jcc day camps The Joy of Joining the Camp Staff

Every year, when summer rolled around, Serena Sachs couldn’t wait to get back to the JCC Day Camps. After all, that was when the Branford resident got to see old friends and make a few new ones, and collect a load of enduring memories. It was, as she describes it, “my favorite time of year.”

“As a camper, I was able to reconnect with friends who I saw only during this season,” she says, recalling experiences like learning how to swim and traveling on field trips to places like Sky Zone and Quassy Amusement Park. 

In fact, it was Serena’s positive experience as a camper that later influenced her to join the camp staff and bring the joy of a JCC Day Camps experience to young children— first as a CIT (Counselor in Training) and then as a counselor, STEM specialist and, ultimately, at the ages of 20 to 22, as specialist supervisor.

As a staff member, she says, “I was able to help campers create the memories I still hold dear to my heart. Now, as the specialist’s supervisor, I am able to continue to create new camp traditions including our fan favorites Messy Day and Color Wars.” 

Ironically, she says, “I am still unsure if I will be continuing at camp this summer. I am waiting to hear back from various nursing programs.” Her experience as a JCC Day Camp staff member “has encouraged me to become my best self,” she notes. “It has allowed me to improve my skills in teamwork, leadership, and organization; and to realize my passion for working with children, encouraging me to become a pediatric/family nurse practitioner.”

If Serena does return to camp, it will be as the specialist supervisor working with the camp’s various specialty staff and helping to plan and organize daily activities. “I always knew that I wanted to be a part of the JCC community for years to come,” she says. “I wanted to help create for my campers the kinds of memories I had with my counselors. I am still in contact with friends who were campers. We all wanted to grow up and be counselors together, which many of us did!” 

Seventeen-year-old Ben Hoffnung of Woodbridge, was part of the JCC family at the age of two when he attended the JCC’s preschool program. Then he became a JCC day camper at age five — and he hasn’t missed a single summer yet! 



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