Staff Spotlight: Dana Schneider, Director of Camp and Young Adult Programs
Dana Schneider returned to the Alpert Jewish Community Center staff family last September as Director of Camp and Young Adult Programs. Dana grew up as an AJCC member in the old building. She attended Camp Kadimah, performed in Summer Stock, and participated in the youth and teen group. Dana visited Israel at age 15 with an AJCC group and developed great connections with her fellow travelers. Once she left for Boston Conservatory and Wagner College, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Theater, she would return to Long Beach every summer to work at Camp Komaroff.
As Dana explains, “After college, around 2006 or 2007, I started volunteering here, primarily organizing young adult activities. All of my high school friends had scattered around the country, and I was longing to create new friendships. Some wonderful community members raised funds—in particular, Edie Brodsky, the Tillman family, and about 6-10 other families—I hate to leave anyone out! They all worked together to raise funds to get GesherCity off the ground. I was delighted to be offered the position of Young Adult Program Coordinator. When the young woman who was running the teen program left, I was also offered that position, and I was thrilled to take it. I was working with Susan Paletz, so working with her again has been awesome!”
“In that position, I ran the Teen Program and Summer Stock. I fell in love with Jewish education and working with kids. I then looked into graduate degrees that would give me more experience in the areas I was now most passionate about. I attended American Jewish University and earned a Master’s Degree in Education with an emphasis in Experiential Education.”
After Dana got her graduate degree, she worked at Camp Alonim in Simi Valley, and was also the Camp Director at Camp Shelanu in Sacramento. From there, she moved back to Long Beach and was eager to once again work in the Long Beach Jewish community! “I had the good fortune to set up a meeting with Jeffrey Rips,” Dana explains, “We had a nice conversation, getting to know one another. I was able to express how much I would love to work in the Long Beach Jewish community again, and shared my vision of what I could bring to the AJCC. When the Camp Director position opened last September, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to come back!”
“I was also really excited to be back working on the GesherCity program that I had started 10 years earlier. Through Gesher, we are now reaching out and serving more age groups in the Jewish community. We have a dedicated committee of young adults who are engaged and want to see the program grow. It’s amazing to come back after all this time and see the program not only continuing, but also growing and changing to meet the needs of the community. I am so happy to be back. It’s like coming home. Some of my previous campers are now counselors! I’m grateful to get to watch them grow up and to have the opportunity to work with them as adults. It’s great to be back, tapped in, and to be working with this creative and diverse community. I’m very grateful.”