Spotlight on…..Mrs. Chaya Levy
Business Name and Position: Camp Rena, Director
Years in Business: 3
Location: 1271 East 35 Street. Brooklyn, NY
Do you think talent is inborn or can it be learned?
This is a great question with no right answer! We can all point to a few famous individuals who had natural talent. Experts have found that the greatest performers started learning and practicing from an early age and spent more time perfecting their art, day in and day out. It’s encouraging for us to know that even though one may not be born with a natural talent, it is possible to improve and to achieve great success. The message is clear: talent is “‘up for grabs” to those who seek it. The benefits of developing a talent are unlimited and ripple onto every aspect of life. It is up to parents to motivate their children to take on new hobbies and interests, and to develop their inborn desire to try something new. I believe that the only limit to our own talent capabilities is what we believe is possible, and our exposure and experience is what will get us there.
What is your vision as a camp director?
Over the course of my two decades in chinuch, I have become an avid follower of Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences, which honors and promotes the development of seven avenues of intelligence in young children. These are: visual-spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, linguistic, and logical-mathematical. This approach is our foundational framework for the Camp Rena experience. Our goal is to expose our campers to a wide variety of intelligences, directly and indirectly, with a brilliantly orchestrated itinerary that culminates in a successful grand performance and a positive self-image for each camper. This is the vision for Camp Rena. More than just a camp, it’s a transformative experience.
Can you walk us through a typical day at Rena?
No day is a typical day at Rena, but I’ll share a glimpse. Our day is divided into nine activities filled with non-stop action. Our campers are greeted with a big, happy welcome and music playing on the loudspeaker as they make their way to designated meeting areas. Each day starts with a special ‘breakout’ of the day’s theme and giveaway prizes are distributed. Our campers head to their respective davening rooms and follow their schedule filled with a variety of performing arts classes, specialty classes, ceramics, baking, sports, arts and crafts, shiur, lunch, and swimming. Our themed main events are carefully planned, our weekly entertainers are first rate, and our campers go on a trip one day a week. This year, we have an incredible lineup of trips and late-nights.
How do you appeal to teens?
Our teen division brings a unique and sophisticated edge to our program! We recognize the special strengths of our teens and provide supportive relationships with the administration, staff members, and their peers. We take great measures to provide many outings, overnights, extra late-nights, unique specialty classes, and advanced skills training such as modern dance, pottery, music, and so much more. This summer, we will be hosting a series of guest speakers who will facilitate interactive workshops with our teens to raise their self-awareness and hashkafah levels. But probably our greatest appeal is the exciting and adventurous trip itinerary that we provide for our teens.
How early do you start preparing for the summer?
Camp preparations require meticulous planning and coordination, which is why we begin as soon as the summer season is over. We handpick our specialty staff to be talented individuals and also great role models for our campers. My dedicated administrative team works tirelessly throughout the year to tailor the program for each specific division.
Are you concerned about safety this summer?
Safety has always been our foremost concern. In light of recent events, we have heightened our security measures tremendously. After careful meetings with law authorities and security firms, we have made concrete and effective upgrades to our security measures for summer 2020, of which our parents have been informed.
Do your campers stay in touch during the year?
The Camp Rena experience is like a family, so we always stay in touch and communicate with our parents throughout the year. We recently held a very successful camper reunion at the Aviator over the Chanukah break bringing back good friends and memories.
What do you love most about Rena?
What I love most are the harmony, warmth and positive energy that permeate every aspect of a Camp Rena day. The simchah and the supportive camp environment are unparalleled and is a trademark to the Camp Rena name.