Twice a day Tikvah sits down in Moadon Tikvah (Tikvah lounge) for social skills group with Ralph Schwartz, Director of Special Needs Programming. There are two different groups that help to support the different needs of Tikvah campers and to cater to their specific areas of development. Social skills group covers various areas. Everything from how to deal with anger, to how to deal with having to be around someone you don’t really like, to how to behave during a camp play, to how to meet someone for the first time. Though discussions are at the root of these group meetings, many sessions revolve around role play.
Nivonim interns joined Tikvah for the first time in their social skills group earlier this week. The interns have helped with role playing and in discussions about personal space, eye contact, appearance, and relationships. On Tuesday they looked at physical space. Tikvah campers and Nivonim campers paired up to demonstrate how close is too close when having a conversation.
Every Friday, Tikvah social skills group looks a little different. One of the groups writes Shabbat-o-Grams (notes to friends written on Friday that are delivered at Shabbat dinner), working on what to say and how much to say in a letter. The other group looks at one of Joel Lurie Grishaver’s books to explore and discuss real life issues and their Jewish answers. Last Friday, Tikvah had a meaningful discussion in response to a story about a Jewish man who was a witness in court. The Judge asked him to take his kippah off before being sworn in. He felt that it was against his religious practice, but wanted to consult his Rabbi—the Tikvah campers served as the Rabbi’s for the session, claiming their own opinions and listening to the opinions of their peers. This story created a dynamic discussion where everyone could see in practice how many different opinions people may have, and how to respond to someone’s ideas that are different than your own.
What is so amazing about social skills group and the everyday of our Tikvah camper’s lives is the ability for campers to actively engage with the discussions they have in group, outside of group. Because camp is 24/7, campers really benefit from the relationships they’re making within and outside of their own aidot.