I have been involved with the Tikvah Program—Camp Ramah New England’s disabilities program—for almost my whole life. Because my dad (and fellow rider) has been directing the Tikvah Program since 2001, I spent my first five summers at camp living in the Tikvah Village. Interacting with individuals with disabilities was natural for me from a young age. One of my earliest camp memories is playing Uno every night with members of the vocational training program.
As a camper, I served in the buddy programs and the CIT programs in Amitzim, the special needs camping program.
My strongest ties with Tikvah are through the Inclusion Program. My good friend and bunkmate of six years was an inclusion camper who lived in my bunk and participated in all activities with us.
For many years, I had the privilege of living in an inclusive environment, and this past summer, I had the opportunity to pass on that experience to my campers when I served as a counselor in an Inclusion bunk.
I have witnessed firsthand the incredible impact that Tikvah has had on the Ramah community, and I hope that through my participation in the Ramah Israel Bike Ride, even more people will be able to benefit from the program in the future.
What a treat to participate in my 3rd Tikvah Ramah Bike Ride. This time, I have the wonderful opportunity to ride with Elisheva. My children have grown up with Ramah and Tikvah, serving as Tikvah counselors and Voc Ed advisors, peer mentors, and bunk mates and friends to campers with disabilities. Coming to camp in 2001 as Tikvah director was one of the best family decisions we have ever made. I first came to Tikvah in 1984—by accident! I had planned to work in the kitchen, and an unexpected opening led to my transfer to an Amitzim bunk. I worked for six years with Tikvah founders Herb and Barbara Greenberg, and have spent almost my entire professional career with Tikvah. Since assuming the role of Director, I have expanded all aspects of our program, created a full inclusion program, and have led four Tikvah Israel trips. I am delighted that my work with Tikvah was acknowledged last year when I received the Covenant Award for Excellence in Jewish Education. And now, I get inquiries from camps across the US and Canada wondering how they might create programs to serve campers with disabilities. I am happy to help! I have recently joined the National Ramah Commission staff where I was appointed Director of the Ramah Tikvah Network. In this capacity, I help support all of Ramah’s camps and their initiatives around disabilities camping. One of the most rewarding parts of the ride is knowing that the money we raise goes right back to each camp for scholarships, program development and more!
Please support Elisheva and me as we seek to break our fundraising goal of $10,000. Thanks for your ongoing support.
Howard and Elisheva Blas