Emily is ecstatic to be a part of the ACA family! She comes into this with 9 years of camp experience as a counselor, head counselor, unit supervisor, and Director at the 92nd St Y Camps. As a child, Emily did not really have the opportunity to go to camp and had her first camp experience as an adult. She was catapulted into this wonderful community of cheering, outdoor activities, and embracing silliness. She witnessed and was a part of the magic that camp creates in solely 8 weeks of the summer, but lasts a lifetime. She cannot wait to spread the importance of the magic of camps to the community for an extra 10 months of the year!
Associate Director of Marketing and Events
Jenna is thrilled to be a part of the American Camp Association team! After spending 11 summers as a day camper, Jenna dedicated her next 11 summers to working at camp in a multitude of capacities including counselor and head counselor, theater director and choreographer, Swim Director and Aquatics Director. Branching out into the full time world of camps after spending time travelling is a dream come true! In August 1995, at the completion of Jenna’s first summer at camp she received the “Most Spirited Camper Award”- the rest is history.
Director of Events
Samara joined the American Camp Association of NY and NJ after working for 7 ½ years at the Institute of International Research, a corporate conference company, as part of the Operations team. She is a self-proclaimed meetings industry "geek" and loves all aspects of the conference and tradeshow industry and loves applying that knowledge to organizing our annual CAMP Conference. Samara LOVES camp and spent 4 summers at day camp and 9 incredible summers at a sleep away camp in the Poconos. She then worked at a local day camp for 2 more summers. As an only child, Samara credits the time she spent and the skills she learned at camp with preparing her for what life had to offer in the future. Samara lives in the 'burbs with her husband and daughter (who also loves camp, thank goodness).
Director, Camper Placement
Renee Flax is the Director of Camper Placement for the American Camp Association, New York and New Jersey. She has been assisting area families find the right camp experience for their children since 1998. Renee has an extensive knowledge of camp programs and philosophies. Each summer, Renee travels to dozens of ACA accredited camps. She knows the camp directors and senior staff personally and has a keen understanding of each camp's philosophy, program and facilities. She is recognized as an authority on camping and has been featured in The Associated Press, The New York Times, The New York Post, Newsday, The Journal News, Parent Guide and New York Family. Renee graduated Syracuse University (1971) with a degree in Early Childhood Education. Renee attended summer camp for 15 years as a camper, counselor, and group leader. She is the mother of two daughters who were also long time campers and grandmother to four grandchildren.
Rob is the Training Coordinator for ACA, NY & NJ. As a child he attended various camps and fell in love with the summer camp experience. He believes that camps have the ability to create lasting memories, life-long connections, and teach valuable social emotional skills. These beliefs have shaped his training style and philosophy, where participants have the opportunity to learn experientially through activity based learning. At Playworks NY/NJ, Rob led professional development trainings for schools around the tri-state area on subjects such as proactive group managment and creating culture. His trainings guided schools on how to provide their own in-house professional development under his guidance. As a prior staff member at Oasis Children's Services, Rob also led staff trainings and orientations as the Bayside Program Director. Rob is excited to combine his passion for teaching social emotional skills with his passion for summer camp in his new training role.
Susie Lupert is the Executive Director of the American Camp Association, New York and New Jersey. Susie attended resident camp for 12 years as both a camper and staff member. She attended the University of Wisconsin (Madison) and New York University where she received a Masters in Public Policy and Non Profit Administration. Prior to joining ACA, NY and NJ, Susie spent close to a decade at Housing Works, one of the nation’s largest AIDS service providers. She worked to create small for profit businesses which funneled money back to the nonprofit. Susie lives in Massachusetts with her partner Beth and their two sons.
Senior Director of Member Services
Before joining the American Camp Association, New York and New Jersey team, Kyle was the Afterschool and Summer Camp Coordinator for a Settlement House in New York City. Being in camping for most of his life, Kyle has a deep passion for the lessons that can only be taught at camp, and works to enhance the experience not only for campers but for parents and staff as well. With a background in music, he is always looking to bring a creative aspect to his work and personal life. Kyle loves being part of the ACA, NY & NJ team and is glad to continue to develop and strengthen this field. Kyle is the recipient of the 2018 New York City Young Nonprofiteer of the Year Award. He lives in Queens with his dog, Lucky.
Director of Communications
Prior to joining the American Camp Association, New York and New Jersey, Jess Michaels was the Associate Director of Publicity for the publishing company Penguin Young Readers Group, where she executed national and regional publicity campaigns for bestselling and celebrity children’s book authors. In this role, she also managed a team of six publicists and coordinated various press and book events. Before working at Penguin Young Readers Group, Jess worked on national publicity for Thirteen/WNET, the flagship PBS station in New York. At Thirteen/WNET, she pitched and secured national media for television documentaries and series, worked with celebrities and television producers and coordinated press conferences and screenings. Jess is a lifetime camper. Beginning at age five, she attended day camp on Long Island for three years. By age eight, she was off to resident camp for eight weeks each summer and loved every minute of it. Jess was a camper at resident camp for nine years and a counselor and girls’ athletic staff member for three years. She is thrilled to be able to combine her publicity skills with her love of camp. Jess lives in Connecticut with her husband and two daughters. When not publicizing camp, Jess enjoys spending time with friends and family, going to the beach, traveling, running in Central Park, and skiing.
Membership and Standards Coordinator
Hannah initially joined the ACA team as our Events Intern in the Fall of 2018, and she is so excited to join the team full-time as the Membership and Standards Coordinator! She has been a long time camp lover; Hannah attended a resident camp in Connecticut for 13 summers as a camper, CIT, counselor, Unit Leader, and Program Director. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Public Health at New York University, concentrating in Emergency Management and Planning, and is excited to combine her passions for public health and summer camp!