Tikvah and Atzmayim are Ramah Wisconsin’s two aidot for campers with special needs. Campers who are in junior high and high school can participate in Tikvah (for the full 8 weeks or for 4 weeks in Taste of Tikvah), while campers who have graduated high school participate in the Atzmayim vocational program. Within the Tikvah camper program, campers participate in all the different areas of camp, such as art, sport, swimming, woodworking, dance, music, etc. Tikvah campers have their own programming, but also spend a lot of time integrated into the Machon (entering 10th grade) aidah. One of the highlights of the Tikvah summer is the Tikvah Arts Festival, as highlighted in an earlier blog post.
Older Tikvah campers also have the opportunity to participate in the pre-vocational program, where they spend one or two activity periods each day in an internship around camp. Some of the internships areas include the kitchen, the office, Rishonim (staff children), and photography.
In the Atzmayim program, campers who have graduated from the Tikvah program spend the summer learning how to live independently. They live in staff housing and take on many different responsibilities. In the morning they have jobs, either at local businesses or at camp, and in the afternoon they take classes on independent living, including how to search for jobs and how to interview.
Jeremy Drazner (Tikvah Counselor): I enjoy working with Tikvah because every day is a treat with my campers. There are always new and exciting things to do. We get great support from our staff and (Tikvah Director) Ralph Schwartz and (Rosh Aidah) Tali Kravitz. Plus, I’ve gotten a lot of experience for my career as a special education teacher.
Avi G. (Tikvah): I like being in Tikvah because I have new friends that like me and respect me.
Ben N. (Atzmayim): Being in Atzmayim is good for me because it helps me to be independent. I get to work at Walgreens and do things I never did before. I like hanging out with my friends and doing all the activities at camp too. I really like being active and leading services on Shabbat and reading Torah.