Director of Inclusion, Moss Herberholz

Over the past two years, Ramah in the Rockies has moved away from a stand-alone Tikvah program, transitioning to a full inclusion model that provides a high level of integration and support for young people with autism spectrum disorders. More than anything, this change has been made in order to fulfill the needs of our chalutzim (campers), as well as enrich both our program and community as a whole.

Our masa’ot (backcountry excursions), which run every other week throughout the summer season, have historically caused challenges for our Tikvah campers that we were unequipped to handle. We realized that, as a community, we are much better able to serve a population of campers who are high functioning but need additional support in dealing with emotional and social issues, particularly when it comes to providing these campers with an enriching and empowering masa experience.

Since transitioning to a full inclusion model, we have been able to serve up to eight inclusion campers each session. By expanding the number of our Inclusion Specialist staff who work directly with these campers, we have been able to provide the structure and support that allows them to have a successful camp experience. In the coming years, we hope to increase the support we provide for all staff that work with our inclusion campers on a day-to-day basis, so that our tzevet (staff) feel empowered to engage more fully with our inclusion campers.

In addition to strengthening our Inclusion Program, we hope to continue expanding our Vocational Education Program by welcoming between four and five vocational education participants, including one who is a former Tikvah camper from Ramah in the Rockies. With the support of our inclusion team, they will be working in specialty areas throughout the ranch. As this program continues to grow, we hope to eventually have the ability to accommodate up to eight Vocational Education participants at a time!

We are excited to see how these programs flourish in the years to come,  feel confident that these changes will strengthen the culture of inclusion at camp, and know that they will bring us closer to our goal of providing  transforming experiences of Jewish summer camp to as many individuals  as we can.

Click here to learn more about our inclusion program!
Click here to read about how an inclusion model benefits our whole community!

At Ramah in the Rockies we believe that all Jewish children should be able to experience the transformative experience of Jewish summer camp. We know that each child has his/her own special needs, and whenever possible work closely with parents and guardians to develop a customized plan to enable their child to succeed in our community. At the same time, we know that there are some children we are not able to serve for a variety of reasons, and whenever possible will work with parents to find a Jewish summer camp that is suitable for their child.

The Ramah Camping Movement has been a pioneer in serving campers with developmental disabilities. Our first Tikvah Program started in 1970. Since 2011, Ramah in the Rockies has run a Tikvah program for children with developmental disabilities. What began as a standalone program, where campers with disabilities lived in their own tents, has evolved into a combined integrated and stand-alone program. We have served over twenty campers in this program for the past few summers.

Starting in 2017, Ramah in the Rockies will only run an integrated program for children with special needs. We will focus our efforts on providing a high level of integration and support for young people with autism spectrum disorders. Potential campers must:

1. Possess ADLs (activities of daily living/self-care skills)
2. Participate in daily activities at the base camp and on extended masa’ot (excursions) with their neuro-typical peers.

Campers who exhibit self-injurious or violent behavior will not be accepted for this program.

Ramah in the Rockies is committed to providing a number of special services and supports before, during and following the summer. We believe these will help participants integrate more successfully into the broader community.

Prior to the summer:
Parents of our campers in the Tikvah program will meet, virtually or in person, with our head inclusion specialist (i.e Rosh Tikvah) to design an appropriate program for their child. Our goal is to work with parents, teachers and therapists to learn what supports and strategies their child needs to succeed at camp.

During the summer:
-All bunk staff at Ramah in the Rockies with Tikvah campers will receive additional training to help integrate campers.
-Inclusion specialists will help Tikvah campers integrate into their bunks and activities, and better manage transitions and free time.
-There will be a space at camp for campers in our inclusion program to go when they are in need of sensory breaks/respite from the broader camp community.
-Staff will work with each camper to develop skills to better integrate into communities at camp and at home.

After the summer:
-Tikvah Director or one of the inclusion specialists will provide a written report on the child’s progress at camp.

Ramah in the Rockies is committed to offering the highest level of care for our Tikvah campers, and will limit the number of campers in any given session.

For more information or to be considered for the Tikvah program, please contact the Camp Director, Rabbi Eliav Bock or our Rosh Tikvah at