What I love more than anything is creating programs that bring people together, that give them a sense of community and belonging, and that they want more of. I’ve enjoyed planning these types of events since I was in middle school – from community service opportunities to fundraisers to Jewish educational programs to themed parties to community-building activities. From conception to execution, I feel a sense of flow in my work, where I can vision, implement and watch things come together.
Given how much I loved my summers on tzevet (staff) at Ramah Darom, I should have put two and two together that a career in experiential Jewish education was right for me. While this seemed obvious to my mentors, I was set on being a lawyer. I worked hard in my legal career and enjoyed many aspects of contract negotiation and solving intellectual puzzles, but ultimately, my heart was not in it, and I wanted to do something that had an impact on the things I cared most about.
I am grateful that when I came to that realization and was dreaming of my days at Ramah Darom, I still had a strong network that allowed me to re-enter the Jewish professional world, where I could combine my love of programming and community building with my greatest passion of ensuring Jewish continuity. There is no better place to do that work than the institution, which in my unbiased opinion, has the most significant impact on Jewish life in North America – Camp Ramah. My goal is that our chanichim (campers) and tzevet leave Camp feeling empowered, connected and inspired. And, of course, that they cannot wait to come back!
I’ve spent my first seven weeks at Ramah Darom diving in – working alongside our team, dreaming for this summer and beyond. I have had the privilege of talking to parents, staff members, community rabbis and educators, prospective campers and leaders in Jewish camping. These insights and perspectives have helped me understand where Ramah Darom is today and where we might be in a few years.
My days are comprised of multitudes of conversations on various topics – I love that in a given day, I can be talking about bunking, Israel education, communications, improving the staff experience and our sports program. Of course, I’ve made a particular focus on preparing our Covid-19 protocols with our team and using our creativity to come up with innovative and fun programs to make this summer delightful in every possible way. In addition, I’ve been doing a lot of work on our Jewish educational programs, thinking about how to make them most relevant and of interest to the chanichim we serve. I’ve also been helping to hire staff and have been participating in numerous virtual recruitment efforts. So, if you know anyone who wants to have the best summer of their life, please tell them to reach out to me directly!
Here is a little video I made, when I first came on board, to introduce myself to the community.
– Anna Stern Serviansky, Camp Director & Head of Education
Camp Q&A with Anna
How old were you during your first summer at Camp Ramah Darom?
“I was 18! I had just graduated high school and there was a “new” camp that had opened that needed staff. I fell in love immediately.”
What is your favorite Camp food?
“Cookout – hands down! Wednesday dinner outside with hamburgers, corn, watermelon. Doesn’t get any better than that for me!”
What is your favorite Camp memory?
“On one very rainy day, the kikar (the open field in front of the Levine Center) had become extremely muddy. I told my bunk we were going mud-sliding, and we did! It was so much fun and perhaps a bit mischievous.”