EKC's Passionate and Devoted Staff
Our staff includes social workers, teachers, graduate students and JCC professionals. Counselors and specialists from across the United States and around the world are chosen for their special skills and sensitivity to the needs of children.
We have a 3:1 camper-to-staff ratio; all staff are certified by the American Red Cross in CPR and first aid. Most staff members are from Pittsburgh, Ohio, Maryland, Washington, DC, and Florida; 10 to 20 staff members are from London and Manchester, England, and 8-12 of our staff are shlichim from Israel; 75% of our staff were once campers at EKC.
We are committed to providing your child with the best counselors and specialists possible. To do this, we create a team atmosphere at camp, where each staff member is trained to understand that camp is bigger than any one person. The staff selection process is competitive, requiring references, an in depth interview and background check.
Our staff range from students entering 12th grade (Junior Staff) to college graduates and older. Each staff member participates in a 6-day training at the beginning of the summer. We offer multiple on-going training sessions throughout the summer that include professional guest speakers who can recharge and re-direct our staff.
Each program area of camp is led by a well-trained specialist. Many of our specialists are employed in their specialty area, as professional Jewish educators, artists, sports coaches, or actors. Each of our pool and lake staff is an American Red Cross certified lifeguard and has participated in a rigorous water safety training program at camp. Our ropes course staff are also appropriately trained and certified.
Meet our team
Sam has 30 years of camping, physical education and youth services experience, including 25 years at EKC. He supervised several areas at the camp before serving as director from 1997 to 2003, and served as director of Herzl Camp in Wisconsin from 2004-2006. Sam has a Bachelors Degree in Health and Physical Education & Recreation from the University of Pittsburgh. During the summer, Sam resides at camp, and he is committed to continuous overall improvements at camp, which includes both program and facility. He is also the Director of Sports & Recreation Department at the JCC in Pittsburgh where he oversees Maccabi and the youth services experience. Sam has two daughters; Jordyn and Casey.
Director of Communication and Alumni Engagement
Rachael’s experience in camping is extensive, including 9 years of informal Jewish education and 15 summers at Emma Kaufmann Camp. She has held positions at EKC as a Bunk Counselor, Assistant Teen Unit Head, CIT (Counselor-In-Training) Unit Head, and as Operations Coordinator where she was involved in camp management, program development and staff engagement. Additionally, Rachael has held positions at J&R Day Camp as a Unit Head, where she supervised over 80 campers and staff, and assisted with all camp programming and daily activities. Most recently, Rachael served as the Young Adult Division Director at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, where her duties included fundraising, leadership development, programming, budgeting and planning efforts for the Young Adult Division. Within this position, Rachael will be responsible for much of the ongoing regular and social media communication with parents, alumni, EKC donors, new constituencies. She will also retain many of her current responsibilities related to camper recruitment, camper care and parent communication and will continue to spend part of the summer with us in Morgantown as she grows our parent and alumni network around the country. During the winter months, Rachael lives in Pittsburgh with her husband Alex.
Assistant Director Operations
Stephanie Buzza joined our office in 2004. A local Pittsburgher, Stephanie graduated from Slippery Rock University with a degree in Business Management. Stephanie has a strong camp background and will often be the first contact when parents call in to the camp office. She also will continue to oversee the camper registration process and supervision of office functions and vendor relations. Stephanie will also play a key role in supporting camper care and parent communication over the summer. We also thank Stephanie for her leadership role in EKC’s continued accreditation through the American Camping Association.
Phillip Gelman will be joining the EKC family full-time as our Program Coordinator. Phillip will continue to coordinate and oversee the CIT program, assist us in staff hiring and camper recruitment, and build upon his past 15 summers on our staff. A native Pittsburgher, Phillip grew up at the Jewish Community Center in Pittsburgh, participating in camp, basketball clinic, and eventually going on to work in the JCC’s afterschool program. Phillip has a Bachelor’s Degree from Kent State University. Prior to working for camp, he worked for WJS Psychological Association in McKeesport, where he provided at-home therapeutic support to school-age children with special needs. When he is not at camp, Phillip resides in the Lawrenceville area of Pittsburgh.
Operations and Activities Coordinator
Brooks Weaver will return to camp as the Operations and Activities Coordinator, overseeing our specialty areas and will assist us in camper recruitment and staff hiring, while continuing his work during the off-season in the Jewish Community Center’s Sports and Recreation Department. Day-to-day, Brooks coaches basketball, teaches physical education classes, and assists in managing our camp facility during the off-season. Brooks also serves as a coach for the JCC Maccabi Delegation. Brooks grew up in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he was active in youth sports for all of his childhood. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Finance from the University of Pittsburgh. When not at camp, Brooks resides in the Shadyside area of Pittsburgh.