At NKDC, we pride ourselves on our exceptional, dedicated staff. All camp groups have a minimum of one senior counselor and one junior counselor. Senior counselors are college students and junior counselors are high school students entering their junior or senior year. All counselors are interviewed by the camp leadership team and required to provide three references and attend rigorous staff training. Any staff members over 18 also have to pass a background check.
All 3 & 4 year old campers have head counselors who are certified educators with classroom experience, in addition to the senior and junior counselors.
Counselors are supervised by Unit Heads and/or Program Directors who are experienced camp professionals, certified educators, or are year-round JCC professionals.
Aaron Atlas, Youth and Camping Engagement Director
Aaron holds a Bachelor of Arts from Purdue University and a Master of Social Work from Indiana University. He also completed coursework for the Child Development Associate Credential. Before joining the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades, Aaron worked at the Indianapolis JCC for over two decades, where he oversaw a large after-school care program, family programming, children’s overnight and enrichment classes, toddler playgroups, parent and staff training programs, and agency-wide events. In addition, he supervised traditional day camp and specialty camps for preschool - 8th grade and served three years as Associate Director of Early Childhood Education.
Melissa Peters, Operations Director, Camp, Early Childhood, and Youth
Melissa has been a member of the Neil Klatskin Day Camp team since 1998. She began her service as the Transportation Coordinator and is now the Assistant Director. Melissa has been a part of the JCC family in many other capacities as well. She served as the Assistant Children’s Services Director, Children’s Services Director, Assistant Games Director for the 2003 JCC Maccabi Games and the 2004 Delegation Head for the Kaplen Team Palisades.
Leron Bensoussan, Camp Program Manager
Leron, born and raised in Tenafly, holds a Bachelors in Psychology from NYU and studied at Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan. She is a special education teacher at Ben Porat Yosef in Paramus
Liz Church, Community Care Coordinator
Liz has been a part of the NKDC leadership team since 2012. She holds a BA in Psychology and Education, is dual-certified in Education and Special Education, and is a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst. Liz taught children on the autism spectrum for 7 years and soon after became a behavior specialist/consultant for Bergen County public schools, as well as for families with children who have developmental, behavioral and emotional disabilities.
Dania Lauer, Inclusion Coordinator
Dania is a licensed social worker who has been a part of the JCC team since September 2016 as the Life Skills Development Coordinator. She was trained at the JCC in Manhattan in the special services department working with both children and adults on the autistic spectrum.