303-261-8214 • info@ramahoutdoors.org
JOLI – 11th & 12th Grades

The Jewish Outdoor Leadership Institute (JOLI)


COST: $4,650 (before December 15)

SESSION I: June 20 to July 18

SESSION II: July 19 to August 16


The Jewish Outdoor Leadership Institute (JOLI) at Ramah in the Rockies trains Jewish teens (entering 11th &12th graders) to become competent and confident outdoor leaders. JOLI participants spend about half of their time living alongside others on the Ramah in the Rockies ranch, and half of their time backpacking through the Rocky Mountains backcountry. Participants live in their own tent with a counselor but share facilities with chalutzim at Ramah Outdoor Adventure.

A Dynamic Program: JOLI participants arrive at the ranch two days earlier than Ramah Outdoor Adventure chalutzim.  They spend their first week at the Ramah in the Rockies base camp, acclimating, learning Wilderness First Aid and participating in some of the camp activities.  During their second week, JOLI participants leave for a six day excursion in a western national park.  Under the supervision of select skilled staff, these young adults will focus on developing tangible leadership abilities while building their wilderness and survival skills. This trip will feature a twelve hour solo experience.  JOLI participants return to spend the third week at base camp, where they have a chance to continue their development as counselors in training (CITs) for our youngest Chalutzim in addition to spending time planning a second six day excursion.  During the final week of JOLI, participants can choose to continue assisting with our youngest chalutzim at base camp and on a three day backpacking trip, or to return to the back-country for a second six day trip where the JOLI participants take the lead on planning, packing and guiding the trip.  This second six day trip is designed to be an adventure challenge, where each day they receive a challenge to complete from evacuating an injured hiker to orienteering off trail for two miles.   All participants return to base camp for the final Shabbat.

joli groupA Typical Participant: Someone who loves the outdoors, enjoys physical challenges, is exploring their Jewish identity, wants to become a better outdoor leader and is looking to be a part of creating a new enterprise. We seek highly motivated high school students who are entering their Junior year in High School who have already demonstrated leadership qualities and drive.  We can admit up to twenty participants into each session of JOLI. Some of the participants will have been previous chalutzim at Ramah Outdoor Adventure; however we expect that most participants will never have been to Ramah Outdoor Adventure.

Personal Growth: All JOLI participants will return home with leadership strategies and skills that are transferable to their lives and valuable to their communities. JOLI goals include:

Leadership and Teamwork:

  • Be part of a team and enable the group to achieve its shared goals
  • Communicate effectively
  • Be decisive under pressure
  • Stand up and take charge, and know when to allow others to step up and lead
  • Identify personal strengths and weaknesses and learn how to ask for assistance
  • Set and attain goals, take initiative, add energy to the group, problem solve

Outdoor Skills:

  • Select and maintain appropriate equipment
  • Prepare delectable meals in the backcountry
  • Navigate in the backcountry by using maps and compass
  • Select appropriate campsites and maintain a safe sleeping environment
  • Fire making and safety skills

Environmental studies:

  • Learning Leave No Trace camping and resource protection
  • Wilderness ethics and practices for everyday life
  • Identifying natural flora and fauna including wild edibles
  • Risk Management spacing changed
  • Maintaining health and comfort
  • Judgment: using past experiences and knowledge to make decisions
  • Identifying backcountry risk factors
  • Emergency planning and procedures
  • Identifying weather patterns and responding accordingly

Jewish values:

  • Study ancient and modern texts that guide backcountry decision making
  • Discuss Jewish stories about living and experiencing God in nature
  • Practice daily prayer in awe inspiring surroundings
  • Investigate Jewish traditions about how to create a holy space in the back country
  • Consider the magic of forming an intense and intentional Jewish community

Specialized Staff: There are four main staff members for JOLI. At base camp, each tent has one primary counselor. This counselor serves as a guide and role model for the participants. These primary counselors are college graduates and have been selected because of their own leadership abilities and experiences. All JOLI Staff also have extensive experience leading groups in the back country and are chosen because of their advanced wilderness abilities and certifications. They are typically a few years out of college and may have advanced degrees.

To Apply to the JOLI Program: Please email Rabbi Eliav Bock, camp director, at eliavb@ramahoutdoors.org.  All new participants must complete a short application  and undergo an interview.

For more information, you may also call (303) 261-8214 x104.