Calling All Young Leaders!
By Beth Milograno Berry, Jewish Community Alliance
Imagine a summer job that is entertaining, fun and extremely rewarding. A position where time management, communication, teamwork and leadership skills are promised to improve daily. As summer camp counselors, the young leaders at our Jewish Community Alliance (JCA) use and nurture those valuable life skills every day.
“I became more responsible as a counselor which prepared me for the future. You must think outside of yourself to always be able to respond to the children in your care,” explains Jessie Friedman, a JCA camp counselor from 2017 to 2020 and graduate of the University of Florida. Jessie is now a Psychometrist, which means she administers and scores neuropsychological, psychological, personality and academic tests for patients in need. “I strengthened my problem-solving skills and I learned how to be more adaptable and flexible because of the experiences I had at camp.”
It doesn’t take long to find former JCA Summer Camp counselors with promising careers. Shelby Freidman (2015 – 2019), loves working with children as a Behavior Interventionist and is now living in San Diego, California, earning a master’s degree in Special Education.
“My time at the JCA with kids of all ages, taught me a lot about cooperation, supporting others and how to manage people in large groups,” says Shelby. “Working at the JCA is what made me want to work with children in my career.”
Andrea and Adam Daveline who were Theatre Camp specialists are now married, have three children and live in Los Angeles. Having grown up at the J, Adam worked several summers as a camp counselor, then brought his girlfriend Andrea home from college to enjoy the same professional experience.
“As college students, we were both looking for experience in the arts, and Shelly Hughes gave it to us by giving us amazing creative liberty to connect with children,” says Adam.
The Davelines say their experiences have afforded them many career opportunities, like performances on stage with Disney and on Broadway, and being proud co-owners of MOD Production. As industry leaders and entrepreneurs, Andrea and Adam offer writing workshops and support to budding artists wanting to transform their work onto the big screen.
“We performed in Finding Nemo the Musical with Disney and were very successful with the production because of the experience we had at the JCA,” says Andrea. “Being a camp counselor gave us valuable theatre and production experience; it taught us how to connect better with people and how to tell stories to connect with the families in the audience.”