Humans of Jewish Camp: Shelby Kass
Shelby is the Associate Director of JCC Rainbow Day Camp in Milwaukee, WI.
Did you go to summer camp as a kid?
Summer camp is a pretty unique thing for me… it is literally in my blood. My parents met at Camp Interlaken JCC and then started their own day camp. I have been attending JCC Rainbow Day Camp every summer since I was in the womb.
Tell us about someone who impacted you while you were at camp in a meaningful way.
Lenny Kass has definitely impacted my life – both personally and professionally. I am one of those lucky people who gets to work with their dad. A lot of people always ask me what that is like. To be honest, it’s AWESOME. We have a very unique bond and work extremely well together. Lenny has been the director of a camp for over 35 years, so I am constantly learning something new.
Who is the camp person you’ve spoken to most recently?
During the off season, I spend a lot of time connecting with a long-time camper and now staff member, Alex. Alex has also grown up at camp and has been part of our RDC family for roughly 20 years. I am the only full-time professional for my camp, so he is someone I turn to for support and brainstorming quite regularly.
Alex is one of those people who reminds me just how awesome and important camp is. He is constantly sending me links and images to activities that just say “we need this at camp.” He helps me brainstorm social media posts and is ALWAYS interested in hearing a good camp story. I turn to Alex for a lot of help, he knows camp so well and has grown up there. It really is just like talking to my brother.
What’s a “must” on your camp playlist?
“I Want it That Way” by the Backstreet Boys is always on my camp playlist. When I was in middle school we wrote a group parody that included “Lenny’s Bench is That Way!” I will never forget that!
What’s your favorite spot at camp?
My favorite spot in camp? EASY! The southeast corner of our Bayit (main building) on the porch that looks out over our pond. There is a small square table where I absolutely love to sit on a sunny day. I get to camp pretty early, so sitting there with a cup of coffee and listening to the birds chirp and the frogs croak is absolutely amazing. It sets the tone for the day, clears my head, and reminds me just how lucky I am to have such an amazing career.