The Power of Passing Leadership Training from Staff to Staff

At the start of staff week this summer, I told my staff  the story of President John F. Kennedy, Jr. visiting NASA. He asked a janitor what he was doing. Expecting a description of what the janitor was cleaning, JFK was surprised when the janitor instead replied: “I’m sending a man to the moon.” Every single person working at the NASA facility, no matter the title, was contributing to the same goal. This ultra goal-focused, single-mindedness of the entire NASA team, from the scientists to the mathematicians to even the janitors, is what helped make the entire team successful. 

Similarly, at camp this summer, you could ask what our staff are doing. Instead of the expected descriptive answers of teaching swimming, playing Gaga, or creating beaded lizards,which our staff might be doing at the moment, we have a bigger goal. Each and every one of the Ramah Boston staff members, when asked, will say they are taking part in saving the future of Judaism and impacting the future of the world. That goal might sound lofty and reminiscent of other Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs), but it’s actually exactly what we’re doing. And it’s what Ramah has been doing for generations. 

When we say “L’dor v’dor” (from generation to generation) in relation to camp, most of us think of the families whose grandparents met at Ramah and then sent their children, who, in turn, send their own children to Ramah. 

But there is another “L’dor v’dor” at play at Ramah that has as deep, if not deeper, impact on the future of our camps – and on our lofty goal of saving Judaism. And that is the passing of leadership training from staff to staff; of empowering new staff members to learn, to grow, to make mistakes, and to strive from early in our time at camp. This cycle of L’dor v’dor, of training new leaders, is what allows Ramah staff to save the future of Judaism.