By Tori Bergel
Camp Ramah in New England and their D.C. Day Camp conglomerate kicked off hiring season on Thursday, Nov. 14 with a stop at this university’s Hillel center to recruit new staff members for the 2020 season.
Rabbi Jill Levy, director of the D.C. day camp, Assistant Director Sharon Rosenberg Safra and Emma Neusner, the staff hiring and programming coordinator for New England’s overnight camp in Palmer, Massachusetts, came to Hillel just after dinner to speak with students.
According to their website, Ramah “operates under the auspices of the Jewish Theological Seminary and serves as the camping arm of the Conservative Movement of Judaism.” The Palmer location offers programs for children in second through tenth grade for either two-week, four-week or eight-week sessions.
Many campers end up loving their experience so much that they stay on as staff members long after they’ve aged out of the program.
Neusner, in addition to her year-round administrative job, moonlights as a division head during the summer. She was a camper herself, “graduating” from Palmer in 2012. When asked why she has continued to go back all these years, Neusner said it was because of the camp’s impact on her life.
“I love camp and I wanted to keep doing it, and I couldn’t really imagine what life would be like without camp in it, so I tried to … plan my life around it a little bit, for the time being,” she said.
According to Levy, the D.C. Day Camp gives the opportunity to experience Ramah to children who are too young or for whom overnight camp might not be right.
“It’s [an] amazing way for them to get that Camp Ramah experience, both before they’re old enough to go to sleepaway camp and then also as a complement to sleepaway camp, because a lot of the kids might only go for two weeks or for a month, so it allows them to have a Ramah experience all summer,” she said.
D.C. Day Camp offers programs for children entering grades K-5, according to their website. Rosenberg Safra said that many campers continue on to Palmer or other Ramah programs or other sleepaway camps after they’ve gone through the day camp.
This trio has recruited on college campuses before. Last year they went to Brandeis, but Thursday marked their first trip to this university.
Camp Ramah in New England welcomes kids from throughout New England and the D.C., Maryland and Virginia areas, as well as parts of New York, making this campus an ideal location to hire staff.
“We really wanted to expand past our Boston, New England area,” said Neusner.
“There are college students in the area who might not want to go to a resident camp or who need to stay in Maryland for the summer, we have camp Ramah D.C. day camp,” added Levy.
Though looking for counselors, Neusner is happy to find individuals looking to fill any position at Palmer. Levy and Rosenberg Safra also have an array of openings for interested parties.
Working at camp can be both a rewarding and exhausting experience, especially for those at overnight camps whose jobs are 24/7, and while there are ups and downs to day camp as well, Rosenberg Safra highlighted the benefits of having the night off for staffers.
“From 8:15 until 4:45 they’re [counselors] on,” said Rosenberg Safra. “But then they’re, you know, when they get home, they’re off. So I think for some people, it’s a great opportunity to reset.”
While they are just looking to fill positions, the trio wants to impart to students the long-term benefits of working at camp. “We really think of it as something that is really professional and can be something that you really do highlight on your resume,” said Neusner.
For those interested, contact Camp Ramah in New England or Washingoton’s D.C. Day Camp for information about positions for summer 2020.