Staff

The counselors are bright, creative, emotionally supportive, and lots of fun!

– SLC Parent

Introduction

SLC campers come back year after year–and so do our staff. With a summer staff of 270, we take pride in maintaining a low camper: counselor ratio so that our staff and specialists can know and care for each child as an individual.

We hire to the highest standards, complementing our “home grown” counselors with staff from Israel and Europe to give our campers a wider cultural perspective. And we train staff extensively so that together we can uphold SLC’s philosophy, values and staff standard of excellence, while cultivating valuable career skills and growth.

Below, meet our Directors and leadership team—and consider your job opportunities!

Work Here!

Start dreaming of your own summer at SLC. When you join the team here, you’ll gain and share valuable skills and leadership experience—in a great community of peers and mentors. Summer roles include: counselors, specialists, nurses, and “behind the scenes” opportunities.

Year Round Staff

Bradley Solmsen
Bradley Solmsen
Executive Director
Bradley Solmsen

Bradley Solmsen

Bradley leads Surprise Lake Camp in partnership with its Board of Directors. He has been working with young people, training staff, and overseeing camp, travel and residential youth programs for more than 25 years. Prior to SLC, Bradley served as the director of youth engagement for the Union for Reform Judaism and directed Brandeis University’s Office of High School Programs. Bradley is a rabbi (Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion) with a MA in Jewish Education (Jewish Theological Seminary). He has held graduate fellowships at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and is currently a Schusterman Fellow. When not at camp, Bradley lives in Brooklyn with his wife Aliza and their three daughters: Ela, Gila and Nomi.

Email Bradley 845-265-3616
Sheryl Kirschenbaum
Sheryl Kirschenbaum
Camp Director
Sheryl Kirschenbaum

Sheryl Kirschenbaum

Sheryl manages all the program planning and day-to-day experience of campers and staff at Surprise Lake Camp. She is a career-long Jewish camp professional full of passion for and excitement about the power of camp to transform young lives. Sheryl has served as SLC’s Camp Director since 2009. Prior to SLC, she held a long and distinguished tenure as the Mid-Island Y JCC’s Director of Youth and Camping Services.  

Email Sheryl 845-265-3616
Jenn Ambrose
Jenn Ambrose
Assistant Camp Director
Jenn Ambrose

Jenn Ambrose

Jenn gets to know every SLC family to ensure that you and your children are having the best possible experience here. Jenn attended camp in the 80’s and 90’s as both a camper and staff member, carrying on a longtime family tradition: her grandfather attended SLC as a Winter Camper in the early 1900’s. Jenn met her husband through childhood camp friends, and after several dates realized that his father was a camper at Surprise Lake Camp as well! Their three children are now fourth-generation campers who love spending their summers at their “second home.” Prior to her return to SLC in 2013, Jenn worked as a senior marketing manager and event planner in NYC.

Email Jenn 845-265-3616
Celia Baczkowski
Celia Baczkowski
Assistant Camp Director
Celia Baczkowski

Celia Baczkowski

Celia is our point-person for hiring, training, supporting, and developing programming for our summer staff of 250+. She is also the liaison for all off-season rental groups. Celia started her SLC career in 1994 as a counselor in Unit J, now called Journey’s Way. She spent three summers as a counselor, three summers as the Jewish Program Specialist on Teenside, and five summers as the Executive Secretary. In 2000, Celia joined the full-time staff, where she served four years as the Executive Secretary and eight years as the Director of Development, overseeing fundraising and alumni relations. Today, she lives on site year-round at camp: when she says she “lives and breathes SLC,” she means it!

Email Celia 845-265-3616
Avri Klemer
Avri Klemer
Director of Finance
Avri Klemer

Avri Klemer

Avri has worked at Surprise Lake Camp every summer (except one) since he joined the SLC staff as a counselor in 1994. While studying for his MSc Ed at Hunter College in 2002, he jumped at the opportunity to move to the full-time staff, first in a program role, later as the camp’s Bookkeeper and since September 2015 as camp’s first Director of Finance. He recently completed an MA in Camp Administration and Leadership. Avri is a published board game designer. He is also a novelist– unpublished so far, but hopeful!

Email Avri 845-265-3616
Dena Levine
Dena Levine
Program Director
Dena Levine

Dena Levine

Together with her team, Dena works all year to plan summers full of fun and enriching programs. Dena is a 21 year veteran of Surprise Lake Camp. She started her four years as a camper in 1987, after which she began her staff career. She’s worn many hats, from counselor to specialist, and even worked as a member of the full-time staff in our NYC office for several years. Dena met her husband Elly at camp. After taking ten years off to raise their four daughters, Dena jumped back into camp in 2012. She is thrilled that her daughters love camp.

Email Dena 845-265-3616
David Rosner
David Rosner
Development Director
David Rosner

David Rosner

David leads fundraising efforts for Surprise Lake Camp, a nonprofit organization. David attended SLC as a camper for seven years in the 1980’s. Passionate about what camp can do for young people, he works to raise vital funds that enable camp to continue to provide magical summers for today’s campers and to ensure camp’s strength and growth for future generations. David has spent his entire career serving New York charitable organizations in development roles, primarily in the Jewish community. While illness prevented him from joining the SLC staff as a young adult in the 80’s, his experiences then–including the need to rely on others for help—greatly influenced his career path and desire to give tzedakah (charity) and perform gemilut chasadim (acts of loving kindness).

Email David 845-265-3616
Abbe Wittenberg
Abbe Wittenberg
Registrar
Abbe Wittenberg

Abbe Wittenberg

Abbe handles all the details of camper registration, tuition payments, and tuition assistance. She attended SLC as a camper in the 1980’s and returned as summer staff in the 1990’s, and even briefly worked as full-time Coordinator of our site rentals. For almost 18 years, she worked in the Communications and Professional Information Department of a large NYC nonprofit–and then rejoined SLC’s full-time team as our Registrar. Abbe met her husband Rob through longtime SLC friends; their daughter is now a second-generation SLC camper.

Email Abbe 845-265-3616