Tikvah Spotlight by Dr. Bonnie Schwartz
February is Jewish Disabilities Awareness and Inclusion Month. Since the first Tikvah program was established at Camp Ramah in New England in 1970, each summer has become an opportunity for children and young adults with all abilities to share in the magic of camp – to sing, swim, dance, play, celebrate Shabbat together, learn from each other, and create new friendships and understandings. As Tikvah has continued to grow and evolve, Ramah has created a continuum of support with varying levels of accommodations and inclusion, and we are always looking for new ways to continue to improve and grow.
Just this past summer, we piloted a new mini-Amitzim program to allow younger campers requiring support to attend camp for a two-week session. It was an amazing success and this summer we will be welcoming even more new campers! In 2017, we also debuted Voc Ed Ma’avar, which is a transitional vocational program that allows for recreational and highly supported job experiences around camp. Finally, with the opening of our new Chadar Ochel (dining hall), we introduced a new food service curriculum within Voc Ed and partnered with our amazing kitchen staff to assist with preparations of meals for the entire camp! At CRNE, we can all be proud of the rich history of Tikvah, the model it has become, and the community that we have created and continue to create together.
But Tikvah extends beyond camp. We hear wonderful stories of our campers connecting with each other during the school year. In addition, our staff creates year-round programming to continue to share the joy of Shabbat and strengthen relationships created at camp. This year, we have continued our Shabbos Is Calling program that brings together interested Tikvah campers and staff every Thursday evening for a video conference. Campers and staff share stories about their week, learn about the parsha and holidays, and sing songs together, all while being connected and able to see each other on their computer screens.
I’m pleased to shae that planning and registration for the Spring Family Tikvah Shabbaton is already in full swing! This beloved Shabbaton, which will take place April 27-29 this year, is a unique weekend during which parents, siblings and children with disabilities experience the magic of Shabbat at Camp Ramah. It is an opportunity to meet new friends, share thoughts and ideas, try new activities, and enjoy the fun of camp. Families do not need to be affiliated with Ramah to attend. For more information and to register please click here. If you have additional questions, please contact Dr. Bonnie Schwartz at BonnieS@campramahne.org.
For more information on all of our programs, please visit our website. See you at camp!