Jodie Abrams, Camp Director
This summer Jodie Abrams completed her fourth year as the Director of Shwayder Camp. Jodie grew up in St. Louis where she developed a passion for Jewish youth education through her involvement in youth group and synagogue life. While pursuing a degree in Business Administration at Kent State University Jodie began her tenure at Shwayder camp as a counselor, kitchen manager, unit head and eventually assistant director. As director, Jodie has brought a passion for Jewish education and identity as she works to develop confidences and value-driven campers. Jodie is currently overseeing a 5 million dollar capital campaign and building project. Jodie is personally passionate about blending Reform Jewish values that are engrained in everyday life at camp back into daily life outside of Shwayder and creating a community that is based on respect and pride.
Zahava Davis, Assistant Director
After spending many summers as a camper and staff member at Shwayder Camp, Zahava is ecstatic to be joining the community full-time as the Assistant Director. She graduated from the University of Kansas with a B.S. in Elementary Education, and endorsements in Special Education and English Language Learning. With a passion in experiential learning for children and a love for our Jewish community, Zahava will help give our campers a life-long connection to their Jewish roots.
I can’t say enough good things about Shwayder. It is a life-altering experience for a Jewish child and we are grateful for all that the leadership and staff do to create it. – 2013 Camper Parent
Our Exceptional Staff
The exceptional individuals who make up our staff are exemplary role models for your children. They are caring, mature, experienced and certified in both First Aid and CPR. Our ten-day staff training program serves to enhance their existing skill set and expose them to the most cutting-edge research and theory in the ever changing world of Jewish summer camping. The vast majority of our staff grew up at Shwayder Camp themselves, extending the Shwayder experience L’dor V’dor (from generation to generation). Others join us from our homeland, bringing the soul, culture and energy of Israel to our front door. Each of our staff remembers with great reverence the vibrancy of youth and is dedicated to leading a positive Jewish life. With a nearly two-to-one camper-to-staff ratio, campers have the opportunity to form close relationships with those who guarantee their safety and well-being. Our weekly Shabbat celebrations and daily programs are enhanced by the presence of Temple Emanuel professional staff including Rabbis Black, Immerman, and Foster, Cantor Sacks, Zach Rolf, the Director of Learning and Engagement, and our Director of Youth Engagement, Megan Garrett. These and other members of our community provide a knowledgeable and supportive Jewish foundation for learning and building Jewish values.
Great leadership and staff makes sending my kids away easy because each year they come back stronger and with helpful knowledge. As a mom I am thankful for Shwayder Camp.” – 2015 Camper Parent