Meet the Staff

February 9th, 2015

Zach Landres-Schnur, Director
Total Kee Tov summers: 26

Zach has been part of the Camp Kee Tov family for over 25 years. He began his “career” as a Habonim camper in 1989 and hasn’t left since! Ten years in the field, 58 nights under the stars on overnights and countless song sessions later, Zach enters his sixth year as Director and is eager to make this the best summer yet!

Kee Tov is in Zach’s blood. Over 10 family members (siblings, parents, cousins, uncles and aunts) have all been CKT staff members. Some have called the Schnur family the Kennedys of Kee Tov. (No one’s actually said that.)

Prior to working at Kee Tov full time, Zach was a sportswriter at a major newspaper and has worked at numerous schools. An avid sports fan, he roots passionately for the San Francisco Giants, 49ers and Washington Huskies (his alma mater). He likes the idea of frequent parades down Market Street.

To him, Kee Tov is family. It’s community. It’s ruach-filled song sessions. It’s playing Mississippi in an empty field. It’s foggy mornings in Tilden. It’s being the messiest camper on Messy Day. It’s fuzzy milk. It’s ice cream on Shabbat. It’s campfires and s’mores on overnights. It’s camper vs. counselor Capture the Flag. It’s being able to articulate your preference for Cheez-Its or Goldfish. It’s making masterpieces from pipe cleaners. It’s Cut the Cake on All-Camp Shabbat. It’s about shouting your cheer so loud your voice hurts. It’s friendship bracelets on a long bus ride. It’s Choices, Chugim and Specialties. It’s being as goofy, silly and crazy as possible during Kumzits. It’s the magical connection between the counselors and campers. It’s the place to make friends for life. It’s home.

He eats, breathes and dreams Kee Tov. If you want fun, family and ruach, you’ve come to the right spot. There is no better place on Earth than here! Welcome to Camp Kee Tov!

Contact him anytime at zach@bethelberkeley.org or at 510-848-2372.

Emily Schnitzer, Associate Director
Total Kee Tov summers: 20

Emily is excited to be back in the office for a fourth summer, this time as the Associate Director! She remembers her first summer in 1996 as a young Giborimer and is so excited to work year-round for the place that introduced her to ruach, fuzzy milk and Messy Day!

After finishing her camper years in 2002, she spent nine years in the trenches as a counselor in four programs at Camp Kee Tov!

She was the Program Director of Giborim for two years before settling into her role in the office.

After her first year as the Camp Kee Tov Administrator in 2012, she knew she had found the best job on Earth!

Contact her anytime at campkeetov@bethelberkeley.org or at 510-848-2372.

 

Jamie Costello, Director of OperationsJamie
Total Kee Tov summers: 18

Jamie Costello spent the first 14 years of his life in Berkeley. Well, actually, El Cerrito. But close enough. Only after he started working at Camp Kee Tov in the bygone era known as the “Nineteen Nineties” did his life come fully to fruition.

After 12 years in the field, Jamie joined the administrative staff of Camp Kee Tov in 2010. Jamie has previously worked as a counselor in Chaverim, Rishonim, Mapilim, and Chalutzim; he was the Program Director of Mapilim and Chaverim. Fun fact: he counts nearly every 2015 PD as a former camper!

Now working behind the scenes he wears many hats, but is primarily in charge of organizing, ordering, purchasing and delivering the food and supplies that make our programming come to life. He also plays a major role in training and mentoring the staff.

When he’s not dreaming of googly eyes, Cheerios and ordering blocks of candle wax in bulk, Jamie works as a speech and language specialist in the Albany Unified School District. He holds a B.S. in Education from the University of Virginia and an M.S. in Speech and Language Pathology from the University of Washington. In 2013 he married a — you guessed it! — former Kee Tov camper and staff member!

Danielle Schnur, Chaverim Program Director
Total Kee Tov summers: 20

When Danielle’s parents met while working at Camp Kee Tov nearly 40 years ago, perhaps they could not have known the impact that Jewish community involvement through summer camp would have on future generations of Schnurs.

Now in her 10th year on the CKT staff, Danielle is graduating from Senior Counselor to Program Director with the ruach and enthusiasm she has known and loved since birth!

Though Danielle has worked primarily in Gesher and Chalutzim in recent years, she is excited to lead Chaverim, its staff and campers in what is sure to be a memorable summer! Danielle is excited to connect with all ages of campers, as well as their families, every morning and afternoon, sandwiching the Kee Tov day in style!

Outside of her role as Chaverim PD, Danielle is a graduate student working towards her Masters in Social Work at Sacramento State University where she combines her love of academia, clinical psychology and community organizing, while prolonging her youth so that she may work at CKT forever!

 

Rachel Kator, Rishonim Program Director
Total Kee Tov summers: 17

Ever since she got her first whiff of the crisp Tilden air and SPF 30 Coppertone sunscreen as a wee Rishonimer in 1999, Rachel was hooked on Camp Kee Tov! Whether she was rocking out with E-Schoen, making friendship bracelets on the Mapilim Wall or getting a healthy pink burn on her cheeks, Rachel was sure Kee Tov was the place she would spend summer after summer! By the time Gesher rolled around, she was positive she wanted to become a counselor at the camp she had spent so many unforgettable summers.

Rachel has wandered around the different programs quite a bit, having worked in Giborim, Rishonim and Chalutzim. Although she loves the different energies of all these programs, she can’t wait to spend this summer with campers experiencing their first (of hopefully many!) summers at Camp Kee Tov!

While she’s not spending her time living and breathing Camp Kee Tov, Rachel enjoys practicing her Spanish with anyone who will partake, playing soccer, running half marathons and imitating the internet sensation, “Marcel the Shell.” She spent her first couple years of college at UC Santa Cruz, but plans to transfer in the fall. For now, she’s awaiting the arrival of a summer that’s bound to be filled with never-ending ruach!

Lena Miller, Habonim Program Director
Total Kee Tov summers: 18

After 10 years as a camper, Lena was overjoyed to join the Camp Kee Tov Staff as a CIT in Habonim in 2008! Eager to make a name for herself, she began studying and learning the ancient art of counseling from Habonim legends. Having spent the last two summers working in Chal and Gesh, Lena can’t wait to be a “Builder” once again!

This is Lena’s eighth year on staff, sixth summer working in Habonim, and 18th overall as a member of the Kee Tov Family. Lena was previously a Habonim Rosh and is absolutely, positively determined to make this summer the best Habonim has ever seen! From epic games of Mississippi in the grove at Gillespie, to raucous song sessions with Eric Schoen and many friendship bracelets in between, Lena is ready to raise the level of ruach in Habonim to unprecedented heights!

When Lena is not perfecting her fuzzy milk pouring skills or daydreaming about Messy Day, she is a student at Johns Hopkins University where she will graduate in Spring 2015 with a degree in Global Environmental Change and Sustainability and Psychology. After the summer she hopes to work on sustainability in ecology and the food system.

Maya Zeemont, Giborim Program Director
Total Kee Tov summers: 14

Maya began her Kee Tov career as a Rishonimer way back in 1999! She continued on as a camper for the next six years, basking in the Tilden sun (or fog), earning the self-designated title of “Messiest Camper” each Messy Day and dreaming of someday performing in kumzits!

After a brief hiatus from camp, Maya returned to CKT in 2009 as a counselor in the wonderful Giborim. She spent the next five years working in this outstanding program, finishing up the last two as a Rosh. Last summer, she worked in Chalutzim where she reunited with the now-grown-up group of campers whom she first had in Giborim way back when!

For her seventh consecutive year on staff, Maya is beyond ecstatic to return to her “alma mater” program of Giborim. Her heart and soul lie in the fields of Laurel and Wildcat Canyon, and she cannot believe her dream of becoming Gib PD has come true!

When not at camp, Maya studies Neuroscience at Oberlin College in Ohio. She also plays in a steel drum band (she just, in fact, returned from a month long trip to Trinidad to play steel pan!) and spends a lot of time Skyping with her dog. Post-graduation, Maya hopes to become a high school biology teacher. But for now, CKT is the only job on her mind.

Kumzits, here we come!

Charlie Schnitzer, Mapilim Program Director
Total Kee Tov summers: 16

Charlie began is Kee Tov career as a tiny little Habonimer in 1998 and was instantly hooked! After years of campfires, song sessions, backpacking trips and Family Nights, Charlie proved himself to be a worthy advocate of Kee Tov knowledge and started working on his legacy as a Kee Tov counselor in 2007. After an amazing time working in Mapilim last summer, Charlie is ecstatic to return to the program that brings specialties, color wars and the Map Show to camp once again!

Charlie graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2014 with a Fine Arts degree in Dance. He looks forward to bringing his groovy side to the Map Show and bringing more creativity to Mapilim than ever before!

Charlie can’t wait for another summer at the happiest place on Earth (take that, Disneyland!) filled with ruach, fun and great memories!

Carly Thompson, Chalutzim Program Director
Total Kee Tov summers: 19

Carly started going to Camp Kee Tov at the age of five and instantly fell in love. She believes no summer would be complete without foggy Bay Area summers, sitting in wet grass during kumzits as the sun starts to peek through the fog, the cow suit costume, goofy theme days, BWS (bathroom/water/sunscreen), name games, Capture the Flag, FUZZY MILK, singing with Eric, stripping down to your swimsuit to put on freezing cold sunscreen and then scrambling to get your clothes back on, King Park, structure time, snircle, All Camp Shabbat, Family Night and her favorite people to share all the memories with!

As soon as camp ended last summer Carly jumped into her next job as head coach of the Berkeley high school Junior Varsity field hockey team. She hopes to do it again next year to continue to build the program. Carly has always loved sports and is still a kid at heart so this year she joined an adult dodgeball league and also plays softball with fellow Kee Tovers!

She can’t wait to return for her 19th summer at camp and second straight as the Chal PD!

Lili, Gesher Program Director
Total Kee Tov summers: 17

Lili spent her early years at Beth El Nursery School, munching on sour grass, making challah and yearning to someday be a camper at the magical Camp Kee Tov! In the summer of 1997 her dreams came true and ever since there’s been no question of her return! In her 10 summers as a camper, Lili spent many misty mornings in Tilden, participated in countless camper kumzits, danced her way through the Map Show and watched many a sunset at the breathtaking Sunset Beach.

Entering her seventh summer on staff, Lili has worked in Rishonim, Habonim, Chalutzim and Gesher. She is so incredibly excited to return to camp as the Gesher Program Director! Lili knows that this Lucky Summer 7 is bound to be one for the books!

Lili graduated from UCLA (go Bruins!) this past June and has made a joyful return to the beautiful Bay Area. She currently works as the Teen Program Coordinator at the Jewish Community Center in San Francisco, where she runs an after school program for middle school students. On her off days, Lili explores Golden Gate Park, cooks lots of brussels sprouts, day dreams about Loch Leven Lakes and Family Night Gordo buffets and eagerly awaits CKT 2015!