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Meet Stuart Silverman of Camp Grossman in Newton

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stuart Silverman.

Stuart, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’m in my mid-sixties and have spent all but a handful of my summers at camp. I spent my childhood summers at an overnight camp, where I discovered I could really excel at sports. The self-confidence I gained at camp shaped who I am and inspired me to pursue a career where I could help kids succeed in their own way. I became a high school guidance counselor and worked for 36 years until my retirement in 2010. During summers, I continued to work at camp.

I was twenty-six when I started working at Grossman. I randomly found it listed in the Yellow Pages and decided to apply for a job as a general counselor despite not knowing much about the camp. After one summer of working as a counselor, I was promoted to Unit Head and then later named Assistant Director. I became the Director in 1990 and now also serve as the Director of Camping Services for JCC Greater Boston.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It’s thankfully been a pretty smooth road, but it is has been important to continue to evolve with the times. For example, the advent of social media significantly changed how parents want to receive information. Today’s parents are tech-savvy consumers who are looking for frequent communication from camp. They want to be sure our camp is the right fit for their child and anxiously await updates about their kids’ activities during the day. We’ve used technology to our advantage by sending weekly emails (both camp-wide and unit-specific) and by hiring extra staff members to manage social media and photography.

Another way we’ve grown over the years is that we’ve become more attuned to working with campers’ individual needs. Integrating children with special needs has always been an important part of our culture at Grossman, but we’ve also seen a rise in campers with other challenges (allergies, medical issues, financial needs, etc.) over recent years. It’s not always easy, but we have a great team that believes campers always come first. We’re willing to be as flexible as we can in adapting our program and we try to go the extra mile in improving the camp experience for every child.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Camp Grossman – what should we know?
Camp Grossman is the largest Jewish day camp in the Greater Boston area. More than that, it’s a special place where every child is given an opportunity to thrive. We believe that kids who develop resiliency and confidence at camp have a greater chance of being more successful in their lives. We’re always coming up with new activities to develop that confidence and resiliency. For example, our intramural games used to be focused on sports competitions. Over the years, we’ve added activities like spelling bees and lip syncs to make sure every kid – regardless of athletic ability – can shine.

The other thing which makes Grossman unique is our community. Our community includes passionate, kind staff members who are devoted to making kids happy. As I drive around in my golf cart, I feel immense pride that our staff includes people who’ve been with us for decades and those who were campers themselves not so long ago. Everyone is excited to work at camp, and our campers – many of whom are second or third generation Grossman campers – feel that joy every day.

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