Trybal Gatherings Camp Comes to Ramah Darom
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Trybal Gatherings Camp Comes to Ramah Darom

Nearly 60 adult campers took to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains to enjoy traditional camp activities like arts and crafts, a ropes course and, of course, Color War.

  • Some tasty treats awaited the campers as they arrived at the greeting table // Photo Credit: Jason Belsky
    Some tasty treats awaited the campers as they arrived at the greeting table // Photo Credit: Jason Belsky
  • A group of Trybal campers arrive, ready for a weekend full of activities  //  Photo credit: Jay Belsky
    A group of Trybal campers arrive, ready for a weekend full of activities // Photo credit: Jay Belsky
  • The blue team gives it their all in the tug-of-war event during Color War, a staple of any camp experience  //  Photo credit: Jay Belsky
    The blue team gives it their all in the tug-of-war event during Color War, a staple of any camp experience // Photo credit: Jay Belsky
  • Lilli Jennison tries to guess the type of marker by smelling its scent.
    Lilli Jennison tries to guess the type of marker by smelling its scent.
  • A trio of campers enjoy some rest and relaxation by the scenic lake.
    A trio of campers enjoy some rest and relaxation by the scenic lake.
  • Some campers let loose at the silent disco // Photo Credit: Jason Belsky
    Some campers let loose at the silent disco // Photo Credit: Jason Belsky
  • Many millennials are interested in yoga, so the camp made sure it was offered as part of the programming schedule.
    Many millennials are interested in yoga, so the camp made sure it was offered as part of the programming schedule.
  • Some of the campers play bubble soccer // Photo Credit: Jason Belsky
    Some of the campers play bubble soccer // Photo Credit: Jason Belsky
  • Drew Cohen leads the campers in singing Shabbat prayers and songs // Photo Credit: Jason Belsky
    Drew Cohen leads the campers in singing Shabbat prayers and songs // Photo Credit: Jason Belsky

For most former campers, the memories of sleepaway camp still sparkle vividly in their minds even as their hair slowly turns several shades of gray: the camaraderie of Color War, finding their first love, or the late-night bunk chatter.

Trybal Gatherings, which provides Jewish camp experiences for young adults and millennials across North America, launched its first Trybal South overnight gathering at Camp Ramah Darom during Memorial Day weekend.

A trio of campers enjoy some rest and relaxation by the scenic lake // Photo Credit: Jason Belsky

Nearly 60 campers took to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains to enjoy traditional camp activities like arts and crafts, a ropes course and, of course, Color War. They also enjoyed activities tailored to millennial tastes, including themed dance parties, karaoke, trivia and an open bar at Bubbe’s Beer Garden.

Trybal Gatherings founder Carine Warsawski said camp participants typically fall into four categories: Those who never went to camp and want to try it; former campers hoping to recapture the experience of their youth; those who didn’t have a fulfilling or meaningful Jewish experience at camp and friends of friends and interfaith couples.

Lilli Jennison, who did not attend sleepaway camp when she was young, fell into the first category.

Lilli Jennison tries to guess the type of marker by smelling its scent // Photo Credit: Jason Belsky

“When I heard about Trybal, I wanted to try,” Jennison said. “I went to their day camp last year and loved it and was very excited for the weekend this year.”

Jennison said her favorite part of the experience was the camp’s bittersweet ending, when the group performed a friendship circle.

“We all sat in a circle facing outward,” she said. “There were about five people at a time who would leave the circle and become ‘tappers.’”

The tappers would receive a direction, such as: “tap someone who you had a meaningful conversation with … or tap someone who made you smile.”
Jennison said the tappers would anonymously tap as many people as possible who fit that profile. This exercise seemed to make the campers’ newfound connections feel that much more real and permanent.

Many millennials are interested in yoga, so the camp made sure it was offered as part of the programming schedule // Photo Credit: Jason Belsky

“It was so special to see how many lives we touched in such a short weekend,” Jennison said.

She would recommend the Trybal camp to anyone interested and would like to see more signup slots on the programming schedule. Jennison said that she and a friend wanted to take part in an improv class, but by the time they went to sign up, the slots had all been booked.

Jewish-themed activities at the camp consisted of a Shabbat Soiree and a Five-Senses Havdalah. Other activities included archery; human foosball; tie-dye; challah and babka baking; challah cover batiking; bubble soccer; slip’n’slide kickball; yoga; pickleball; latte art and mixology workshops and much more.

All in all, Jennison is eager to attend the next Trybal South gathering.

“I would also like to see a winter retreat,” Jennison said. “Once a year isn’t enough.”

For more information, visit Trybalgatherings.com or visit their pages on Facebook or Instagram. 

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