Summer Forever

Camp counsellors making a difference

Meet three camp leaders who make MJCCA summer programs unforgettable. 

Susan Berger, Associate Director of Camp Barney Medintz (CBM), the MJCCA’s resident camp, has been an integral part of CBM for 23 summers. “Every camp season I go in knowing this will be the best one yet,” says Berger. “Our exceptional staff is preparing to welcome our campers this summer, and I am particularly looking forward to welcoming our first-time campers.” 

Favorite CBM activities include: soaring down a 180-foot water slide, water skiing, horseback riding, zip lining, whitewater rafting, wake boarding, paddle boarding, all land and court sports, theater, dance, arts and crafts, music, Israeli culture, movie making, cooking, kayaking, mountain biking, yoga, scuba diving, and more. 

“New this year,” says Berger, “is a ‘Zen Den,’ built above the treetops with beautiful views, it will be the best place to chill and enjoy the nature all around us.”

For boys and girls completing 2nd – 10th grade, CBM offers two-week and four-week sessions. Located in the beautiful North Georgia Blue Ridge Mountains, Camp Barney is situated on 540 wooded acres surrounding two lakes, just 75 miles northeast of Atlanta, GA. 

“This year, staff members will come to CBM from all across the globe,” says Berger, “including Colombia, France, Israel, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Russian Federation, South Africa, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.”

Susan lives in Atlanta with her husband, Eddie. Their three children who all grew up at CBM are grown, but they have 2 dogs and a diva cat appropriately named Beyonce.

Ilana Schlam, Director of Theme Camps at MJCCA Day Camps, has been with the MJCCA for 10 years.  “Each summer is better than the last as we continue to enhance our offerings and infuse new energy and excitement into our camp programs,” says Schlam. “I am particularly looking forward to some of our new Theme Camps including Mermaids and Unicorns and The Amazing Race, as well as our new Kehillah (community) Time and CIA Shuk (market).”

“Ilana’s creativity is unmatched,” says MJCCA Day Camps Director Meryl Rindsberg. “She is the ultimate team player and makes camp both safe and enjoyable for all of our campers.”

Popular activities include bumper boats, ropes course, archery, programming with the Atlanta Hawks, American Ninja Warrior camps, Technology Camps, Cooking Camps, Dance/Gym Combo, Drama Camps, and so much more. 

“Each summer, I look most forward to seeing the smiles of the campers and hearing their contagious laughter as they gain independence and confidence each and every day,” says Schlam. 

Ilana lives in Dunwoody with her husband Greg, daughter Payton, son Hunter, and their dog Bailey.

Stacie Francombe, Maccabi Games Director is thrilled to be spending her summer coordinating 2019 JCC Maccabi Games®. From July 28 - August 2. The JCC Maccabi Games will call Atlanta home for just the second time in the history of the competition, with more than 1,600 participants - 550 local teens and 1,100 visiting athletes from 35 delegations coming from around the world. 

“I was involved in the Maccabi Games in Atlanta back in 2001 doing all of the video production for the week, so I love that 18 years later I am back in the JCC Maccabi world,” says Francombe. “Our Jewish community has been so generous and passionate about bringing the Games to Atlanta; the support has been overwhelming. We are so grateful for the donors, volunteers and host families who will make this week so memorable for the teens.”

Stacie lives in Sandy Springs with her husband, Dave, her three sons Josh, Jake, and Geordie, and their dog Beckham.

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