image description donate
today

The Pipeline

June 12, 2019

Meet the Directors! Summer 2019 Edition

In just four days, Tawonga’s first camp session begins, kicking off our summer season! From backpacking adventures in Yosemite and dips in the Tuolumne River to stargazing on Stone Couch and Shabbat celebrations, campers are about to have memorable, life-changing experiences. Behind all the magic is our talented, dedicated summer director team. This group of professionals works for Tawonga year-round, and during the summer, they guide and support the entire staff to ensure the most safe, loving, inclusive and fun environment for every camper.

 

Fun fact: Together, this team has spent a total of 123 summers at Tawonga. Read on to get to know our at-Camp director team!

 


Aaron Lurie, Kitchen and Operations Manager

Number of Tawonga Summers
14 (Four as a camper, 10 on staff)

Favorite Part about Camp
I really enjoyed the backpacking trip when I was a camper because of the physical exertion, the tranquility it provides and the connections you make with your bunkmates.

Favorite Meal at Camp
Shabbat Dinner! Kosher chicken and freshly-baked challah 🙂


Advice for New Campers

Push your comfort zone by trying new things.

(Aaron missed the group photo above because he was already up at Camp, preparing Tawonga’s kitchen for the summer!)

 

Aaron Mandel, Associate Director

Aaron dressed as Luke Skywalker in a Camp Tawonga play

Number of Tawonga Summers
25 (seven as a camper, 18 on staff)

Favorite Part about Camp
Backpacking and day hiking in Yosemite. Getting to be with your friends in the most desirable locations of scenic backcountry in Yosemite National Park is an unparalleled experience.

Favorite Meal at Camp
I love the burritos! Lots of great options on the table to put inside your tortilla and make it taste great!

Advice for New Campers

Have a good, open attitude to trying new things, know that it’s super normal to feel nervous before you come and know you can tell your counselors anything you’re wanting or needing, and they will help you.

Becca Meyer, Camp Director

Becca with husband Jeff and daughter Lucy (right) and son Forest (left)

Number of Tawonga Summers
I spent eight summers as a camper in Maine but never got to be a camper at Tawonga. 2019 will be my 14th summer on staff at Tawonga.

Favorite Part about Camp
Celebrating Shabbat is one of my favorite experiences at Camp because the campers get to explore what we call joyous Judaism in nature. When we all sing together at our Saturday morning Torah service at Makom Shalom (Tawonga’s outdoor sanctuary), it feels like true community.

Favorite Meal at Camp
Banquet is the best! On the last night of each session, campers feast on a Thanksgiving style meal of turkey and mashed potatoes with all the fixings.

Advice for New Camp Parents

Help your child pack for Camp rather than packing for them.

 

 

Jamie Simon, Executive Director

Jamie with husband Dan and sons Ezra (left) and Eli (right)

Number of Tawonga Summers
27 (Seven as a camper and 20 on staff)

Favorite Part about Camp
Song Session – it is the essence of Camp in one moment.

Favorite Meal at Camp
Shabbat dinner! The food is delicious, and with every bunk together in Camp, this meal is a great way to connect, build community and reflect on the week.

Advice for New Camp Parents

Welcome to our community! Don’t hesitate to call or email with any questions.

 

Kiyomi Gelber, Assistant Director

Number of Tawonga Summers
10 (all on staff)

Favorite Part about Camp
Doing mikvahs in the Tuolumne River is my favorite activity. I love being refreshed by the cold water, enjoying nature, thinking intentionally about what I want to let go of and invite in, and doing this all in community!

Favorite Meal at Camp
Grilled cheese and tomato soup.

Advice for New Campers

Be open minded, try new things and use Camp as an opportunity to explore aspects of your identity and place in the world that you may not often get to think about.

Myla Marks, Associate Director

Myla with husband Wes and daughters Nava (left) and Ariela (right)

Number of Tawonga Summers
14 (Three as a camper, 11 on staff)

Favorite Part about Camp
My favorite Camp activity is backpacking, as I have experienced how trips positively transform the cabin community and build self esteem in campers while they fill their bellies with delicious backcountry feasts and sleep under the stars.

Favorite Meal at Camp
I love the farm eggs and veggies campers cook up in the Tawonga garden, or camper’s freshly-made goat cheese with garden herbs.

Advice for New Camp Parents

Listen to the Tawonga Album: Home on Spotify before the summer, so your kids can choose to sing along at the first song session. And trust that you’re making a great choice for your kids!

 

Sam Quintana, Program Manager

Number of Tawonga Summers
19 (Seven as a camper, 12 on staff)

Favorite Part about Camp
I love the fact that every camper has opportunities to spend time in nature, both on our property at the Tuolumne River and in Yosemite National Park

Favorite Meal at Camp
The noodle bar! The coconut sauce and sun-butter sauce with chicken and noodles is a perfect blend of sweet and savory.

Advice for New Campers

Make new friends! The friends you make at Camp will last a lifetime.

 

 


 

P.S. Stay tuned for posts later in the week about what to expect from The Pipeline (Tawonga’s blog) this summer, as well as a peek into our week of In Service staff training. You can subscribe to the blog here.

 

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.