Tikvah Support

Ramah Darom’s Henry and Annette Gibson Tikvah Support Program supports campers and young adults with neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, intellectual disabilities, communication disorders, ADHD, anxiety disorders and other disabilities.

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As part of the National Ramah Tikvah Network and Camp Ramah Darom, an ACA-accredited residential camping program recognized as a national leader in supporting children with disabilities, we are focused on providing a traditional, immersive, Jewish summer camping experience to Jewish children of all abilities. Through individualized approach and support by highly skilled staff, campers build friendships, gain a sense of autonomy, develop independent living skills, learn problem-solving skills, grow as members of the Ramah Darom community and most importantly, have fun! The Tikvah Support Program enhances the entire Camp, enabling us to teach our campers, by experience, what it means to live in a truly inclusive Jewish community.

Tikvah Support for Campers

Ramah Darom offers a continuum of care for campers with a wide range of needs. Depending on needs and preferences, campers supported by Tikvah may either reside in a traditional cabin or stay in our uniquely designed cabin, which affords smaller groupings and a more homey environment. Whichever cabin a camper resides in, they will be a part of an integrated aidah (age division) with same-age peers.

The Intake Process

The success of Ramah Darom’s Tikvah Support Program is due to the work we do prior to the summer. During the intake process, we get to know each applicant through meetings with the child and their parent(s), teacher(s), therapist(s), and other members of their support team. This process helps us determine whether we can meet the child’s needs and how we can best support them at Camp if determined to be a good fit.

For more information about Ramah Darom’s Tikvah Support Program as well as the application and interview process, please reach Sara Schonwetter, Tikvah Program Director.

Unique Tikvah Support

“Our daughter Sophia has Autism and needs a lot of help to be included and participate with her typical peers, but thanks to the Tikvah Support Program at Ramah Darom, last summer she was a camper! Camp Ramah Darom was a wonderful, enriching experience that truly expanded our daughter’s world of possibilities. She had such a good time and it was a huge growth experience for her and our whole family. I would never have been daring enough to try Camp, except at Ramah Darom.” -Kayla, Palm Beach FL

  • Highly skilled college and graduate-level staff trained to work with campers with disabilities, supervised by professionals in the field
  • Individualized programming
  • Modified schedule with minimized transitions and rest/recovery time
  • Use of visual cues, schedules, and cabin rules
  • Low camper to counselor ratio 
  • Smaller cabin groupings available
  • Designated spaces for sensory breaks
  • Nurturing and non-competitive environment
  • Thorough preparation, including Social Stories, provided prior to Camp


Why Overnight Camp is Important for Campers with a Disability

Read Things We Could Only Hope For by Toby Brodtman, parent of a Tikvah supported camper

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Tikvah Vocational Education Program

Ramah Darom’s Tikvah Vocational Education Program is designed to provide 17-21 year-olds who require extra support the opportunity to learn vocational skills at Camp within Ramah Darom’s supportive, joyful Jewish community. Participants work in different areas around Camp, learning job skills, time management and teamwork, and enjoy traditional Camp activities, such as swimming, boating, art and sports. Learn more.

Tzevet Tzmicha (Staff receiving Tikvah support)

Tzevet Tzmicha staff members contribute to the Camp kehillah (community) and receive additional guidance and oversight in their summer roles. They typically work in specialty areas around Camp and are assisted with scheduling, organization and social skills. Tzevet Tzmicha is intended for 18-21 year-old former Ramah Darom campers who received Tikvah support and have graduated high school.

“The biggest fear a family member has for a child with special needs is his or her future. For children with special needs, the future is never certain nor concrete. Academic programs, extracurricular activities and anything that supports our friends with special needs, are constantly being reshaped. Eligibility is redefined, funding is dropped and the future is unpredictable. But, here at camp, a place I never would have thought to be the constant for individuals like my campers, there is Tikvah, and there is hope.” -Allision Davis

For additional information, please contact Sara Schonwetter, Tikvah Program Director at sschonwetter@ramahdarom.org or 470.381.4016

Interested in working with the Tikvah Support Program this summer? Click here.

The Henry and Annette Gibson Tikvah Program at Ramah Darom is supported by generous grants from The Ruderman Family Foundation, The Foundation for Jewish Camp, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, The Greater Atlanta Jewish Abilities Alliance and individual donors. All size donations are appreciated.

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