Camp Ramah Gets Swabbed!
I am honored that I was asked to run a Gift of Life recruitment drive at Camp Ramah, which is located in Wingdale, New York, nestled in the beautiful Berkshire Mountains. As a Gift of Life Ambassador, I spoke to the staff members about my experience as a donor, encouraged them to join the registry and answered their questions about getting involved with the organization.
Every summer, Camp Ramah works on fulfilling a mitzvah as their summer theme. This year, they have chosen Gift of Life as the recipient of their mitzvah work. I helped kick-off their mitzvah program by introducing the staff to Gift of Life and its mission to help facilitate bone marrow and stem cell transplants. I impressed upon them the need for all eligible, healthy people to register, as well as how important financial support is in order to keep the services provided in existence.
The Camp Ramah drive was on Friday, June 26, 2009 during the staff orientation week. With school out for the summer, I was able to make it a family adventure. My 9 year old daughter, Ayelet, and 6 year old boys, Avi and Shalom are always asking what they can do for Gift of Life. This was their chance. The youngest Gift of Life Ambassadors were going on their first recruitment drive. We were all excited about this event. We arrived at a typical sleep away camp – pebbled roads, hills, trees, and every structure made out of wood. For me it brought back wonderful memories from my days at sleep-a-way camp in the Catskills.
Held in the auditorium, the staff members were shown a detailed video about Gift of Life. After being introduced by the camp director, Amy Roth, it was my turn to speak. Even though I have spoken about my experience numerous times I was still a little nervous. Speaking about my donation experience (I am a two-time donor) is so close to my heart that the words just flowed naturally. After my speech it was swabbing time. It was amazing how fast everyone came up to the table to get swabbed. There were about 150 staff members in the crowd and in less than one hour, we registered 36 new potential donors into the Gift of Life registry. Would you believe that the reason the rest did not register that day was because most of them had already heard about Gift of Life and were registered? It was so heart warming to see so many caring people that day.
By the time we arrived home, we were on a Gift of Life high. We had such a wonderful experience at Camp Ramah and with their staff. My kids, who have been exposed to Gift of Life their whole lives, were talking and asking questions about the organization, stem cell donation and even becoming donors themselves someday. It was a wonderful lesson for them to learn and the conversation stayed with them all weekend.
Now that we have officially made it a family affair, we are all looking forward to our next Gift of Life recruitment drive.
Submitted by Gift of Life Ambassador: Yocheved Berger