Summer Lovin’ – Samantha & Brian



at camp did you meet?

We met in the picnic grove during lunch, on the second day of staff training in the summer of 2002.  Sam was an SIT (staff in training) that summer and came up early during staff training week (with her mom who was a nurse) to hang out with her friends who were already counselors. Brian happened to be friends with her friends.  We also happened to both still be wearing a concert bracelet from the week before, so that broke the ice for us.

Was it love right away?

No, it wasn’t.  Sam wasn’t that interested in Brian, so we remained friends that summer.

What happened between you when camp ended that summer?

We stayed friends, and luckily Sam was at the University of Illinois and Brian was at University of Wisconsin so it wasn’t too far to visit.  After a couple of visits up to UW and spending time together on breaks, we were official in February 2003 and have been together ever since.  While Sam was staffing Camp Chi’s Pacific Northwest trip, Brian flew out to South Dakota and proposed in front of all her campers at Mt. Rushmore.

Michael Lee PhotographyWill you send your kids to your camp?
We’d love to send our future kids to Camp Chi, we could only hope that they would make the best friends that we’ve both made and maybe even be a 2nd generation of Camp Chi spouses.

Samantha (Sam) and Brian Isenstein were married in 2011 at JCC’s Camp Chi.  Sam is the Youth Community Director at North Suburban Synagogue Beth El in Highland Park, IL.  She went to the University of Illinois and majored in International Studies and the Jewish Theological Seminary’s Davidson School of Jewish Education where she received her Masters in Jewish Education. Sam spent 12 fantastic summers at Camp Chi in Lake Delton, WI as a camper, SIT, counselor supervisor and trip leader.  Brian is an IT dude for a mid-sized accounting firm in Chicago.  He went to the University of Wisconsin and Depaul University in Chicago where he received his Masters of Science in Business Information Technology.  Brian spent 13 summers at Camp Chi as a camper, SIT and counselor.