so I could understand when we were getting close. Anticipation would grow as each leg passed. The excitement I felt on that drive – excitement I still feel today on my way up to Wingdale – is similar to the feeling a person has when going home.

Ramah is still a part of my life because the values learned and the memories made have shaped me into the person I am today. As a student, I attended an Orthodox Jewish day school; Ramah provided me with a greater perspective of Judaism. Though I was only there for two months a year, the informal education I received at Ramah allowed me to find a Judaism that I wasn’t exposed to during the 10 months of school. It is that perspective that helped solidify my own Jewish identity.

This connection I feel to camp is the reason why I returned on staff for four summers. It is important to me to continue to pass down these values and stay involved in the Ramah community. Through the Ramah Alumni Association, I have been able to stay connected to my past Ramah experience, while also forming relationships with Ramahniks I did not know growing up. The Ramah Minyan has been a particular highlight, allowing me to relive the magic of Friday nights at camp.

It is hard to believe that this year marks the tenth anniversary of my Gesher summer. Many of my favorite childhood memories occurred in camp.  The friendships I made are indescribable. On this anniversary, I can honestly say that I feel just as close to the Ramah community as I did 10 years ago as a camper. Ramah will always be a part of my life and I am so grateful for the family it has given me.