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Camp Ramah Launching Program for Special Needs Children

This summer, camp Ramah will launch Colorado’s first overnight camping program for children with special needs.

Ramah Outdoor Adventure at Ramah in the Rockies, the only Kosher Outdoor Adventure camp in North America with an intensive Jewish educational program, is launching a new initiative for campers with special needs called: The Tikvah Program. This two-week program will serve adolescents ages 11-15 with mild to moderate intellectual and developmental disabilities, including Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism Disorder.

Ramah Outdoor Adventure opened in 2010 with 120 campers from 17 states, Canada and Israel. In 2011, the camp had 205 campers from 23 states, Canada, and Israel. We have had two very successful summers, and we are thrilled to be able to launch a special needs program for the summer of 2012.

The mission of Ramah Outdoor Adventure, “to provide outstanding outdoor adventure experiences that teach Jewish values and leadership skills and influence the character development of Jewish youth,” will guide and be an integral part of this program.

While at base camp, Tikvah campers, will live in bunks with specially trained counselors and will participate in the typical activities Ramah Outdoor Adventure offers. These activities include, horseback riding, rock climbing, wilderness survival, arts and crafts, agriculture, dance and mining.

Campers will explore the backcountry on two different overnight excursions where they will hike to the outskirts of our property, cook, sing, and sleep under the stars. Campers will also go on a day trip to a nearby buffalo ranch during their time at camp.

Tikvah campers will be part of an intense Jewish community and will participate in daily prayer and learning. Campers will also partake in elements of the camp program such as meals, Kabbalat Shabbat, and evening program with their peers. Some campers will be integrated into other activities depending on individual capability.

Campers will leave camp with an increased self confidence, appreciation for nature, social and outdoor skills, Judaic knowledge, and a strong sense of Jewish identity.

In its inaugural summer, the Tikvah Program will run from August 2 to August 14, 2012. Registration opened on November 1, 2011 and is open to a maximum of 14 participants in its first year. All participants must be interviewed by the Tikvah Director, Elyssa Hammerman, to ascertain their suitability for the program. More information can be found on the Tikvah page of the Ramah Outdoor Adventure website.

Ramah Outdoor Adventure is located at the Ramah in the Rockies ranch, a 360-acre site surrounded by the 1.2 million acre Pike and San Isabel National Forests, 90 minutes from Denver.

Tikvah ROA is being launched in cooperation with all Ramah special needs programs throughout North America, providing a network of special needs programs for children, teens and young adults with a wide range of challenges and disabilities. For a complete listing of our offerings, visit www.CampRamah.org. ROA Tikvah will provide a new offering for adolescents ages 11-15 with mild to moderate intellectual and developmental disabilities, including Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism Disorder who are interested in a rigorous, outdoor adventure program in the context of a traditional Jewish camp environment. . .

Ramah Outdoor Adventure is run under the auspices of the National Ramah Commission and is funded by the Jim Joseph Foundation, in partnership with the Foundation for Jewish Camp.

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