Kol HaTnua - Voice of the Movement Ask the Camp Directors!

By Young Judaea

With camp around the corner, Young Judaea teens took the opportunity to get to know the Camp Directors a little better!

Frank Silberlicht, CYJ Texas

How did you get involved in Young Judaea?  I was living in St. Thomas and helping with youth programs at the synagogue and I decided on a career change into Camping. I wanted to live in Texas and Camp Young Judaea was where I got a start.

What is the best part about being a camp director?  The job is always changing.  Nothing about my job is redundant.  We are always innovating and trying new things.  I love the ability to run the Camp like a business with a heart!

Who is your hero?   I will go with Sandy Koufax.  He was pitching in the World Series in 1965 and Game 1 was on Yom Kippur.  He was not religious but he put his faith before his career.  I admire that!

What is your favorite camp tradition?   Coffee Cake at CYJ on Shabbat.  Those that have had it, understand.

What are your goals for camp this year?  Open and have a safe summer.  Show the first bit of normalcy to our campers and staff in 16 months!

Are there any surprises for camp this year?  Yes, but if I share it here it will not be much of a surprise.  Let me just say that we have a few new programs up our sleeves.

What kitchen utensil best relates to your job being a director? Why?  My job as Camp Director is to have vision and support our staff in doing their jobs. That means I am oven gloves to support what’s being done and to make sure nothing gets burnt.

What’s your favorite camp meal?  Every Sunday for lunch, we have hamburgers and fries.  That is my favorite meal!

 

Walter Synalovski, Camp Judaea

How did you get involved in Young Judaea? I grew up in Puerto Rico where YJ was the youth group for the kids in my synagogue. My brother, Manny, got me involved in Young Judaea while he was the madrich of our club and was the Mazkir of the Florida/PR region (Or Hadarom).

What is the best part about being a camp director? The best part of my job is to see our kids/staff participate in our camps and Israel programs, and develop a connection to Israel as they become the future leaders of the Jewish Communities.

Who is your hero? Pedro Martinez. He was a major league pitcher and was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015. He was a great baseball player and is a genuine and awesome person.

What is your favorite camp tradition? Misdar Boker. It is great to see the whole camp start the day together.

What are your goals for camp this year? My goal is for the chanichim and tzevet to have a great time and for us to have a healthy community.

Are there any surprises for camp this year? Yes, we have many new special programs planned for the chanichim. The kids will have a blast.

What kitchen utensil best relates to your job being a director? Why? I don’t have a kitchen utensil that comes to mind. However, I am a fan of the large mixers in the bakery. (I know that the mixer is an appliance and not a utensil). When I hear the mixers churning, I know that we will have fresh brownies and cookies later that day!

What’s your favorite camp meal? Shabbat Dinner is the greatest meal at camp. No doubt! Its the meal that I look forward to all week!

Helene Drobenare, CYJ Sprout Lake

How did you get involved in Young Judaea?  I did not grow up in YJ, I grew up in BBYO. I started as the director of CYJ Sprout Lake in 1999.

What is the best part about being a camp director?  The best part of my job is being part of change. Every day is different and the Sprout team gets to be part of empowering the next generation of Jews.

Who is your hero?  It’s a mix of Golda Meir and RBG

What is your favorite camp tradition?  Siyum- without a doubt. It is the one moment where the whole world stops for us to just say thank you.

What are your goals for camp this year? To open! We are so excited to get back to camp after 2020.

Are there any surprises for camp this year?  Yes there are- but I can’t tell you because it’s a surprise!

What kitchen utensil best relates to your job being a director? Why? The Fire Extinguisher- the big red one that hangs in the Sprout kitchen. As a camp director we are always putting out fires on some level.

What’s your favorite camp meal? BBQ

David Weinstein, Camp Tel Yehudah

 

How did you get involved in Young Judaea? I was 11 years old and I was flipping through my mom’s Hadassah magazine and saw an ad for a brand new camp opening – Sprout Lake.  I was tired of my old camp and I said to my mom, that I wanted to go to Sprout Lake.  That was 1976.  The rest is history.

What is the best part about being a camp director? Watching campers grow into amazing staff members.  It reminds me that we truly are developing future Jewish leaders every summer at TY.

Who is your hero?  Nelson Mandela.

What is your favorite camp tradition?  Hadracha kids leading of gazal on the last Shabbat.

What are your goals for camp this year? This summer is all about re-opening safely and being incredibly creative in how we go beyond expectations of how great camp can be even with some restrictions.

Are there any surprises for camp this year?  Ummm..yeah!

What kitchen utensil best relates to your job being a director? Why? The huge Hobart mixing machine in the back of the kitchen.  It’s been there since I worked in the kitchen and is still doing the job of mixing it all together to make an incredible summer.

What’s your favorite camp meal? Oh Bagels doo doo doo! Every summer I get to say a few words to the chanichim about the history and importance of bagels to our people.  And, they are so so yummy!

Robin Anderson, CYJ Midwest

How did you get involved in Young Judaea?  I participated in a Young Judaea program called Sharsheret when I was a junior in college (my sister was on Year Course at the same time). After that semester, I worked at Kibbutz Ketura for the summer. When I graduated from college, I accepted a position as the assistant regional director for Midwest Young Judaea (and besides a few years), I have been here since 2000.

What is the best part about being a camp director? I love seeing when a group of campers start the session as individuals and end the session as a family. Also getting the entire camp to see Pizza Man at Shabbat lunch shira.

Who is your hero? Golda Meir

What is your favorite camp tradition? When the entire camp sings Shalom Alecheim together on Friday night/Midwest’s special ice cream truck on the last day of camp

What are your goals for camp this year? For campers and staff to have fun and not worry about all of the stress and anxiety of the past year

Are there any surprises for camp this year? Can’t share – they wouldn’t be a surprise! 🙂

What kitchen utensil best relates to your job being a director? Why? a rubber spatula because it is literally the most versatile utensil

What’s your favorite camp meal? Oven Fried Chicken & Challah on Friday Night

Want to learn more about Young Judaea's Summer Camps?

Click here!
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