Monthly Archives:February 2017

Camp Friends Are the Best Friends

Posted by February 26, 2017 • Share:


JCC Maccabi Sports Camp is the perfect place to meet new friends and people from all over the world. Our camp is one big community where children bond quickly by playing sports and sharing in the activities and traditions of our camp.
Our staff is adept at fostering an environment that helps kids step out of their comfort zone and establish meaningful relationships. Still, some campers choose to come to camp with friends from home as a way to transition into the new environment.

A friend can be a security blanket or someone to be brave with when they want to try something new or start a conversation. Other campers choose to bring a friend to share the meaningful experience with them.

No matter what, camp gives kids a chance to be their best selves, to grow, learn, reach out and make new connections. Whether your child comes to camp with a friend or comes alone, we assure you that JCC Maccabi Sports Camp is a wonderful community where they will form long-lasting friendships and most importantly, share s’mores around a campfire!

Staff Spotlight: Mandy Strom

Posted by February 15, 2017 • Share:

We are excited to welcome Mandy Strom to camp this summer as our Head Volleyball Coach. Mandy is from Pembroke Pines, Florida and is currently teaching Mathematics at Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach, Florida. Along with her 12-years of experience playing, Coach Mandy brings many years of expertise in coaching at both the collegiate and high school level.

Before teaching at Oxbridge Academy, Coach Mandy was an Assistant Coach at Broward College in South Florida. Additionally, Mandy earned her Master’s Degree while working as a Graduate Assistant Coach at Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa.

In her playing career, Mandy was a three sport NCAA Division II athlete at Ohio Valley University competing in Cross Country, Softball and Volleyball. She was not only a starter in all three sports, but was also ranked in the top five of the conference for both softball and volleyball.

Coach Mandy is very excited to work with our campers this summer and more specifically looking forward to the friendships and memories that will be created.

Staff Spotlight: Alyssa Batty

Posted by February 15, 2017 • Share:

Alyssa Batty will be joining us at JCC Maccabi Sports Camp this summer as our Head Girls Lacrosse Coach.

Batty has been playing and coaching lacrosse for 12 years. She is currently entering her first season as the Head Coach of Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Previously, she spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach at Illinois Wesleyan University. During her time at IWU, Batty helped the Titans reach their first ever conference championship and improve their records.

Batty holds a masters degree in Sports Recreation and Administration from Illinois State University. Before Batty landed in Illinois, she spent one season as a volunteer assistant coach at Division I Delaware State University. Batty also worked with Quaker City Lacrosse Club, which was originally based in Philadelphia.

Before Batty began her coaching career, she had an outstanding career as a player. Alyssa was a 4-year starting goalie at Wesley College in Delaware and upon graduation she had broken the school records for most saves in a season and most saves in a career. In her senior year, the NCAA recognized Alyssa as one of the top five returning Division III players in the nation. During her 2013 season, she would earn 2nd team All-Capital Conference.

Batty is excited to be our Girls Lacrosse Head Coach and is looking forward to a great summer.

Staff Spotlight: Chelsea Rodriguez

Posted by February 15, 2017 • Share:

Head Softball Coach Chelsea Rodriguez comes to the JCC Maccabi Sports Camp from Durango, Colorado and is excited to be part of our team this summer!

Chelsea is originally from Phoenix, Arizona where she played softball growing up. She moved to Durango, Colorado to play NCAA Division II softball at Fort Lewis College. Chelsea had great success playing softball in college, making All-Conference teams all four years, earning multiple awards and setting school records.

Chelsea also had the unique opportunity to play for the United States softball team two years in a row at the Prague Cup International Tournament. At the tournament, Chelsea earned the title “Best Hitter” in 2013.

After graduating from college, Chelsea was hired as the Head Softball Coach at Durango High School and led the Demons in a competitive conference for two seasons. Now, Chelsea currently teaches U.S. History and Psychology at Montezuma-Cortez High School in Cortez, Colorado while volunteering with the softball team on occasion.

A teacher at heart, she loves coaching because it gives her the opportunity to pay-it-forward and help young female athletes gain confidence, develop skills and thrive in a sport that they love. Softball is a game of life and Chelsea takes pride in her ability to help athletes find their strengths mentally and physically. Chelsea puts great effort into creating a fun, positive atmosphere both on and off the field.

14 Reasons Why I Love Camp

Posted by February 13, 2017 • Share:

Confessions from a Camp Counselor 

Although at times it is stressful, there is no other summer job I would rather have. Camp is a place where community and relationships are built and when my campers hug me at the end of the session to say goodbye — often with tears in their eyes — I know all of my effort was worth it.

To all of the parents, grandparents and guardians alike, thank you for giving us the chance to care for your children each summer. I think I can speak for all of us when I say there is no greater satisfaction than watching our kids leave camp better athletes and people than when they first arrived.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, here are 14 Reasons Why I Love Camp!

I can’t wait for camp this year and I am already counting down the days until Summer 2017!

Much love,
1) The amazing people: JCC Maccabi Sports Camp brings in a beautifully diverse group of people every year. The camp atmosphere is a wonderfully lush place for friendships to grow and solidify. I’ve made friends at camp that will stay with me throughout my lifetime.

2) Seeing the growth of the campers: As a counselor, I got to see my campers develop over our sessions together. Seeing this maturation as they come out of their comfort zones is such a rewarding feeling; as is knowing that you’ve helped build an environment in which they feel safe enough to be themselves and begin to build relationships with their peers.

3) No judgement zone: Camp is a place where everyone, campers and counselors alike, is able to let loose. Constant inclusion and reassurance allow kids to break out of their molds and defy stereotypes they may deal with in every day life.

4) Learning about Judaism: As someone growing up in a non-religious household, I find the different religions endlessly fascinating. Camp is a place to learn more about Judaism and experience the culture first-hand.

5) The tight-knit community: Immediately after arriving at camp I felt as though I had gained a new family. Everyone was talking like we had known each other for years, and friendship flowed easily between everyone. Knowing I could rely on my colleagues in high-pressure situations gave me a strong impression of camaraderie and trust. That same stigma holds true with the campers. We ensure that our kids not only grow as individual athletes, but as teammates and cabin mates.

6) Every day brings something new: Although we worked on a schedule, my days never failed to have multiple surprises in store for me. New games and activities were constantly being created, becoming a gateway of creativity for both the counselors and the kids.

7) Traveling: Getting to fly across the country and live in a new place for 8 weeks is an amazing experience. I got to visit a new city in a new state and explore it wholeheartedly. Being away from home generates an aura of adventure that brings positivity and a willingness to try new things.

8) Unplugging from technology: Although we still had our phones, we would go the majority of the day without being directly connected to social media or things going on outside of camp. This only intensified the family-like environment and took “living in the moment” to a whole new level for me.

9) Growing more independent: Camp taught me how to do a lot of things for myself, and a lot of things for other people. I believed myself to be self-sufficient before camp, but my trip away from home allowed me to make decisions completely on my own, as most campers were also able to practice. This created a sense of self-assuredness that I had been lacking, and it was easy to see the self-confidence that grew in the campers as they spent more time in the freedom of camp. I thought I was teaching my kids how to be more independent, but I was learning too!

10) Spending time outside: Whether it’s laying by the pool or surrounding a campfire, being outdoors is one of the best parts about camp. Our outdoor evening programs are always some of my favorite; having the freedom to run around and release some energy in a positive, healthy environment surrounded by friends is something I really miss when I’m at home.

11) Campfires: Singing and s’mores making has never been more fun. Spending a night around the fire with new friends always lightens the mood and rejuvenates relationships after a long week.

12) Teamwork: At camp we have such an amazing group of staff members. There’s no shortage of staff bonding time at camp. Being together during times such as staff week or Onegs allows us to form solid levels of communication throughout the summer. The trust we build lets us work together smoothly and always be on top of our game for the kids.

13) Being a part of building happy memories: As a counselor, you get to be an integral part of memories made at camp. Helping kids build their own unforgettable adventures, experiences, and friendships is so fulfilling.

14) Building connections: I feel confident that I could go almost anywhere in the world and know someone who lives there. Camp relationships last for life, and you never know where your next adventure will take you.