(JTA) — On Aug. 2, camp directors across the country — including at several prominent Jewish camps — received an email with stressful news.
Just days out from their campers’ return home, the company hired to transport all of their belongings home had announced its sudden closure.
“Despite our best efforts, including remortgaging my house to get July payroll done, online predatory lenders, local lines of credit, and making use of an inheritance I received, the path forward has become unfeasible,” Camp Trucking’s managing director, Dan Maguire, wrote in the email. “We are out of the capital to get the job done and it has led us to this heartbreaking decision.”
Among the dozens of camps left in the lurch by the abrupt shuttering of the nearly 50-year-old company were several in the Ramah network. Parents at the Conservative movement’s camps in New England, Pennsylvania, Georgia and New York all paid Camp Trucking hundreds of dollars to get their children’s gear to and from camp — but there was suddenly no way to get the belongings home.
That’s when Door-Va-Door Trucking stepped in. Co-founded by a Camp Ramah alum, the new luggage delivery service — its name a pun on the Hebrew phrase “l’dor v’dor,” meaning “from generation to generation” — hadn’t planned to pick up any bags before 2024. But its operators believed they could offer a solution.
“The Ramah camping movement is close to my heart personally, having grown up in that movement,” Joshua Romirowsky told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “We’re excited to provide the service and execute and help support a great camp that’s in need of a hand.”
Romirowsky is a lawyer by trade and an alumnus of Camp Ramah in the Poconos who served on its board for eight years. His cofounder, Maor Rozalis, has logistics and operations experience from his time serving in the Israel Defense Forces and as CEO of a document scanning and shredding company. The pair met when their children began attending Jewish day school together at the Kellman Brown Academy in southern New Jersey, where they saw how much stress conveying camp belongings could cause for families.
“Knowing the camp industry, knowing how camps operate, and the customer base,” Romirowsky said, “I saw that from talking to parents and talking to camp professionals [and] from my own background … there was a need for a better service, a more reliable service, one that had better communication.”
Door-Va-Door Trucking officially launched in March and its founders spent the months since doing outreach to line up clients for next summer. When news of the sudden closure of Camp Trucking came last week, Romirowsky says he reached out to a few overnight camps to see if they could help. One took him up on the offer.
“Ordinarily, we would have months to prepare,” Romirowsky said. “With less than 10 days to prepare, we were able to coordinate with Camp Ramah Berkshires.”
Camp Ramah in the Berkshires declined a request to comment. But the camp had told parents when it informed them about Camp Trucking’s closure that it was working on another solution, and this week, it let them know it had found one.
Next week, Door-Va-Door will be picking up campers’ luggage and distributing it to six distribution points throughout the greater New York City, Long Island and North Jersey area.
“The camp’s handled it great,” said Jordana Horn Gordon, who has one camper and one counselor at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires. “They’re going to bring the luggage back for the kids, which is terrific.”
Horn Gordon said the snafu was minor compared to what camps and campers have been through in recent years.
“I’m not concerned about it at all,” she added. “Honestly, I think they communicated well and quickly. And I’m so thrilled that finally we’re back to having normal summers that I think that actually this is a situation where COVID and everything we’ve been through for the past few years has really put everything into perspective very nicely.”
Camp Trucking did not respond to requests for comment. Other camps have reportedly recommended that families contact their banks and credit card companies to file a claim if they paid for a service through Camp Trucking with a credit card ahead of time. Horn Gordon said she did not recall whether Ramah had recommended taking such action.
“Jewish camping, overnight camp, I think is a tremendous gift for kids, for families. I’ve benefited from it personally,” Romirowsky said, adding that the experience depends on having everything campers need in place before they get there.
“It’s not just a bag that’s going on vacation,” he said. “Parents are counting on their luggage getting to camp safely and on time so that their kids can have a great summer experience.”