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An Avodah Reunion

By: Lee Trepeck, Chief Executive Officer

Avodah, based in Ortonville at Camp Maas, is a job coaching and recreation program for young adults entering 10th grade, extending into their twenties. Avodah provides instruction in job and life skills and offers social opportunities for those with learning, social, and communication differences.

During the summer of 2021, Avodah’s work program included a return of – and improvements to – the popular participant-led (and staff supported) “Dah-Bucks” pop-up coffee shop. Here, Avodah Village provided gourmet coffees and baked goods to excited staff members, specially prepared by Avodah participants in their new teaching kitchen. Also, new this year, Avodah participants played a key role in Tamarack’s grassroots philanthropy program, “CAMPaign for Change.” As a group, they helped arrange and construct tzedakah bus boxes that all campers could decorate and take home as part of a camp-wide education in the spirit of tikkun olam. These activities, along with assistance at the Farber Farm and in omanut (the Ravitz Foundation Arts Center), provided a great sense of purpose and responsibility for our Avodah community and provided each participant opportunities to interact with the rest of camp in meaningful, productive ways.

Now, early in this new year, they reunited! Without doubt, in a time of continued separation, shared space has become extra-meaningful. During this emotionally charged evening, they Zoomed online and entered our homes; suddenly, it felt like we were on the grounds of Ortonville! For this special evening, I was joined by some of the finest leaders in the world: Carly Weinstock (Director of Camp Maas), Danielle Tagai (Director of Mental Health and Special Needs), Lainie Sacks (Inclusion Specialist), and Lindsey Brenz (Family and Communications Coordinator).

Here’s what we saw: engaged counselors, happy participants, and smiling faces.

Here’s what we heard: beautiful updates from this “off-season,” awesome stories from the summer, hearty laughter – and even the iconic Avodah cheer (“Avoh, Avoh, Avoh… Dah, Dah, Dah!”).

Here’s what I felt: thrilled about their successes, motivated by continued growth, and grateful for an inclusive community.

Here’s what we hope: to continue a world of inclusivity, shared warmly within all our programs, where every stakeholder feels that Tamarack Camps is the beacon of light, anchored by a flagpole that is the gathering space of peace, love, and open hearts.

Here’s my conclusion: Best. Reunion. Ever.

If interested in learning more about our Avodah program, please contact Danielle Tagai at