This past summer our Tikvah Vocational Program (TVP) participants, opened and ran an in-camp coffee shop! Café Darom served various flavors of hot and iced coffee, as well as hot chocolate to the staff at Ramah Darom. As baristas took orders, operated Keurig machines and made each order, they improved skills such as organization, customer relations, professionalism, teamwork, workplace hygiene, motor skills and cleaning. The baristas were trained by the vocational coordinator and worked towards running the Café with minimal support.
“I love the coffee shop. Working is so nice because I love to work with my friends, Sarah and Carly. Working makes me feel excited, and happy for myself. At home I want to work at a place like Subway. The Café teaches me about making orders and how to say “Welcome to Café Darom” and be professional. I love Café Darom – go camp!” – Sasha B., West Palm Beach, FL
About Ramah Darom’s Tikvah Vocational Program
This summer, Camp added a Vocational Coordinator to the TVP team, which strengthened and enriched the program, by allowing for a more personalized and more goal-driven experience.
“Working at an overnight camp is a unique and valuable opportunity for these young adult participants. Having a vocational coach live and working alongside them, allows for support beyond the work placement, such as offering real-life guidance of healthy eating, fitness, leisure time and social relationships.” -Dr. Audra Kaplan, Director of Tikvah Support and Camper Care
Prior to Camp, our Tikvah Director, Audra Kaplan had conversations with the participants and their parents to learn about each person’s prior experience, interests and goals for the summer. Then the Vocational Coordinator, worked with Camp staff to learn about the expectations and skills needed for tasks, designed personalized work opportunities and provided coaching for the participants and their co-workers.
“Working at Camp is a dream come true to me because it gives me more opportunities. I work in the Gan and it makes me feel compassionate. This summer I also worked on my healthy eating and exercising. I’m learning how to make different coffees, working in the Welcome Centre, and helping set tables in the Chadar. Working this summer will make me do a lot more around the house and teach me how to work in the real world.” – Sarah D., Sarasota, FL
Participants in TVP are placed in various jobs around Camp, such as Gan (Daycare), Kitchen, Sorchaniya (Mailroom), Omanut (Art), Camp Office, Café Darom and other job-sites specific to their strengths. They also participate in weekly sessions led by our Vocational Coordinator, focusing on skills such as professionalism, managing money and self-advocacy. In addition, participants receive guidance on peer relationships and healthy living.
“I like my job at Camp. My job is working in the art center. I help the campers, wash brushes, and help finish projects. I feel good at my job because I know how to do it, and I have a job at home in at pottery place. This summer I learned about doing the coffee shop and setting tables. Working at Camp is important for me because I want to be in a regular job at home.” – Carly G., Jacksonville FL
Alumni campers who have received Tikvah Support can apply to be a part of TVP. Participants must have a desire to work in Camp, have mastered independent living skills, and demonstrate a willingness and ability to perform demands of specific work placements.
About the Author
Maya Albin was the Tikvah Vocational Program Coordinator this summer at Camp Ramah Darom and is a longtime Ramahnik. She worked with Ramah Canada’s Tikvah Program for four years and developed Ramah Canada’s Tikvah Vocational Program, before coming to Ramah Darom. Maya cherishes her many summers spent at Ramah Canada and loved experiencing the ruach at Ramah Darom this summer. She is from Toronto, ON and she is currently pursuing her Masters of Speech-Language Pathology at McMaster University.