Working at a summer day camp seemed like an ideal seasonal job to Alla Zaydman when she decided to leave her career in finance to pursue a master’s degree in human resources management. But before she knew it, her seasonal job turned into being the camp director for Oasis Dobbs Ferry and working six months out of the year.
Fast forward to 2019, and Alla is celebrating 12 years at Oasis summer day camp and 10 years as the camp director for Oasis Dobbs Ferry in Westchester! She definitely puts her master’s degree to good use overseeing the hiring of 150 staffers each year. And in 2015, Alla also became the director of family engagement at Oasis camps and has been working fulltime at Oasis ever since.
Alla is committed to giving each child the best summer of their lives in a fun, safe and inclusive environment. That includes her daughters, Olivia (17) and Anabella (15), who have gone through the various programs at Oasis Dobbs Ferry, and were a lifeguard and counselor in training respectively during the 2019 camp season.
As the 2020 summer camp season at Oasis Dobbs Ferry approaches, Alla is looking forward to the second year of the Junior Teen Travel Explorer program, and connecting with new and returning campers and their families. Keep reading to find out more about Alla’s favorite summer camp experiences at Oasis Dobbs Ferry in Westchester.
What do you love about being a camp director?
I love making kids happy, seeing them smile each day, and making sure parents know that their children are getting the very best care while at camp. I also love watching the kids who return each year grow as they move through each stage and program at summer camp.
What are your favorite things that happen on a typical day at camp?
The swim activities are my favorite because I get to see the kids having so much fun while gaining amazing swim techniques. We do a swim assessment on the first day a child starts camp and group kids according to their abilities with an instructor. The kids usually swim each day and swim lessons are specifically developed for each level.
Why do you think kids love attending Oasis day camp?
Kids love Oasis because it’s fun and they know that the staff truly cares about them.
Children love summer camp because they get to make friends, try so many different activities, and have an amazing time at camp each day.
Why would you recommend that students become an Oasis camp counselor?
Being a camp counselor prepares you for many jobs within child related fields and also outside of them. Teens and young adults that work at camp have learned responsibility, teamwork, patience, decision making, conflict resolution, communication, and compassion. These are skills that recruiters are looking for in all fields. Camp counselors learn skills they’ll use for the rest of their lives, that can be translated to any industry.
Tell us about a favorite memory from camp this summer.
My favorite memory from camp this past summer was watching the cohesive teamwork of the staff during camp Olympics that ensured all of the children had a wonderful experience! It was truly amazing to hear them cheer “good job” to everyone regardless if their team won or lost an event. The kids really picked up on that, and realized that participating was all about fun and Oasis as a whole community, not just winning.
What are you most excited about returning to camp for the 2020 season?
I’m excited for our newest Friday special events. We weave a story for the campers all summer long and each week is pivotal in the overall theme of the summer. But we always do a recap with the kids before introducing a new aspect of the story, so every camper is up to speed no matter when they join us at camp. Each Friday different pieces of the story unfold, and the kids listen and participate with great enthusiasm. I can’t wait to plan for 2020 and see it all come to life.
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