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(Tikvah Vocational Program)


The Tikvah Vocational Program, called Atzmayim, (Hebrew for “independent”) is designed to strengthen social and vocational skills in participants who are high school graduates ages 18-21. It is intended to assist in transitioning to an independent living environment such as a college campus and developing the skills to select and engage in leisure activities at home.

The goals and objectives of the Atzmayim program stress areas of personal development such as self-image, vocational skills, independent social functioning and active involvement in the Jewish community. The Atzmayim program provides a supportive framework for participants to interact with the general staff population, who serve as their role models. The Atzmayim in turn serve as role models for the younger Tikvah campers.

Participants will enhance individual skills as they:

  • Learn to follow a workday schedule: wake up on time, be prepared for work

  • Take care of personal laundry

  • Dress appropriately for work

  • Maintain appropriate personal hygiene

  • Make bed daily

  • Keep dorm room neat

Participants will enhance their community interactions as they:

  • Attend social skills class

  • Work cooperatively with others on group activities, e.g. evening programs, days off

  • Engage in appropriate staff lounge activities

  • Take leadership roles in prayer services

  • Participate in meal preparation

Participants will enhance their workplace abilities as they:

  • Learn appropriate social interaction with supervisors, employers

  • Learn positive communication skills with supervisors, employers

  • Learn how to accept instruction in a workplace environment

  • Learn proper social interaction with customers/strangers

  • Learn how to maintain a positive attitude in the workplace

Vocational Experience

Participants work five mornings a week at various job sites, most often in the local Eagle River community. Job assignments range from working in a grocery store or library to making espresso in a coffee shop. Participants learn the skills necessary to perform a job function, retain a work position, make appropriate decisions, and learn to effectively manage time. Job coaches guide the participants at their work sites.

Camp Community

As members of the camp community, Atzmayim participants are responsible for planning their own evening programs, days off, and leisure time. Working in cooperative groups with facilitators, the participants are taught how to program and/or ask camp staff to assist them in their activities. They are responsible for organizing materials as well as activity set up and clean up. They are also encouraged and assisted in effectively planning their personal free time within the camp setting.

Staff Privileges

Participants have many of the privileges of the general camp staff. They are able to relax in the staff lounge during evening hours and play ping pong and pool. These informal social situations, in a non-threatening environment, allow our participants to make connections and engage in social conversations. They share in staff activities such as the a cappela choir for Shabbat.

Living Accommodations

Participants live in staff housing and have their own lounge with a kitchen and laundry facilities. They cook simple meals and share them with other members of the camp community. They invite and entertain guests at Shabbat Kiddush and evening activities, thereby developing additional social skills.

Jewish Experience

Camp Ramah provides a vibrant Jewish environment for all campers and staff. Morning prayer services are participant-led using a special prayer book complete with translation and transliteration. Atzmayim learn Hebrew vocabulary and participate in a Judaic studies class focusing on modern Israel, geography, Jewish rituals and current topics of interest.

Tikvah Program Dates and Fees

Tikvah Full Season (8 weeks): June 16-August 10, 2020 – $9,500

Taste of Tikvah A (1-month session): June 16-July 13, 2020 – $5,850

Taste of Tikvah B (1-month session): July 15-August 10, 2020 – $5,850

Full Season Tikvah Vocational Program (8 weeks): June 16-August 10, 2020 – $9,650

View the Tikvah Vocational Program Brochure

Click here to read the powerful words of Atzmayim participant Ari S. His speech received a standing ovation from our entire camp community!

For more information on the Tikvah Program, contact or call 312.606.9316 ext. 221.