Camp Wellness & Special Needs
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 their own mental, emotional, social, and physical needs, and whenever possible, we will 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 we will work with parents and guardians to find a Jewish summer camp that is suitable for their child.
To inquire about specific support for your child at Ramah in the Rockies, please email our Director of Camp Wellness, Talia Horowitz, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Ramah Camping Movement has pioneered the effort of serving campers with developmental disabilities. The first Ramah Tikvah Program started in 1970 and has been active at Ramah in the Rockies since 2012. What began as a stand-alone unit where campers with disabilities lived in their own tents has since evolved. As of 2017 we have transitioned to a mainstream inclusion model, where we provide a high level of integration and support for young people with autism spectrum disorders and other special needs.
All campers are cared for by counselors who are wonderful people and mostly grew up at camp or are emissaries from Israel between the ages of 18-25. They receive ongoing training starting during staff week and continuing through the summer. While taking care of campers is their primary concern, they are not trained as therapists and do not accompany campers at every moment of the day. Our awareness of the scope of our staff resources informs our decisions regarding which campers we may successfully support and how best to support them.
1 Prior to the summer:
Determine if your child is a good fit:
Your child must be able to:
- Engage in activities of daily living (ADLs)
- Participate in daily activities at base camp and on extended masa’ot (backcountry excursions)
- Hike with a heavy backpack (around ⅓ of bodyweight, can be a little less) for multiple miles
- Navigate the mountainous terrain at camp
This program is not a good fit for chalutzim (campers) who have:
- Mobility difficulties
- Heart problems
- Major medical needs
- Eating disorders
- Exhibited self injurious or violent behaviors
Meet with our Camp Wellness Team
- Parents of our campers who are neurodiverse will meet with a member of our Camp Wellness team to design a camper success plan for their child. Our goal is to work with parents, teachers, and therapists to learn what kind of support each child requires to succeed at camp.
- A Camp Wellness Team member will also meet with the child to get to know them and learn more about their goals for the summer as well as any strategies they find useful.
**Our program is not structured for campers who are unable to use the bathroom or shower independently, and our program is not structured to provide one-on-one supervision or support for any camper.
2 During the Summer:
- All staff at Ramah in the Rockies will receive additional training to support campers who are neurodivergent.
- Campers who are neurodivergent will work with members of the Camp Wellness team to ensure support in areas they need, such as bunk and activity integration, social dynamics, daily transitions, and free time.
- We provide a CORE tent (chill out, relax, and energize) at camp which is a space where all campers can go when they need a sensory break or respite from the broader camp community.
- We will update families with children who are neurodiverse as needed throughout the summer to share how their child is doing at camp. Our staff will also be in touch if we have any additional questions or concerns.
Ramah in the Rockies is committed to offering the highest level of care for our campers who are neurodiverse and will limit the number of campers in any given session in order to maintain that high level of care. For more information or to be considered for additional support, please contact our Director of Camp Wellness, Talia Horowitz, at email@example.com or call (303) 261-8214, ext.108.
Special Needs FAQ
How will my child’s special needs be accommodated?
All staff will receive training in how to work with adolescents with special needs. Parents will complete an application form about their child. To best accommodate each child, the Camp Wellness team will work with every family before camp on a camper success plan to enable their child to make a successful transition into camp.
Is my child right for this program?
This program is not a good fit for chalutzim (campers) who require one-on-one supervision, have mobility difficulties, heart problems, major medical needs, or are not able to use the bathroom independently. Our Camp Wellness team will be available to speak by phone to answer your questions directly to see whether camp is appropriate for your child.
Please see the above section, “Prior to the Summer’, for additional information.
How do we register?
To inquire about Ramah in the Rockies for your child, please contact Talia Horowitz, our Director of Camp Wellness at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (303) 261-8214 ext.108. After an initial phone conversation, our Director of Camp Wellness will schedule a date to interview your child. If the program is appropriate for your child, you will be asked to complete the online registration process through Ramah in the Rockies’ CampMinder website by creating a CampMinder account, completing the online forms, and sending in your deposit.
Are there scholarship funds available?
Yes. There are both need-based and incentive-based financial aid options. Please visit the “Grants and Scholarships” section of our website to find out more about applying for a scholarship. Specific questions about scholarships should be addressed to our Registrar, Sandra Yaron, at email@example.com.
Who will receive information on my child?
We value confidentiality at Ramah in the Rockies. Only those staff members who are working directly with your child will be given information about their needs, as is appropriate.
Will I be able to speak with my child?
Throughout your camper’s time at Ramah in the Rockies, our dedicated inclusion staff will be in communication with you about your child. We do not have parents talk to their child on the phone since it generally makes chalutzim (campers) more homesick; however, we make special exceptions for specific circumstances. You are able to email your child and write letters daily. We will also post pictures from camp on our SmugMug regularly. For other questions regarding the camp history, immunizations, accommodations, safety, food and gear, billing, and transportation please visit our Camp FAQs.